Beyond the 4 Walls

One thing I have learned as a teacher is that education is always rapidly changing. I have noticed this even in my short seven years in the classroom. As a teacher it is my responsibility to continue my Professional Development in order to be confident in providing my students with new and current opportunities that will further their education as well as keep them up with what is happening in society. I am well aware that the idea of incorporating different Social Media platforms into my teaching has made me nervous in the past and this is exactly why I have enrolled in this class to continue my PD to gain the knowledge I require to safely introduce and provide these opportunities to my students.

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Photo credit: Compfight

In the past I primarily have been a Grade One teacher. The past two years I have found myself in a Grade 5, a Grade 4 and now a Grade 3/4 classroom. It has become clear to me that these students whether controlled or not are starting to have a social media presence. They are already at this age talking about instagram, facebook, snapchat and many other social media platforms. Many of them have expressed how they have used one or multiple of these platforms already at their age. What I have come to realize is they are all starting to build their social media presence so as adults we can either ignore it and let them do this with little education and guidance or acknowledge it and help them build a healthy, positive social media presence.

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Photo Credit: Precious kids Great Parents @  Compfight

It is important as teachers that we take the time to talk to the students about the topic of Digital Citizenship and their online footprint that will follow them throughout their lives. I feel that it is crucial that this is addressed in the classroom before students are able to use social media within the classroom. This video Digital Citizenship and You is a great video to share with students to begin the conversation around Digital Citizenship and their roles and responsibilities of being online. Zach Marks does a great job of sharing his experiences with creating a positive digital footprint as a adolescent.

As a teacher it is hard not to see the benefits in learning and the opportunities that social media is able to open up for our students. The world beyond the four walls of our classroom is full of learning opportunities that our students would not be able to access without social media. Social media allows students with the opportunities to collaborate with other students and professionals from all around the world. It allows them to collaborate and gain new ideas from reading about what others are learning about and providing them with the opportunity to gain knowledge and build on others projects. These experiences also provide students with more opportunities to build on their literacy skills. It provides students with opportunities to read what others are doing as well as respond and share their own learning with others. Social media in the classroom is very engaging for students.  It provides them with opportunity to connect to real world examples of the content that they are learning in the classroom. It allows them to engage in their topic on a much deeper level. Social Media allows students to push past the four walls in our classrooms and it opens up many opportunities that we may not be able to provide to them otherwise.

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Photo Credit: Suareparker @ Compfight

With the benefits of using social media in the classroom, there unfortunately is also risks for our students. As mentioned above I believe that educating students about positive digital citizenship can eliminate many of these concerns. One concern I have with social media in the classroom is the responsibility we as teachers have for what our students are doing while in our care. The internet is fast moving and students can post or find things very quickly. It is not like a notebook where there is a hard copy that is right in front of us. This can make it challenging for a teacher to be aware of everything that is going on online within their classroom at any given time. Students also need to be educated on how to protect their identity. It is important that they understand how to keep their privacy and not over share information that can make them vulnerable. One challenge I also see is having all families on board to give their children permission to have an online footprint. Families may have many reasons why they do not want their child visible or identifiable online. Custody arrangements and student safety is one thing that came to mind during this. We need to ensure that we are keeping students safe and protected.  I also feel that there is so much information on the internet that we need to teach children how to properly find reliable and useful information. Students need to understand that not everything they see and read on the internet is truthful and usable. It is important that we take the time to educate students on how to find reliable and credible information for them to use.

So what, now what? I really do see the benefits of using social media in the classroom. I understand that there are many risks with using it in the classroom but I really do believe that the rewards far outweigh the risks. I feel that if teachers and students are educated on how to properly use it within the classroom that this will eliminate many of the risks and concerns. I am just now learning how to incorporate these social media platforms into my teaching, learning and professional development. This is exactly why I find myself in #eci831. I feel that I am now working in the age level within my school where I need to be aware of what my students are interested in online, as well as how I can help to engage them and use technology to enhance their learning. I am committed to taking on the challenge of teaching my students about Digital Citizenship and helping them to create positive digital footprints online. Social media is not something that students should jump right into without first being taught the expectations and the proper ways to use it. I am excited to learn more about this topic this term to help with my Professional Development in this area.

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Photo Credit: Bill Budde @ Compfight

I am jumping on the ‘like’ bandwagon for social media in the classroom! Whose with me?

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About cdegelman

Grade 3/4 teacher at Douglas Park School in Regina, Saskatchewan
This entry was posted in EC&I 831 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Beyond the 4 Walls

  1. Nicole Reeve says:

    Providing students with an understanding of what their digital footprint looks like and how they can choose to leave a positive or negative footprint is critical. This can start as early as kindergarten, if not earlier. The more we talk, share and engage our students in the online world the better!

    Like

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