Go back two or three years ago, and the thought of using any kind of social media in lessons was still very taboo in most schools. Now, however, a growing number of high schools are seeing the benefits that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can bring to the classroom. Whilst all of this is very exciting, and very ‘modern’, we still have to tread very carefully. Some golden rules that we must follow as teachers when using social media with our students are as follows:
- Always make sure that your students are of the permitted age to use the platform
- Always show the students how to delete their account if needs be, and how to turn off notifications (some students and parents get very annoyed when they’re constantly receiving e-mail updates from whichever social media platform it is that they’ve signed up to)
- Remind your students of the SMART acronym:
Stay Safe: Don’t give out your personal information to people or places you don’t know
Don’t Meet Up: It can be dangerous to meet up with someone you’ve only been in touch with online. Always check with an adult first
Accepting Files: Accepting images, e-mails, files or messages from people you don’t know can cause problems
Reliable: Is the website or person telling the truth? Always check information before you believe it.
Tell Someone: Always inform an adult if someone or something online makes you feel uncomfortable or worried
If you follow these guidelines, then social media can offer a wealth of excitement, enrichment and interest to your lessons. It can encourage students to produce rich content which can be examined instantly in a whole-class context. The attached infographic shows a summary of some ways that social media can be used in education.