Many teachers and parents are a bit concerned over the idea of incorporating too many online activities, especially more public ones, into the classroom, particularly when you’re talking about younger children. After all, there are so many stories that have hit the news about predators, cyber-bullying, and other disturbing trends.
It’s perfectly understandable that adults would be leery of social media with all this negative press regarding the internet; however, more and more educators are learning that there are some real positives that can come from the inclusion of social media in the classroom and that there are some very safe means of utilizing these free educational tools to promote better attendance, stronger academic performance and more collaborative learning with elementary and high school kids alike.
Engaged Kids Perform Better
Catching and maintaining the attention of today’s tech savvy and trend aware kids without including technological advancements in the classroom can be challenging. Finding ways to incorporate these tools in the classroom can have far reaching implications on student attendance, engagement and performance.
Many of the teachers who have found ways to include social media in the learning environment have seen kids show up more often, become more involved in group activities, and even participate in extra learning programs for which they receive no extra credit. These are all extremely positive advancements and ones that can be attributed to the proper use of social media in classrooms.
Social Media is here to Stay, so Why Not Take Advantage of it?
Just as many employers tried for some time to keep social media out of the workplace only to eventually change their minds and find ways of incorporating these internet activities into their work environments, many educators have come to the conclusion that social media is not going away and that they may as well put it to good use in their classrooms.
While school administrators may still be a little hesitant to allow internet into the school, more and more, schools are realizing that there really is no way to keep the internet out of school and that they may as well implement its use in a controlled and structured manner. After all, kids often have mobile access on their cell phones and other hand-held devices or laptops. By incorporating social media and other internet based learning activities in the classroom activities everyday at school, they keep kids engaged in learning pursuits and off of non-learning websites.
Social Media Tool Options
So much of the concern regarding social media and kids comes from safety issues that have arisen from unsupervised use of social media and other internet based platforms. There are plenty of options for safe social media activities for teachers to take advantage of now, many of which have actually been created by educators. One fine example of such a social media site is kidblog.org, a site developed by a teacher and intended for other teachers to use.
Using the Internet for Productive Learning
Many kids spend time online every day. Why not make the time they spend online education related instead of just goofing around time. While kids will surely still spend some time playing games, chatting with friends and looking for music to download, by making social media learning activities a daily part of their routine, educators can elevate the value of the time kids do spend online daily.