Sunday, February 9, 2014

Social Media In Grade One? You Betcha!

In July of 2011, I joined twitter and since then my teaching world has exploded.  I have discovered so many inspiring educators pushing boundaries to best meet the needs of their students.  I have read blog post after blog post. I've had extensive on line and in person conversations, and I truly believe I am a much better educator because of what I've learned from others.

Shortly after I caught the "twitter" bug I started this blog as a place to document my learning. Over the past few years the blog has helped me solidify my learning and has allowed me to share that learning with the world.  Since I know what I know because people have shared with me, I strongly believe it is equally important for me to do the same thing for others.

So where do my students fit in?  If using social media such as twitter and blogging was a great way for me to learn, wasn't it only fair for my students to have that opportunity too? Yes!

That same year that I joined twitter I also I set up my first class blog, and shortly there after set up blogs for my grade one students.  I can honestly say I have never looked back.  Like I do on this blog, my students  share their learning with the world.  And just like I do, my students  learn from reading other student blogs.  Even though they are only five, six, or seven, they understand the power behind being a connected learner.  Using social media, such as public blogs, is one way they learn.

My students also use their blogs to connect with others. Right now we are part of Kristen Wideen's primary blogging community.  My students are reading other young students blogs and leaving them comments.  They are making connections with these learners and are excited to be learning with them.

My class and I also tweet through our class twitter account @MsLsClass.  I have written about some of the ways we tweet which you can read here.  The thing with twitter is that it easily invites the world into your classroom.  I love it when my students are working on something and they say, "can we share this with the world?"

At this point in the school year some of my students are keen to read what is in our twitter feed. They are no longer just reading it though, they are responding too.  They are beginning to realize that there is a huge wealth of knowledge available through twitter.  Not only do they want to learn from the world, they want to contribute their knowledge to it too. As their teacher I am appreciative all the people  who take the time to respond to my students tweets.

I also understand that many districts block the use of social media in the classroom. I am fortunate that is not the case for me.  But I also field a lot of questions around child safety with the use of social media.  I understand that there are concerns and I do, and will continue to do everything I can to keep children safe, to answer parent questions, and address what needs to be addressed.  My students and I talk over and over again about being safe on line. They understand that any tweet from our class account has to be seen by me before it goes to the world.  My students do not have access to the password on the account so it is not possible for them to tweet outside of our classroom devices.  They also know that they can not tweet their last names, or pictures of themselves with their names in the tweet.   My class twitter feed is also shared on my class blog so parents who regularly check the blog, but do not check twitter can see what we are up to.

Today, I honestly can't imagine not having my students learn with the world. In my classroom social media such as blogging and tweeting  is as a powerful tool for learning. Are you using it with your students?


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