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Things You MUST Think About: Social Media—in the Classroom

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This is the sixth in a promised gloss on each of the 11 THINGS INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS MUST BE THINKING ABOUT featured in an earlier post. (I recap the entire list below the body of this post.)

#6. Social media—in the classroom

If you are still blocking such things or are otherwise convinced that short form blogs (like Twitter and Tumblr), long-form blogs, and even such universal communication platforms as Facebook and Flickr are either dangerous, inherently evil, pointless, or just too advanced for your classrooms or your faculty—think again.

None of this is new, and schools are finding zillions of free or low-cost, often cloud-based (and thus not hardware-specific) applications that extend well beyond the old definitions of “social media” and enable kids to do powerful research as well as explore, analyze, create, design, collaborate, communicate, problem-solve, react, reflect, and every other kind of cognitive and social behavior that we should be standing behind as educators. And take a look around—a whole lot of colleges are talking about these same skills and beginning to harness these same media. College—it’s not just about lectures and old-school seminars any more.

Another powerful use of social media as an educational tool involves teachers’ “personal learning communities” or networks (PLCs or PLNs). Social media allow teachers to find one another and connect to share questions, ideas, quandaries, and resources—for many tech-savvy educators, Twitter alone provides a whole universe of valuable professional connection.

This is really, of course, about technology as an amazing tool for learning, and explorations of current and emerging technologies will continue to lead to surprising, and surprisingly fertile, fields of thought related to the nature of learning and teaching—and to the organization of these—at your school. Go forth; be courageous, digital, and free!

So, who is thinking about social media in the classroom at your school?

The 11 Things:

  1. Design Thinking. What-ing? DONE HERE
  2. Data-informed decision-making DONE HERE
  3. Collaborative learning and (related issue) project design DONE HERE
  4. Smart assessment of student learning DONE HERE
  5. Social media—for advancement DONE HERE
  6. Social media—in the classroom DONE
  7. New directions for your library
  8. Online learning
  9. Strategic professional development learning
  10. Shorter horizons for strategic thinking
  11. Being Green
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