In February, I gave you my answer to the “So what?” question I asked when looking at one of the research articles shared in Jon Bergmann’s Top 10. Here’s the link in case you missed it. The goal here is to provide K-12 teachers with a practical application for what the research has found. Otherwise, what is the point of research?
Amir Talaei-Khoei and others asked: “How does Facebook improve the students’ learning experience in flipped classes?” They found that using Facebook to make the pre-work more social enhanced student outcomes.
The Big Idea
When you take an academic interaction and put it into a social media environment, most people relax a little more and find it less intimidating.
By using Facebook (or other social media platforms) as a way for students to access learning in what is usually considered the “individual space”, students learn how to engage in academic discussions with their peers. Instead of sharing photos of their fabulous lunch, they can share their thoughts and questions about, and confusion with, the content of the lesson. Many digital learning environments and learning management systems have these “social-media-like” elements (discussion forums, chat, etc.). However, when you take an academic interaction and put it into a social media environment, most people relax a little more and find it less intimidating. It’s the focus on socializing, sharing, “liking”, emojis, etc. that make engaging in learning more fun. What I really like about this idea is that experiencing academics in a social environment will plant the seed that we can learn from others we connect with socially, as well as seek out those who know what we want to know on social media…authors, scientists, education gurus, industry experts, etc. There is no limit to what we can learn; we just have to ask the right people. The beauty of the internet is that we can share what we know with others through social media. This can add a new dimension to the flipped classroom experience. Here are some interesting ways that other teachers are using social media. Brie, a special education teacher does an offline activity with students so they learn how to use a social media tool using paper first so they understand the concept before going online. Abby Schukal, a middle school art teacher uses Instagram in very creative ways such as:
Consider using tools that your students are already using, like YouTube (still popular amongst all ages), Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Most of these tools are image and video-based, which seems to be the preferred method of information delivery for kids and young adults. Videos are the staple of most flipped learning classrooms, so these tools seem a natural fit. Accessing learning through these platforms may increase student engagement more than your usual digital learning platform. It’s fun just to mix it up now and then. Something to consider is that many online tools have minimum age requirements; do not just assume because your students already use these social media tools that they meet the minimum age requirements. Make sure to check the Terms of Service for each tool. It is also recommended that you get active parental consent for students to create accounts on any online tool that you want to use.
Other articles on this topic
Your own personal learning
Using social media with your students
After reading this column, I hope that the “so what?” you might be feeling after reading research studies becomes a “Now what?” feeling, and that innovative research becomes a call to action. And when you hear that call to action, tweet me @nvterragraves or friend me on Facebook. I’ll add you to my PLN! (That’s personal learning network for you newbies.)