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Technology [Conversation]

Engaging Students in the 21st Century

Started on Aug 11, 2012 by Jenncook678
Last post on Jul 17, 2013

I have recently created "teacher" Facebook and Pinterest accounts for my students. It seems to be going well so far but I feel that I could be doing even more with it. Is anyone out there trying the same thing and if so, what are you doing to use these powerful tools to their fullest potential?

1 Keeps, 0 Likes, 11 Comments

  • Jenncook678 08/11/2012 at 08:33am
    Right now, I have the Pinterest account linked to my Facebook and I've been posting project ideas or tips to keep my students actively engaged in the world of art and the happenings of my classroom. It has also helped because I have been able to gauge students' interest in new projects or mediums! My Pinterest account is set up so that students can quickly an easily find resources by using the boards to guide their search.
    When the school year starts up again, I'd like to also use Facebook to have student artists of the week.
    Any other ideas?
    Feel free to follow me on Pinterest because I'd sure love to follow some of you!

  • ali_courtney 08/13/2012 at 12:13am
    I haven't done this because school policy doesn't allow, but I'd really like to be connected to my students via Twitter. Idea is that you'd have a class hashtag (eg #11VA) A few potentials:
    -get them to tweet quick responses to a question or an artwork in class, then springboard from those tweets for class discussion
    -remind your students of homework coming up
    -notify parents of homework/assessments as they can simply look at the hashtag

    Has anyone done this? Keen to hear more ideas. (I'm advocating for a change of policy at school re social media).

  • sallyctaylor 08/26/2012 at 02:48am
    I tell all of my students that I will not friend them on Facebook until after they graduate. I think this is a very grey professional area that could ultimately get you into trouble. I have a great professional relationship with my students but it is important that they know that you care about them as their teacher and as a safe and supportive adult, not as their buddy. There are a lot of ways to use technology to connect with your students, but social media could put you on shaky ground not only with students, but with parents and administration. Just a word of caution...

  • Jenncook678 08/26/2012 at 08:29am
    Thanks for your comments. I really struggle with these issues on a daily basis. I know there is a grey area and social media can walk a fine line. However, our district has the 21st century inniative so I feel that it is important to try to engage students on a technological level and model appropriate uses.

    I used to not even friend them even if they had graduated. But this year I had a really wonderful exchange student and when I gave her my "no Facebook friends" speech I could tell she was really upset (since she was leaving the country). That's when I had the idea for the teacher account. That's why I made a teacher Facebook account that is separate from my personal one. The only thing I post on it is art room related.

    I know that my VP has a Facebook group for a leadership initiative. So I decided to follow in suit. It's not banned here (yet) so I'm hoping that I can maybe show some of the ways it can be used in positive way.

    One more thing, our government just passed some anti-bullying legislation tht states that the school is responsible for interfering with all types of bullying, even if it is occurring on social media site, like Facebook, because those issues tend to worm their way into the classroom. Does anyone else have legislation similar to this where they are from? If so how do you handle a task like that without engaging with students online?

  • Jenncook678 08/26/2012 at 09:09am
    Ali_courtney, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I just wanted to say that I found your idea really inspiring.mifmi had twitter, I'd probably try it. It's seems like a great way to use cell phones properly in the classroom!
    Maybe someone who IS allowed can try it and let you know! Thank you.

  • RuthByrne 08/30/2012 at 05:52am
    I'm in the process of separating pins to my teacher pinterest account, totally worth while. I love the facebook and twitter ideas, but my lil guys don't have quite as much access to these tools. Our school district engages with students in a controlled online format (My Big Campus) but not the wider, more popular web. I find this ideal for the 3rd and 4th graders since I can set them up with a safe social media account that their parents can be comfortable with and is designed to focus conversation around school related topics. With small G&T groups I've run brainstorming sessions, and reflections completely online; its great when the kids come into the classroom already knowing what they want to do.

    It has drawbacks, some kids can't access it at home, it ISN'T facebook so the 4th graders are a little less excited to use it. Still, I really like this tool for k-4 kiddies.

    Jenn, I teach in NJ which was one of the flagship anti bullying legislation states. The language of the legislation specifically includes any off campus or online bullying. Since we aren't there (online) to observe it, it is handled if it is reported by victim or parent or extracted from a victim or bully after an in school offense has triggered a conversation.

    Do you find you observe more aggressive behaviors than you would hear about if you were blind to the student accounts? I imagine it would encourage students to model good citizenship online if they were friends with teachers or part of school facebook pages. Even imaginary eyes have effects on behaviors.

  • Jenncook678 08/30/2012 at 03:22pm
    Unfortunately, I have actually had to delete a few students because the content of their Facebook was so inappropriate.

    There is a lot of drama that goes on in their status updates, with the person they are referencing being unnamed usually. As much as I don't like to see that type of post, I do think those kind of things might give me more insight to understand sudden inexplicable hostility or drama in the classroom. Perhaps, with this insider knowledge, I can try stop that behavior from happening before it start.

    I think if used with a professional mindset, social networking might become a great tool to reach out to the tech generation.

  • jfrisco 08/30/2012 at 08:12pm
    I was just introduced to today from a colleage. I am in the process of learning/experimenting with it. It looks like Facebook, but is for educators in the push for 21st century learner initiatives. It is for schools-classrooms. Teachers can set up their own sites for students. Students are given a code to access it. It also gives options of creating quizzes, polls, automatic automatic gradebook, badges and more.

  • RuthByrne 08/31/2012 at 02:33pm
    Jenn, it does sound like an ugly scene to have to witness, but I can imagine you do have a better feel for the drama that's under the surface of any class after 3rd grade.

    I wonder though if witnessing passive aggressive or otherwise undesirable behavior kids exhibit when they don't think they are being watched can poison the adult's relationship with them...I guess that is the point though...they learn their actions have consequences.

    I wonder if there is a way to be a content generator only, like to have a "page" the way a company might. That way kids can interact on the page and receive messages from the page without the page owner seeing all their updates.

  • Jenncook678 08/31/2012 at 04:33pm
    Yes, there definitely is a bad side to Facebook and I guess that's what I have focused on in this post. However, it has already been an invaluable resource (aside from the undesirable behavior).
    I had a students have a death in their family that I would not have otherwise know about. It has allowed me to provide support and show that I care when students need it the most.
    On a brighter note, it has also allowed me to share in their success stories. Again, there are things I might not have learned and I'm happy I did.
    There are cons for sure, but I think with some persistence and education on appropriate online behavior, it might help us get a better understanding of our students and their needs.

  • cre8rt 07/17/2013 at 02:07pm
    Another avenue is Twiducate(, it is Twitter for the classroom. It is protected, students can have an exchange with each other or you or both. I did a limited test run last year, it was fun. I may try to implement it more this year as each student will have an ipad.