Let’s face it: nearly every teenager uses social media in one way or another. Social media has changed the way teenagers communicate and the way they consume information. There is understandably some concern about this, as teachers and parents worry that their children will experience cyber-bullying or become addicted to their mobile devices. While these concerns are reasonable, social media is like any other technological tool, and it can be used for good or bad. We show how teachers can integrate social media into the classroom to engage students in the learning process and train them to use digital technology in productive ways.
6 Fun Social Media Projects:
1. Summaries in Tweet Form
Some teachers may scoff at the idea, but having students summarize important readings in 140 characters gets them to think critically about the reading’s main idea. Too often in long-form essays, students stray from their thesis and lose track of the central point. The Twitter summary trains them to focus on the main idea, a skill that will come in handy throughout their education.
2. Fake Facebook Pages of Favorite Characters
Many teachers find success with this Facebook project. Rather than have students write a traditional book report, students can create Facebook pages of their favorite characters. If teachers enable students to collaborate on this project, an entire community of characters will be created. Imagine how fun it will be to see students interacting with each other as Scout and Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird, for example. This fun assignment engages students with the readings and explores their creative sides.
3. The Brick-by-Brick Discussion on Yammer
The brick-by-brick discussion is bound to excite students. Here’s how it works: After each class, students are required to post an idea, insight or question they have about the course content to Yammer. Then, another student responds with a meaningful comment. Every student in the class must post a comment at least once, and bonus points can be given to students who post meaningful comments more than once. This encourages classroom community and enables students to reflect on what they’re learning each day.
4. The Hashtag Activism Challenge
To encourage students to learn about social justice, teachers can ask them to use social media to promote a particular cause. This project-based learning activity engages students in real world activism, while at the same time, strengthens their digital communication skills. Students with the most success on social media (followers, like, retweets) can receive some sort of prize at the end of the school year.
5. Short Film Festival on YouTube
Teachers can let students express their creativity by making brief short films and uploading them onto YouTube. To make it more fun, teachers can host a student film festival at the end of the year, invite parents and other faculty and screen all of the student films for everyone to see. This project teaches students how to use digital technology in creative ways, and how to share their creative projects on the internet.
6. Social Media Research
Imagine if students had to write a research paper using only social media sources. This would not only make students more excited about the assignment, it would teach them how to navigate the tricky social media terrain. Students would learn how to find information on social media, and how to distinguish between expert opinions and the everyday musings of the average person. Students would be able to tell the difference between propaganda and legitimate news. Today’s students get most of their news from social media, so they might as well learn how to become digitally literate and determine credibility.
With UI design solutions like LiveTiles Mosaic, teachers can customize a digital classroom and integrate all of these social media tiles into one user-friendly page. As the screen shot below shows, teachers can add Yammer, Facebook and Twitter tiles so that students have the social media tools right at their fingertips. The cloud-based digital classroom is mobile-friendly and accessible on the go, which means that students can interact with classmates and the teacher from anywhere, so long as they have an internet connection.
Students are going to use social media regardless, so teachers might as well take advantage of this and turn social media into an engaging educational tool. Appropriate social media use improves students’ communication skills as they learn how to interact in digital spaces. These fun social media assignments are bound to make students excited about learning again.