Why I Want My Students Using Social Media - Reason #3: Sharing Our Awesome

Wednesday, March 2, 20165:54 PM

We all do great things in our classrooms, schools, and educational worlds. No matter your position or grade level, you do something awesome that affects young people. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if that weren’t the case.

But too often, the stories we hear about schools aren’t about the awesome; too often, they are told from outside and biased perspectives; and too often, they are told from those without any real understanding of what it means to be an educator. Through social media, we can take control of the narrative about education and share our awesome.

Using social media with students allows us to share with our schools, community, and the world with transparency, immediacy, and power. You want to know what goes on in my classroom? Check out #SchoenTell on Twitter and our class hashtag will tell you. No lesson plan or summary will ever be as effective as a student sharing a video or image of what they are learning or doing in their school.

For more about why I want students using social media, read Reason #1: Community and #2: Crowdsourcing & Connecting.

This quote really inspired my social media journey. I knew I was doing great things with my students and I wanted to share that to connect, to inspire, and to share our awesome. Even though I shared on Twitter often, having students do the sharing makes it so much more powerful. The posts and connections became more authentic and represented the voices of the students, not just the teacher. Whether you Tweet from personal accounts or a class account, there are so many ways to have both students and teachers share their awesome.

Check out my post, Automating Tweets From a Class Twitter: An Updated Workflow, for some ideas about setting up a class account.

Hashtag Your Awesome

Creating a hashtag to use on social media not only helps to collect and curate your content but helps to build community. I have my class hashtag that we use for all social media posts but we will also tag our school--#OssiningPride when it related to the school or community.

This provides a title or vocabulary to link our Tweets, content, and media so that what we share with the world can be found easily. As long as I search one of these hashtags, I can find all of the things my students and colleagues are sharing.

Today, we had our first every #EdcampOHS and took it to the next level. Teacher shared on Twitter and on Today’s Meet using the hashtag. We collected ideas, pictures, and videos, and discussed the value of social media in education. In my opening remarks, we told our staff that the day was about celebrating the great things we already do in our schools, and using these hashtags to promote, curate, and share about the day creates a living artifact of our awesomness.

Your Challenge

Share your awesome on Twitter with a class or school hashtag. Start small--maybe once a week, and work your way up. Social media can be overwhelming at times, but it’s not an all or nothing--do what works for you. Then, encourage your students (if appropriate) and your colleagues to do the same. Take control of the story of your classroom and school by sharing the great things you already do.

Here are some of the ways I ask students to Tweet and share regularly, Below, find some of my recent favorite examples.

Assigned Tweets: I ask two students to Tweet each day, sharing something they learned, liked, or questioned. They need to include #SchoenTell and are encouraged to add an image or video. I organize this with a Google Sheet and use Form Mule to send them automated reminders. Find the assignment here.

Backchanneling: Students will Tweet during lessons like the reading of a play to share their ideas and annotations. As the actors perform, the students in our audience will backchannel on Twitter, Google+, Today’s Meet, or other platforms.

Sharing Products: We share all of our finished products with the world. Search #SchoenTell and you will find students’ recent Book Review Projects. For more on this project, check out last year’s article, Students Must Create: Rethinking My Book Review Projects.

Exit Tickets: Sometimes, we have too many ideas and not enough time. We want to share favorite quotes, examples, or character traits for an audience, or the lesson changed authentically. In those cases, I often ask students to Tweet out their ideas or questions as a form of exit ticket. Sometimes we come back to these ideas the next day and they remain as a permanent reminder of where the learning paused.

How do you use social media to share your awesome? How could you? Share your ideas in the comments on on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.

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