Social learning networks promote engagement, global awareness

By Troy Tenhet, eSchool News, November 1, 2012 — One of the goals of a social studies curriculum is to ensure that students are aware of different cultures and geographies—including how these are similar to or different from their own. Social learning communities make this easy. They offer a window to the world. The classroom is no longer a physical place. Perhaps it never has been. Learning is experiential and it occurs, usually not on schedule, but 24 hours a day. What does this mean in an age of Common Core standards and high-stakes testing?

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Ten Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom

To some, social media is a curse, consuming valuable learning time. To others, it’s just another form of communications to be used wisely and integrated into curriculum.  To understand how social media, an almost integral part of our current culture, can benefit K-12 schools and districts, the editors of eSchool News asked readers: “Name one way you use social networking in your school/district. Or, if you can’t/don’t currently use social networking, how would you like to?”

From professional development to providing real-world examples of mathematics, readers say it’s time to make the best of what can be a valuable resource for education. Here are ten of the ways they’re using social networking in their schools.

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Using Social Media in School Communications

Various forms of social media offer educators another new tool for school communications.  To get you started in the smart use of social media networks, eSchoolNews recently published an article with 10 tips on how to use this medium to their advantage. Among the best practices for educators’ use of social media:

  • Do your homeworkBe sure to follow any local policies or guidelines as well as state and federal laws or regulations regarding appropriate technology use.
  • Start simplyWith all the social media to pick from, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, TeacherTube, choose one to begin your posting and do it everyday.
  • Separate your personal life from your professional life While students, parents, and colleagues can follow your professional postings online, avoid “friending” students and parents or connecting them with your professional online postings.  Remember that only what is appropriate for the classroom or the nightly news is appropriate online.

For the full list of tips, you can visit eSchoolNews to read the article Ten tips for using social media in school communications.

Connect Your Students with Activity Packs from PBS Teachers

Activity Pack

PBS Teachers Activity Pack Screengrab

There’s still time this month to celebrate True Originals in your classroom: innovators, artists, scientists, political leaders and ordinary citizens who dared to advance, challenge, improve, invent, and explore. In honor and celebration of Black History Month,  PBS Teachers offers online activity packs like Unsung Heroes in African American History and the Civil Rights Movement in American Literature for educators to use in the classroom or to post on their classroom, school, or favorite social networking websites. These two activity packs are designed for multiple grade levels and contain links to African-American history-themed education resources and activities from PBS.  Best of all, you can grab these widgets and post them to a number of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and many more.

Activity Packs are available for a wide variety of topics – for more on The Arts, Science & Technology, Health & Fitness and more, visit PBS Teachers Activity Packs.