5 ways to use Social media in the Secondary Classroom

Social media can have a very positive impact on teaching and learning in the secondary classroom. Here are 5 examples of safe and engaging learning activities that make use of Social Media.

Newsroom activities using Twitter

Newsroom activities can have a place in many subject areas. They enable learners to write about issues in real time and can be aimed at a variety of audiences. A lot of the time these activities are based on a resource bank or sources that have been collated prior to the lesson. Whilst this background information is clearly necessary, it does limit the scope of the activity. Learners can be challenged to extend themselves through use of twitter to provide news updates during the course of the lesson. Pupils then need to respond to these ‘breaking news’ updates and edit and adapt their news broadcast based on your updates.

Possible uses:

Citizenship: Elections. Updates could be based on previous election campaigns or entirely made up.

English: A slight adaptation of the above could be to provide updates based on the key twists and turns in a novel.

Geography: Updates could be based on a natural disaster.

History: Any major event or personality could be the focus.

Science: You could update based on different parts of a scientific process or reaction.

Collaborative Blogging

Pupils of all ages often write to a higher standard when they are writing for external audiences. One growing trends at the moment is for schools to work collaboratively on blogs. A number of schools can work together on any given project or topic. The schools take it in turns to be the blogger, with other schools commenting and raising questions about the post.

Possible uses:

The forthcoming Olympics presents a number of suitable topics. These could be related to the different Olympic sports, or be a collaboration between schools in different participating nations to compare views of the games and to learn more about different Cultures.

Science: schools could outline their theories and experiments. Sharing thoughts prior to an experiment, discussing possible outcomes and then collaboratively discussing the outcomes.

Modern Foreign Languages: Blogging in collaboration with overseas schools can provide learners with a fantastic opportunity to enter into dialogue in another language.


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Possible uses:

All subjects: revision notes can be recorded and shared as a podcast.

All subjects: teachers guides to topics, concepts or skills can quickly and easily be distributed via podcasts.

Photo Sharing

There are many photo sharing websites available that offer free hosting of your photographs. Having an online repository of photographs allows commenting on work, celebration of excellence and provides an opportunity to have a good visual record of the progress made in any given area.

Possible uses:

Humanities: It is easy to create a large bank of photographs of the local environment. Pupils can be asked to comment on these, add captions and can use them in their essays and project work.

Maths: Photographs of successfully completed work can be used for ongoing assessment purposes. Photographs of different types of buildings can also provide an interesting route into a number of Mathematical enquries.

Group Tweet

Grouptweet allows multiple users to access one Twitter account. As the posts to the account can be moderated this is a great way of letting students communicate links, ideas and questions. The advantage of this method is that the pupils themselves are hidden from the outside world. Only approved members of the tweet group receive messages and the pupils’ accounts, so long as they stick to using group tweets, are not seen by the outside world.

Possible uses:

Sharing suitable links to websites relating to courses.

Asking questions about the course and helping each other out.

Private Twitter based discussions or debates.

Author: Pano Savvidis