Class beyond rooms: connecting is the new constructing

Chandani Goyal and Ashima Thirwani

2020 not only marked the onset of a new decade, but also refreshed the ways in which we teach and learn. Amidst all the changes, one thing is clear, it is necessary to refine our remote learning practices to engage the students, no matter the distance. For this educators have to be ready to leverage the various social media platforms, which enable people to connect and communicate with anyone from anywhere.

In this digitally driven and virtually connected world, teachers have to up their technology skills, understand the pros and cons of using social media and learn how to use them productively.

Understanding the WHY of social media

Social media is an extensive tool that permits users to communicate and contribute towards the development of online content. Popular networks such as Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook have a vast presence, which is why they are perfect for educational purposes.

  • Social media can act as a medium to better the communication between peers, students and instructors, and the community at large.
  • Class specific groups are already created by students on social spaces for sharing messages and memes; why not harness these platforms and use them to the benefit of classroom transactions?
  • Integrating social trends into classroom teaching enables learners to take their lessons beyond the classroom.
  • They are exciting platforms for generating awareness, raising voices and collaborating on projects with global change makers through virtual exchange

Preparing and planning the WHAT of social spaces

Before embarking on this journey, educators have to be thorough in their knowledge of how social platforms work.

Privacy policy

  • As the privacy of the users is non negotiable, educators must review the the privacy settings of whatever platforms they choose to work with before starting on the journey.
  • It is also essential to familiarize the learners with the privacy settings and cater to the doubts about the platform.

Consent from stakeholders

  • Once the school and educators are sure of how they want to go about using a certain social media platform, it is imperative that gaurdians and parents be clearly told of how the teaching-learning will be transacted and their consent should be sought.

Clear guidelines

  • Educators must clearly lay down guidelines with regard to the integration of social media into the curriculum and classroom.
  • Provide clarity in terms of class page/groups, differentiated learning needs and collaborative endeavours right at the beginning of the session.

Up to date with the trends

  • It is essential for educators to keep up with the social trends for seamless integration into classroom discussions and lessons and also to connect with and understand their students’ psychology.
    Have an alternative.
  • Educators must also keep in mind that not all students are comfortable using social spaces. Just because we call this generation ‘tech savvy’ it doesn’t mean that every student is a pro at using technology. Teachers must therefore not insist on assignment submissions etc. on a social media platform alone.

Have an alternative

  • Educators must also keep in mind that not all students are comfortable using social spaces. Just because we call this generation ‘tech savvy’ it doesn’t mean that every student is a pro at using technology. Teachers must therefore not insist on assignment submissions etc. on a social media platform alone.

HOW of social media into the classroom

Integrating PBL into social spaces

  • Problem based learning centers around a problem question that learners are required to indulge in thorough research.
  • Social spaces can be used by learners to conduct poll, facilitate and indulge in open discussion, share ideas and get the perspective for the target group and influencers and the community working on the project.

Use of hashtag

  • Use of hashtags help create a common place where all the information can be visible.
  • Use hashtags to collect information on specific topic, event, theme or conversation.
  • Hashtags can also be used to create special interest groups where students with similar skills/interests can be grouped together for open discussions, debates, suggestions, reviews and sharing of posts.

Student motivation

  • Student motivation is of utmost importance if distant learning is to take place. Therefore, provide students with bonus cards and badges, if they are able to answer extrapolatory questions that are posted or for sharing notes and collaborating with thier classmates.
  • Schools/teachers can run ‘Student of the Week/ Month’ programmes and use social media live features to make announcements. This will help uplift the morale of the learners.
  • Holding a live event (assembly, for instance) and providing learners the opportunity to exhibit their talents will help them win the attention of the influencers and build their confidence.

Assignments

  • Educators can use social platforms to upload short tutorials on crucial topics or to specify assignments.
  • An assignment/submission reminder post would work wonders for timely submissions.
  • Plan your assignments that involve the use of social posts in terms of designing posters; topics for discussions and interviews; hosting polls; posting videos in place of classroom presentations, etc.

Conclusion

What could be a better opportunity then now to effectively and optimally leverage social media and use them to further education? Using technology will not only help educators connect with their digital native students better but also help their students use technology optimally.

Chandani Goyal is an English language teacher with five years of experience. She is an explorer, thinker and a zealous learner. A social enthusiast working towards the implementation of SDGs and seeking answers to global educational concerns, she is an SDG Advocate with SDG Choupal, Nitti Aayog. She can be reached at [email protected]
Ashima Thirwani, is a science educator. She is passionate about providing new and enriching experiences to her learners. She is also a career counsellor with UCLA Extension and a Green Belt certified Counsellor And Community Leader with Wakelet.

Leave a Reply