Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom

4 Mar

As a new media student I’m constantly interested in learning the new ways professors are trying to integrate social media into the classrooms. I believe that if you’re teaching students how to understand social media what better way then to make them use it.

In this MediaShift article “How to Integrate Social Tools into the Journalism Classroom,” there is a handful of great ideas of how to get students hands on experience with online tools in the changing face of modern communication. Here are a few examples of tools they are using:

Blogs are a great way to expose students to web publishing basics and online writing. With a group collaborative blog professors – and students – can post material for everyone to see and comment on.

I’ve been in a previous course where all students had to make a wordpress blog individually to capture the progress and work from our team projects. This helped to get students online and comfortable with a blogging platform (in my opinion it’s a necessary skill in communications today). But some problems may arise from this method. Examples:

  • It’s hard to track and make sure each student is doing their part on the blogs. Possible ways of keeping up with the class is to put each blog into a reader or RSS feed (eg. Google Reader).
  • If a class is assigned a team project and each student has individual blogs it can put some distance on what the team goal and message is.

Mashable community manager and social strategist Vadim Lavrusik uses a blog to teach Social Media Skills for Journalists at Columbia University. He uses Tumblr as the primary vehicle. This is a great example of how to integrate a social tool into education. Each student has his or her own account and can contribute to a collaborative Tumblr that combines everyone’s work. The site provides a place to submit assignments, give  feedback, and of course experiment with Tumblr. This kind of online atmosphere allows for online engagement, idea sharing, and a safe place for students to gain knowledge of social media.

With all these new teaching methods I feel that some educators are learning alongside the students and that is great – as long as everyone gains a better knowledge of how to work and benefit from these new tools.

For a better understanding of how each social tool can be used in the classroom read more at Mediashift.

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One Response to “Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom”

  1. Bob Ramanousky August 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Great Article! I was looking for more information on this. I was looking to do some work with a group and also was told tumblr would be a great way to do it. I think your great information confirms it. Thanks

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