Your students might not be ready for the big scary world of social media (though they probably think they are), but with your guidance they can still reap the benefits. Even if you’re not an avid Tweeter or YouTuber, social media is too good a teaching resource to pass up – the trick is knowing where to dive in! Check out our beginners’ guide to using social media for elementary school teachers.
Once a virtual repository for funniest home videos, YouTube is now a social media powerhouse. Packed full of user-generated content, YouTube is far more than videos of pandas sneezing and falling down slides; it’s where to head when you’re looking for a tutorial on almost anything, from algebra to juggling to playing a flaming guitar with your teeth. And there are plenty of channels and users for teachers to subscribe to, including TeacherCast, The International Society for Technology in Education and Google for Education (which will also point you to some great Google resources for schools).
Pinterest is an online noticeboard allowing you to collect images and websites you find across the internet in one convenient location. It’s also fantastic for browsing the collections of other users, many of which are carefully curated along certain themes: classroom decorating ideas, for example, or packing creative school lunches. There’s an entire Pinterest board dedicated to teachers and subdivided into grades, subjects and practically any other topic you could want, as well as boards run by teachers themselves. Try Education to the Core or Clever Classroom for starters.
Twitter can seem especially daunting for both teachers and students, but it doesn’t have to be. While elementary school students (particularly in the lower grades) might be too young for personal Twitter accounts, they can still participate in the online community through carefully supervised, shared classroom accounts (@MrsWideensClass, @ and @woodsidekinders are great examples). These accounts can be used to share work, chat with other classes and schools and communicate with influential Twitter users all across the world. There’s an excellent overview of an elementary classroom’s educational Twitter activities here.
Nick Nedeljkovic is a freelance writer and blogger from Sydney. With a love of learning and more degrees than he can afford, he’s a passionate advocate for education in all its forms.