In today's day and age, social networking sites have pervaded many areas of our lives. Most times, social networking sites have no place in the classroom, and I'm sure many educators have been ignored because of Facebook or Twitter and their instant availabilities on smartphones. For those of you who educate younger children, I'm sure you are aware of the very real risks to your students who have free access. However, there are social networking sites, such as Edmodo, that provide safe social networking for younger children, and safe use of popular sites such as Twitter and Facebook should not be underestimated either.
Edmodo is a social networking site that allows teachers, students, and parents to communicate about homework and grades, and engage in discussion. Since the teacher sends out specific confirmation codes to the parents and students, it is a secure way to share information.
As a young man not so far out of school myself, Animoto was around my last year of school. Animoto is a great site to create animated videos that educators that can use to make videos as a teaching aid in their classroom or have students use the software to create informative video projects. Students can easily make free accounts and share videos with their followers.
Though it may seem surprising, Facebook does have some educational value in the classroom. Political science classes studying an election can take advantage of the campaigning that occurs on Facebook. Facebook has many great applications and games that are educational, ranging from flash cards to crossword puzzles and many more. Facebook offers polls that can be utilized and can have a small or large demographic being polled, depending on what you need.
Tumblr also offers some amazing tools that can help you in the classroom. Your students can easily make accounts to follow your blog and you can create or share other people's blog posts that are educationally relevant. Students can also follow anyone on the site that is an important person in the subject. Students can also make blog posts for others to see.
Google plus is another useful social networking website for the classroom. You can easily make circles for your students and their parents. Students can be broken down into smaller circles for easy group projects. Since it is connected to Google documents, Google calendar, and all the other helpful Google resources, sharing homework, lecture slides, and class calendars is very easy.
In the Spanish composition class I took a few years ago in college, the professor had us post all of our homework to this website. This cut down on the cost of printing and she was able to grade them efficiently. Classmates could easily look at each other's past blogs when experiencing writers block for inspiration.
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, social networking sites can be used effectively. These are just a few of the many social networking sites that can be utilized in the classroom for an enhanced experience for you as an educator and for the students.
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become.com; a career and recruitment specialist. Richard spent 4 years in the Royal Navy and 17 years as a Fire Officer and now provides recruitment training for those looking to join the army, navy and RAF. Find How2become on Twitter
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