The Case For Social Media in Schools

school social mediaMost school leaders are scared of social media.  They’ve heard the horror stories of bullies, predators, and porn harming kids though social media, and most wouldn’t even consider bringing social networking into the classroom.

Sarah Kessler published a fantastic post on Mashable yesterday that addresses the fears and cites real-world examples of how social media has had a tremendously positive effect for some schools and students.

A year after seventh grade teacher Elizabeth Delmatoff started a pilot social media program in her Portland, Oregon classroom, 20% of students school-wide were completing extra assignments for no credit, grades had gone up more than 50%, and chronic absenteeism was reduced by more than a third.

Another example…

Matt Hardy, a 3rd and 4th grade teacher in Minnesota, describes the “giddy” response he gets from students when he introduces blogs. He started using blogs in his classroom in 2007 as a way to motivate students to write.

“Students aren’t just writing on a piece of paper that gets handed to the teacher and maybe a smiley face or some comments get put on it,” he says. “Blogging was a way to get students into that mode where, ‘Hey, I’m writing this not just for an assignment, not just for a teacher, but my friend will see it and maybe even other people [will] stumble across it.’ So there’s power in that.”

Safe Social Media Tools Are Available — And They’re Free

Safety of children is the biggest concern when it comes to using social media in education, and it should be.  But there are several free tools available that keep kids safe including Kidblog.org, Edmodo and Edublogs.

Social Media Encourages Collaboration Instead of Cliques

Most jobs today involve teamwork and collaboration, but our educational system doesn’t prepare kids for that.  How many times have we heard teachers say “Keep your eyes on your own paper,” and “Stop talking to your neighbor.”

I’m not suggesting that every assignment should be collaborative – we do need to be sure each individual child has a grasp of the fundamentals, but the world has changed significantly over the 20 years since the Internet became public.  Communication and collaboration are as fundamental a part of the 21st century workplace as math and reading.

Social media as a teaching tool has a natural collaborative element. Students critique and comment on each other’s assignments, work in teams to create content, and can easily access each other and the teacher with questions or to start a discussion.

I highly recommend reading the entire article: The Case For Social Media in Schools

Do you think schools should be incorporating blogging and social media into their educational systems?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

3 Responses to “The Case For Social Media in Schools”

  1. i am very happy to be a part of ourchruch.com
    hope it will help me to be a good christian beliver and follower of my LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  2. Kayla Reuter Jul 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I do think schools should be incorporating social media into their educational systems. Not only is it great for collaboration, as you stated in this article, but it is also a great way to teach children how to use these online sources now. Social media is a growing trend that will not go away. By teaching kids how to use it at a younger age they will be better equipped. Like the gap between my ability and my grandma's ability to use a computer, children of this generation will be social media whizzes by the time they reach adulthood if it is integrated into schools.

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