Tuesday, February 28, 2012

30 Ways to Integrate Social Media in the Classroom

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of co-facilitating a session at the Face to Face Conference with Mara Richards, the Education Manager of Curriculum and Resources for The New Victory Theater. The session, titled “Retweet: New Media #Literacy @YourClassroom” epitomizes my recent professional transition from the Education Department to my current role at the New 42 as Media Manager. While I haven’t lost my passion for theater and education, I have gained an interest in social media and its potential impact on educational practices. It is an undeniable fact that my degree in Educational Theatre – from the classes I chose, to my contact with professors, to the relationships I built with my peers -  was often shaped by my digital life on social networking sites.

In fact, my experience of New York City is documented entirely within Facebook, which I joined during the summer of 2004 just prior to moving to New York. YouTube would not be created until the following year, in 2005, and I would not start tweeting until 2007, a year after Twitter was founded in 2006. The rate at which these technologies evolve is staggering, but consider these statistics:
  • 1 in 5 page views on the internet occur within Facebook
  • As of 2008, 90% of American high school students surveyed by the College Board had profiles on social networking sites
  • 1 in 4 Americans watch a video on YouTube every day

With these numbers in mind, it is my opinion that we do young people a disservice by not addressing media – and social media – in the classroom. However, I recognize that many teachers may not have the technology to do so directly in their room, or may feel that we’re simply asking them to teach one more thing in a calendar already overstuffed with attempts to prepare for standardized tests. With that in mind, Mara and I set out to create a session that would encourage teachers and teaching artists to teach the same activities and techniques they already use, but modify their facilitation to include the language and mechanisms of social media.

We presented our suggestions for the incorporation of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Spotify & Pinterest into their classes and investigated the further potential of YouTube, Pandora, Tumblr and more. At the end of the session, we asked the professional teachers and teaching artists in our session to expand our concepts and share what ideas they would actually use in their classrooms. Below, are 30 of those suggestions. Please use the comments to tell us what you think and make further suggestions.
  1. Rather than traditional character analysis, create mock Facebook profiles for individual characters.
  2. Ask students to write Facebook status updates from a character’s point of view throughout the action of a play.
  3. Use Facebook to develop understanding of character relationships. Who “friended” who? Who’s “in a relationship”? Who got blocked?
  4. Develop characters for original stories & student plays using a Facebook profile template.
  5. Use students' existing Facebok profile & cover photos to introduce visual inquiry - what do these images tell us about a person? Are they accurate?
  6. When studying dystopian literature, engage in a dialogue about how Facebook might be used to monitor individuals and direct public opinion.
  7. Start a Facebook group or page for students to discuss social issues & challenges they face.
  8. Unite disparate works of literature or text by theme using Twitter hashtags. 
  9. Have students create tweets summarizing their takeaways from career development workshops. 
  10. Expand critical thinking skills by asking students to respond to a work of art via Twitter. 
  11. Allow SMS shorthand to be used for plot summary on Twitter, paired with grammatically correct, written reflection.
  12. Utilize Twitter to convey actual timeline of historical events or plot points.
  13. Rather than a traditional collage, ask students to create a Pinterest board.
  14. Track costume resources & concepts in Pinterest.
  15. Begin the set design process by asking students to find images that feature landscapes, architecture, furniture or props that inspire them.
  16. Ask visual art students to develop Pinterest boards of colors, shapes and styles that will influence their final product.
  17. Create a Pinterest board of images from an illustrated book to teach sequence & foreshadowing.
  18. Explore multiple learning styles by inspiring student choreography using a Pinterest board of poetry, fabrics & textures.
  19. Document student work & generate portfolios for college admission using Tumblr & Pinterest.
  20. Share student work with parents & funding organizations via Flickr or Pinterest.
  21. Photograph tableaux activities to explore Shakespeare and caption the photos on Flickr.
  22. Use Flickr to share work of photography & visual arts classes.
  23. Create a Spotify playlist of music that would be on a character’s iPod.
  24. Create a Pandora station or Spotify playlist of songs that music students want to emulate.
  25. Develop student selected sound design for plays using Spotify.                               
  26. Listen to musical mash-up on Spotify, then create a poetry mash-up using two disparate texts.
  27. Students could create a visual art “playlist” based on an artist or work of art, comparable to the "similar artists" feature of Pandora.
  28. Encourage student choreographers to use Pandora to diversify music selections.
  29. Use Pandora algorithm of “similar artists” to help students compare seemingly unrelated passages of text or literature.
  30. Ask students to imagine what apps would be on a character’s smart phone and explain why.


Face to Face is an annual conference organized by the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable that brings together leaders in the field of arts education to share best practices and shape the future of the field.





1 comment:

  1. Wow! GrEaT PoSt! I love this post. You’ve said it all beautifully. Thanks for sharing this. We are also provided SOCIAL services.

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