This year, I am experimenting and have introduced ‘Online Discussion Forums’ in my classroom to help my kids reflect and personalise whatever they’ve been taught at the school (Previous Article: The Online Discussion Boards – A Classroom Pedagogical Tool | How to Use Guide | Pros & Cons). Similarly, there are number of ways through which teacher can involve students in personalisation mode and using social media as a pedagogy for student learning and engagement is one of them. One may ask ‘Why social media?’, Well, It’s not a secret that today’s students are hooked-up with social media due to its popularity and the sense of communal belongingness. Therefore, many teachers are incorporating social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook into their curriculum. From ‘bulletin boards’ to ‘fake Facebook profiles’ for historical figures, teachers are turning what students post on social media into classroom assignments.
However, transparency is also of the highest importance – parents should be part of these assignments to follow along with and see what students and teachers are posting. For example, using OD forums, parents should become part of any topic or thread. Assign them a role of ‘Viewer’ means they cannot participate but can able to view the activities of the forum. In this way, parents will have a track over their children academic performance and participation.
Teachers should also be aware that not all students have access to smartphone technology or social media, so differentiated instructions must be available for these students so they, too, can join in the fun.
Now let’s review some of the ways, other than ODs, through which teachers can able to involve students in personalisation reflection a more engaging manner.
Bulletin Boards, There are teachers around the globe who are using social media platforms as a ‘springboard’ to inspire their bulletin boards, too. Some teachers design their bulletin boards to look like a Facebook profile, for example. This works particularly well for back-to-school bulletin board because it introduces students to their teacher’s personality. Another way to let social media inspire bulletin boards is to makeover your bulletin board like an Instagram profile. Select one student per week or month to post their pictures on the IG bulletin board as a way for students to get to know each other better.
Social Media Profiles for History Lessons Using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as your starting place, assign your students to select a historical figure or literary character. After researching their designated person, students then create a fake account (a Fakebook, if you will) for this character. The teacher sets the parameters, and then the sky’s the limit. On Twitter, students will have to write so many tweets as their alter ego; on Instagram, students will curate photos and write captions and hashtags as their persona.
Using Creative #Hashtags #Hashtags allow users to organise and categorise content so that it is searchable over google in later time. Hashtags are integrated virtually across all social media posts and stories except Snapchat which does not allow users to organise content using hashtags. A teacher might come up with a classroom #hashtag which might’ve changed each year. All posts from a specific school year can be tagged with the same hashtag. Students can submit content to their teachers using the hashtag so that teachers can easily find and grade the required material.
Tweet Summaries one of the ultimate tests of summarising is to write anything under 280 characters which are a minimum word limit allowed by Twitter. Students can summarise almost anything, from the day’s lesson to last night’s reading homework to the plot of a book or movie. They then tweet it out with a corresponding #hashtag or write it on a piece of paper.
Classroom Instagram Post Teachers can use the story feature on Instagram to let students record their short videos. The video can be a summary of the previous session or individual assignment tasks set by the teacher. This strategy can be used in literature or a history classroom, but it can also apply to read across the curriculum.
The strategies mentioned above are my top 5 ways through which I involve students to engage with the lesson even outside the classroom in their daily lives. I hope this will allow and help many teachers in the same way. I will come up with five more ideas in the next article (Session 2). Share your success stories in the comment box
Good luck 😊