Addressing Social Media in the Classroom

As a high school educator at an IT-centric school, I keep my eye on the most current trends for integrating technology into the classroom. I try out the newest tools to find the ones that will support my classroom most successfully and keep the kids thinking that I turned 21 on my last birthday (true story). Some experiments fall flat or have to be revamped in order to work well, but what remains is the students’ engagement in technology practices at school.

How then do we as teachers support this growing interest in tech when we see, or at times have become, those mindless zombies walking from one place to another, eyes fixated on a screen that seems to filter out the real world? Add to that the issues of bullying that have skyrocketed since phones have made it into younger hands. Social media has allowed us to fool ourselves into thinking that there is a barrier between us and them. Students rarely experience repercussions for any actions online, and in those rare cases when problems are addressed, in many cases the damage is already done.

What help is there? Below are the 5 Cs I created to empower my students to utilize technology effectively, efficiently, and appropriately.

The 5 Cs of Student Online Success

  1. Community
    • Teachers: Create a classroom Digital Citizenship Policy, especially in collaboration with the students.
    • Collaborate to build agreements based upon your experiences, challenges, and wishes for the technology component of classwork.
    • Maintain full responsibility for your conduct while using school technology and accessing digital resources from personal devices.
  2. Competency
    • Learn how to utilize technology most effectively.
    • Find out which websites are most reliable and share such information with classmates.
    • Challenge yourself to learn how to type on a keyboard, not just on your smartphone.
    • Maintain personal safeguards from psychological issues related to social media addiction by limiting and/or monitoring usage.
  3. Concealment
    • Nothing that goes onto the Internet can truly be taken back or deleted, so post wisely.
    • Always ask others before posting pictures or information about them.
    • Think in terms of whether or not you would like your future child or boss to see what you post before putting it out for the world to see.
  4. Consciousness
    • Listen to, and trust, your initial feelings when asking yourself: Is this ok to post? Could this be offensive?
    • Teachers: Make time to talk about issues that arise while using technology.
    • Teachers: A growing number of students use social networking sites at younger ages, so acknowledging the usage of said technology in class will aid in an open dialogue regarding its place in their social lives.
  5. Creativity
    • Seek out and develop new ways to use technology in your life to your advantage.
    • Staying on the cutting edge allows you to be a cut above the rest in your educational and professional career.
    • Express yourself in a positive way every day. Keep learning and creating!