Can Social Media Have a Role to Play in Managing a Successful Classroom?

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, cross posted to Langwitches Blog
This post is part of C.M Rubin’s monthly series in the Huffington post: The Global Search for Education: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs. This month we are answering the following prompt:
Can Social Media Have a Role to Play in Managing a Successful Classroom?
As in previous posts in the series, I am examining the prompt from a semantic point of view and ask myself immediately: What do we consider ” managing a successful classroom” (and even what does it successful mean)? I also stumbled immediately over the word “CAN” and cringed when I wondered if it could say “Should” or “Must”? Semantics aside and out with an easy and short response: YES, social media can play a role in a successful classroom.
social-mediaMaybe a better question would be: Why is Social Media not playing a larger role in managing successful classrooms?
  • Social Media is one venue (of many) to LEARN… why should it not play a role in our schools?
  • Our students are gravitating (on their own) to Social Media for learning on their own terms outside of schools… why should we not take advantage of that for their learning in schools?
  • Learning for the 22nd century increasingly means being social and connected… why should we not take advantage of the platform to support that kind of social and connected learning ?
  • Social Media adds so many layers of depth to traditional learning strategies to include modern/now literacies… why would we not want to expose, facilitate and support our students in becoming literate in the area of global, network, media, information literacies and digital citizenship?
  • Communication has changed in the world around us. It is more visual, it is more concise, it is shareable, it is exponential in terms of the reach of our communication…how is this reflected in our current curriculum and pedagogies? (to quote Heidi Hayes Jacobs: “What year are we preparing our students for?”)
  • Information has changed our lives. The way we have access to it, the way we filter it, the way we consume it, the way we need to evaluate it, the way we produce it, the way we disseminate it. Social Media plays an integral part in the way information flows in our daily lives… why would we not give the learners in our classroom the opportunity to play, experiment, touch, mold, nurture, take apart, put together, create, disseminate, connect and learn to live and thrive in a world of exponential growth of information? Why are we not preparing our students with the critical skill of searching, not just information, but people trough our human networks.
  • The lines between our lives and “digital lives” are blurring at an accelerating speed, just as the difference between citizenship and “digital citizenship” is becoming hazier… why would we not embed authentic learning opportunities in our classroom to foster positive citizenship (analog and digital)?
  • The world is shrinking. Connecting, communicating and collaborating with people from around the world, due to technology, is sometimes easier than the same task involving people from the same geographic location… how can we not give our students the opportunities to broaden their geographic and cultural horizons by interacting beyond their culture, language and perspective

Take a look at some of my documentation over the past years from the trenches of Social Media in the Classroom: