Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to a group of Career Pathway Education instructors at their district meeting. They had invited me do to talk to them about using social media in the classroom. As usual, the presentation went of the page somewhere around the first or second Powerpoint slide, which we did not even pull up!!
The one thing that really caught my attention, was that these instructors really wanted to learn about social media, and create accounts, and get it into the classroom. But they all are being held back due to concerns from their school districts. I can understand this. In the litigious society we live in today, no one is safe from anything. But all the information I see is that kids are using social media and text messaging all the time. One survey showed nearly 80% of all high school students have smart phones. So on my four plus hour drive back to Mississippi State University, I turned over some thoughts in my head that might help instructors to get buy-in from their center directors, principals and school boards.
WARNING: What you are about to review is strictly Craig Jackson’s process of attempting to get buy in from your administrators. ALWAYS make sure you know your school policy on social media usage, and talk to you administrators throughout the process.
First, create a Twitter account. It should be a PROFESSIONAL ONLY account, meaning all you tweet about will be things about education and your are of expertise. Your username should reflect who you are, meaning CPETeacher or STEMEducator or CJacksonTeach … something like that. Your account information should spell out who you are, what you will tweet about, and your school contact info. This ensures that everything is above board and transparent. Next, search out and follow professionals in your field. DO NOT FOLLOW any students, or parents of students. Just follow people in your field. Start tweeting and retweeting things from your area of study. Build up your credibility. And you can always use Twitter as a realtime search engine via hashtags. But that is a topic for another post. Here is the link to my Twitter feed.
Now, introduce your director to Tweetdeck. This is a free app from Twitter, that will allow your administrator to follow all your tweets without having to go through the hassles of trying to keep an eye on a timeline all day long. Tweetdeck will allow the administrator to create columns for each faculty member who has a tweet account. The administrator can simply follow each person’s tweets in a column instead of going through a massive timeline. If the administrator sees something they want to ask about, it is easy to find and discuss. This again gives you the transparency you want and need. Do this for a few months, with just your administrator keeping up with you.
Once you have started tweeting and following folks, you will want to turn to Paper.Li to create an “online newspaper” of sorts. Paper.li takes Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, or YouTube videos that you find to be most beneficial, and automatically aggregates it into a digital newspaper that is self-generated at a time you specify. You can filter your sources by keywords that you want to include, and that you DO NOT want to include in your paper. This can be a great resource for teachers to give to their students, AND a great way for students to create content to show the instructors that the student understand concepts taught in class. Here is an example of one of my papers.
Once you have created your Twitter account, your administrator has viewed your tweets and timeline, and has viewed your digital paper, you should be able to hopefully get approval to go live with your social media campaign, and publicize it to you students, their parents, local media, and other educators across the state.
So that is my thinking on how you might want to approach your administrator about getting started using social media in your classroom. It truly is a beneficial and timely way to get information out to students, parent, and the community at large. Just remember: FOLLOW YOUR SCHOOL POLICIES DEALING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA.
If you have any thoughts on this subject, or would like to talk about it, please add your comments, or feel free to contact me.
- How teachers use social media in the classroom to beef up instruction (mnn.com)
- 3 Social Media Tips (craigstechblog.wordpress.com)
- TweetDeck: Now in classic and Twitter flavors (pcworld.com)