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How Schools Can Use Social Media

11 February

How Schools Can Use Social Media

social media -twitter

Ok this blog is about more than just SEO and I can get a little sidetracked sometimes so I thought it was time to invite a guest blogger to write a post on social media. As most recent posts have been on SEO I was delighted when fellow blogger and camera enthusiast Rick Valance sent this post on Social Media and schools.

You can read more about Rick below but for now here is his take on How schools can use social media.

The fact is, like it or not, social media is not going away. When the Internet was first introduced in the 90’s educators were worried. They had good reason too; the main concern was its potential of being an open door to predators of all types. It would be foolish to state that this does not continue to be a real threat; but it would be equally as foolish to let that threat destroy this new technology’s very powerful potential use as a wonderful teaching tool.

In order to get a clear picture of the great advantages using social media has to offer for learning we must follow the logical progression of the shrinking world economy. Read on to find out just what this is all about.

Blogs
By introducing blogging into elementary classrooms you are encouraging students to write, to be creative, get excited about writing and introducing them to operation of the Internets best money making devices. A lot of people today derive a competitive income from just blogging. It is the new way the world is doing business. The advantages of learning to use a blog and its various tools are pretty clear; students will be better equipped to change with the both the virtual world and the real world. In addition to learning how to type, they learn how to write and spell better because most programs have a feature that highlights the misspelled words and poor grammar choices. Plus it can be a wonderful way for teachers, students and parents to track the progress of the students writing for the semester.

Free Safe Social Media Tools
There is a great tool that allows you to have all the benefits without opening the school doors to predators. There are a few programs and sites designed with kids in mind that are safe for children to use and can easily be found online. Because of the Child Internet protection Act, federally funded K-12 schools cannot access social media sites like Twitter or Facebook due to the lack of control schools can have over any and all content. To keep students safe programs/sites have to have features that allow the teachers to monitor and approve content posted by students, comments that appear publicly on posts and of course what ads show up.

Why Procrastinate When They Can Learn
Let’s face it, kids are going to be online anyway so why not use it to our advantage. Children between the ages of 4 and 11 are online more time than you can imagine. In this way they can blog with each other on things they are interested in and give voice to students that may be a bit more timid. Making interesting assignments that requires students to spend time online, all the while keeping them safe, has become quite easy.

Teaches Teamwork And Collaboration
The process of learning in most American schools depends mostly on lectures and note taking. It is a proven fact that if students engage frequently in the learning experience they will retain and want more. Not only does using the available technology give them an edge on their futures but it also teaches collaboration and teamwork. Blogging is and always has been a way to share information; you will find students will just naturally begin working together.

The Hopeful Future
Unfortunately there isn’t yet a “school safe” version of Facebook, Twitter or even forums but the advantages of having such a thing are pretty obvious. They are tools that create community in which ideas can be shared, discussed, tracked, added to and proliferated. Having something like that would be a serious plus for anyone interested in the personal education a student and/or the educational system itself. By including schools from around the country and the world it would be possible for students to teach and be taught what their peers in other places are doing.
Granted, there are risks for children but there always risks. There are even risks in crossing the street; yet we allow them to do this activity all the time every day. It is the job of parents and educators to do for them online what you have done for them in every other aspect of their lives. Being online is a necessity nowadays and they are going have to be online anyhow. If kids are taught how to use it correctly and safely they won’t get themselves into real trouble on their own.

Rick Valence loves to read and write short stories, books and especially blogs. He has a vast array of writing interests that include fiction, non-fiction and how-to guides. Rick works Monday through Friday as a digital camera repair specialist at C.R.I.S. Camera Services in Chandler, Arizona. He is also the webmaster of his company’s camera repair blog.

I really like this well written appraisal of todays’ schools and the opportunities they have for using social media. Certainly the advantages social media offers makes it hard to ignore, I only wish I could have opted out of my Latin class for a Social media class.

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