10 Guidelines for Integrating Social Media Tools into the Classroom

In a recent Edutopia blog, professor Toddy Finley offers 10 Guidelines for Integrating Social Media Tools and Spaces into the Classroom. First, to understand the skill many students have in social media, on average, kids can fit eight hours of media exposure into five hours of non-school time by media multitasking. Many teachers are aware of the media-culture their students live in and attempt to  incorporate social media into the classroom with the sole purpose of engaging students. Finley argues,  “the trick is for instructors to avoid ‘teaching’ new media tools with old media practices in their desire to engage students and teach 21st century skills.” He suggests educators to use the following guidelines, based off his own experience and extensive research, as they plan the integration of social media:

  1. “Imagination is heightened by rules.” Social media should be directive, but not restrictive.
  2. Read Michael Zimmer’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media, OnlineUniversities.com’s 100 Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom, and for a theoretical and practical angle, read Kristen Taylor’s How to Build an Online Community.
  3. Pair digital novices with digital natives to learn the how, why and when of social media.
  4. Glogster, Diigo, and Ning are all platforms championed originally by educators. Use these to steer clear of students’ social media territory.
  5. Watch social-media researcher Danah Boyd’s insightful lectures.
  6. Set clear distinctions between when conversational and formal writing should occur.
  7. Don’t require students to write “correctly” in discussion form.
  8. Great online discussions thrive when students and instructors trust the community.
  9. Don’t introduce too many different social media channels in one semester.
  10. Check out Quora, an online platform created and maintained by former Facebook and Google employees.

Do you have any social media guidelines you would add to the list? Share in the comment box below.

Read the full article, “Siphoning the Fumes of Teen Culture: How to Co-opt Students’ Favorite Social Media Tools.”


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