Saturday, February 4, 2012

Social Media in the Classroom?

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It is amazing to think of how far technology has come within the past 5-10 years. In watching Social Media Revolution 2011 by Erik Qualman I was able to realize just what kind of impact social media alone has on the world today. Can you believe that Justin Beiber has more followers on Twitter than there are citizens of Australia? I find that astonishing. In this day and age when social media is being used by children through adults and 93% of markers for business, it is important to consider how this can be relevant and useful in the classroom too.

Two interesting points for me are that peer recommendations are so highly valued and the vastness of Wikipedia. I think an authentic activity/assessment in my Spanish classroom could be to have students write reviews/recommendations in Spanish about different restaurants in our area. This could be a whole section on a class blog and could include hotels, museums, etc., for when students take vacations or class trips. This would be a way to incorporate a real world task as well as teach students how to read and write reviews to make more educated choices. If peer recommendations are so valued in our world today, students should learn how to write and review them with discretion and honesty.

When I was in undergrad I did a neat activity in my Educational Psychology class pertaining to Wikipedia. We had a selection of topics based on current class content that were under cited on Wikipedia. Our task was to add to Wikipedia with research and citations of scholarly articles to support our evidence. This was a beneficial task because it taught me 1. how to edit Wikipedia 2. that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone 3. the importance of citations and evidence in making research claims. I would love to incorporate this project into my own classroom, teaching my students to research, write scholarly, edit Wikipedia, and again, use discretion when using online sources. There is something really fantastic about students having done work that is instantly published and available for everyone in the world to use. I think this realization for students is the goal of social media and the read/write web, as discussed in Will Richardson's book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.

As far as Facebook, is it appropriate to make a class page? I have never investigated this but it could be interesting. If any of you reading this have insights, please share. Seeing how powerful these tools are, I am really going to be thinking about how I can best incorporate them in my classroom to make my lessons as meaningful and engaging as I can. 

1 comment:

Maryanne said...

I think your idea of having students write reviews of local restaurants in Spanish on a class blog could be a good activity. You could start by having students read some reviews in Spanish language newspapers or samples made for L2 learners. Then they could write their reviews and other students could comment. It is possible to create new pages in a blog and your reviews could be a separate page.
What a great experience you had with Wikipedia. What topic did you write about?
I think you could post your question about Facebook to our Peer Help forum to be sure that everyone sees it and can give you some insight if they know. Personally, I haven't been sold on FB yet, but I know that many teachers do use it.