Gonzales, L., Vodicka, D. and White, J. (2011) Leadership 2.0: Social Media in Advocacy , v41 n1 Sep-Oct 2011 p18-20, 22, 38.
Incorporating social media into the classroom may seem like a daunting task for most educators. It doesn’t matter what you teach or how long you have been teaching for, the use of social media for education is rapidly growing. These Web 2.0 tools range from basic use of Internet, mobile devices, to social search engines, and photo-sharing services. First created for the personal use and entertainment value; they are making the way into the education field.
These tools are now being used to begin social changes. Education leaders are now tasked with informing the public about the variety of changes happening in the education community, whether it be education politics, school closings or budget discussions. Using the knowledge of these issues can help turn a personal campaigns into public campaigns. Teachers can become educational leaders outside of their classroom and create action where there was none prior.
When choosing to use social media it is important that you start with a clear purpose and that the tool that you use will match up with that purpose. If you begin this advocacy, it is also important that you continually monitor what is going on. Campaigns have been used for centuries, but using social media for those campaigns is something that is new. In 2008, The Obama campaign gained 5 million supports through various social networks.
Facebook – Facebook is free and has over 600 million users. It can provide people with 24/7 newsfeed and an abundance of content. One can like a status, follow a page or add to a conversation. It is important to remember that not everyone has a Facebook account so don’t rely on this as your sole communication tool.
Twitter – Originally created to answer the question “What are you doing?”, now it provides people to use 140 characters to communicate quickly and provides a sense of immediacy. With so many people using Twitter, a message can get retweeted several times to broaden your communication circle, however, the message can also get lost with so many people posing their own message.
eBlasts – An effective way of getting information out to a lot of people is to use email blasts. You can use a company for a nominal fee that will often provide you with a template to send out your message.
Blogs – There are so many blogs and blog companies out now. It is very easy to set up and maintain. It started out as a diary entry format, but has expanded to education and the food world. The ease of publishing a blog and being able to use that blog into various settings, makes it very common and popular.
With the education field rapidly changing and the various challenges that are presented to us, social media is a great way to get the issues and potential solutions to the public, community members, parents, and politicians. We encourage children to stand up and right for what they believe in, it is time that educators use social media to take that stand.
Throughout this class, we have discussed technology tools and social media for the classroom. I never thought it use it on a bigger scale. Even while reading this article, I kept thinking of how to apply it to my classroom’ do I use Facebook or Twitter to get my message across. Yes, I do want to make a change in education, but right now I just want my E/LA students to turn their reading log in on time. It amazes me that this tool can allow for differentiation at levels and purposes.
I think that these tools are all great communication tools and are useful within the classroom and outside the classroom. Educators can help dispel myths about teaching and provide accurate information to the public so that they can make an informed decision. It is nice that with just a tap of some keys and a click of a mouse, the world can potentially change.