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7 social media strategies teachers need to use and intentionally teach

curtis teaching

I had the chance to work with the awesome Dr. Curtis Chandler yesterday during the ESSDACK Chromebook conference at MidAmerica Nazarene University, sharing a few ideas for teaching and learning in a Googley world. And, no, neither of us are completely sure that Googley is an actual word. But if Google is using the word, so can we. We defined Googley very simply – the world that we teach in, and that your kids live in, revolve around constant access to information and to other people. So what should education look like in that sort of environment? We focused on three basic ideas:

  • Grapple with big ideas
  • Focus on the process
  • Be intentional about using social media

Curtis took the social media section and rocked it. I loved that he started the conversation by quoting Mark Twain:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Social media provides a powerful way of connecting your students with other kids, other experts, competing ideas, different viewpoints, and a general sense that the world is a bigger place than their small, little classroom.

This morning, during a quick cruise of my Flipboard (You have set up your Flipboard account right?), I ran across a sweet article titled 7 Social Media Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Learn Today and Teach Tomorrow. In the article, Mark Barnes of Brilliant or Insane: Education on the Edge shares his thinking about how educators should be using social media tools.

The one thing that really caught my attention was his insistence that we need to intentionally teach our kids these skills – restating what Curtis said almost word for word. I don’t think teachers spend enough time learning these skills and I know they don’t spend enough time passing those skills onto their students. What skills are we talking about?

  • Think before you share
  • Never respond in anger
  • Understand the long term impact of your social shares
  • Ask yourself “Why am I liking or retweeting this?”
  • Avoid confrontation
  • Try for the warm and fuzzy award
  • Change the world

Catch the full article to get Mark’s details on each of these. It’s a good read. As social studies teachers, the last one is perhaps more aligned to what we do and is a perfect complement to what Twain had to say.

But what can this look like in actual classroom practice?

Tomorrow I’m going to find out. Middle school social studies teacher, conference presenter, National Council for the Social Studies tech committee member, and Kansas Master Teacher Kori Green is hosting an international “conference” focused on solving the current crisis in Ukraine. The conference attendees include:

  • Ambassador Liu Jieyi Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations
  • Ambassador Dina Kawar Permanent Mission of Jordan to the United Nations
  • Ambassador Vitaly Churkin Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
  • Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations
  • Ambassador Rafael Ramirez Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the United Nations

and about 200 middle school kids. Using Schoology, Green and teachers in New York and London are asking their students to develop solutions to the crisis ranging from military action to humanitarian relief. Students are currently doing their research and on Friday will come together across eight different time zones to brainstorm ideas in real time.

Of course, the actual ambassadors won’t be present – Kori has recruited social studies teachers and educators to step into those shoes – but students will be discussing, arguing, presenting, sharing and interacting with the UN “delegates” via live chat. I get the chance to role play the Russian ambassador during the discussion and can’t wait. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.) Our role is to push students a bit by asking questions, clarifying positions, and generally russian ambstirring the pot.

It’s a perfect example of how we can intentionally use social media tools to teach not just content and discipline specific skills but also the sorts of social media skills that Curtis and Mark describe. I’ll let you know how it turns out next week.

So don’t be afraid of social media tools. Adapt them. Stretch them to fit your needs. Teach kids how to apply them responsibly. Cause your students are already using them in their own Googley world and it’s our job to model appropriate, effective use.

Need some more educational social media resources? Head over to Social Studies Central for some handy goodies.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Technocrats.

    May 8, 2015
  2. Reblogged this on SilberLab.

    May 13, 2015

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