Social Media and the Classroom

With the start of the school year right around the corner (at least for those who still have to go to school), I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about how social media can be used by teachers in the classroom to enhance learning. A recent study by Ofcom showed that 47% of teenagers in the UK  now own a smartphone, compared to just 27% of adults (I imagine that the percentage is almost the same, maybe higher, here in the US). Before I go into detail, let me announce some breaking news from Siloam Springs, where I currently reside.

Siloam Springs High School students can now use their phones at school! Siloam recently finished construction of a brand new high school. Along with the new building, the school district is making some modifications to their technology policy. For the first time in Siloam history, students are allowed to use their cell phones in-between classes (as long as they don’t make calls). That means tweets, texts, status updates, etc. Additionally several of the floors in the building have an extra outlet plugs in them to prepare for the day when most students have all their books on electronic devices.

Now that Siloam Springs High (and I presume other schools) are allowing students to use their cell phones (and laptops for some, especially colleges) at school without any reprecussions, how can schools integrate social media into the classroom environment to enhance the learning experience? Here are just a few suggestions:

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