- Monica Burns, a curriculum consultant, former classroom teacher and the author of "Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom," writes for District Administration on the many benefits schools can gain from using social media, from updating stakeholders on events or soliciting volunteers to sharing field trip photos and summer reading lists.
- To take full advantage of social media, Burns advises that schools prioritize which platforms they want to focus their efforts on in relation to their goals, and to also seek examples of other schools using social media well as a baseline.
- Additionally, she recommends delegating the task of posting to these platforms not just to teachers, but students as well, and to also include students in the feedback process as best practices are identified and honed.
At a base level, social media offers schools an invaluable way to improve parent-teacher communication by reaching students' families on platforms where many of them likely already spend a fair amount of time. Live-tweeting a class project or experiment, for example, can provide insight to what students learned that day and the dynamics of the classroom. But as valuable as that opportunity is, there are many more possibilities that can spring from effective social media use.
Teachers can use platforms like Twitter to take part in online professional learning communities, gathering best practices and sharing their own experiences with peers across the nation and around the world. These platforms also open windows into school activities that can be used to demonstrate to local businesses and organizations areas in which they might be able to contribute time or other investments into expanding students' access to new learning experiences.
Additionally, embedding social media into some areas of the curriculum can provide needed digital citizenship lessons for students around the consequences of irresponsible social media use. Learning now that nothing disappears from the internet easily, if at all, and that the illusion of anonymity it provides is often just that — an illusion — can only benefit students, and digital discourse overall, in the long run.