Search form

Back to Blog

Teachers Debate Social Media Use in Class

TweetIn a story by Paul Barnwell of posted on Education Week May 30, 2012, the self-described tech-leaning teacher derided the use of social media technologies like Facebook as having little to no academic value in the classroom. Barnwell wrote:

“I’ve always been open to new technologies in the classroom—in fact, in 2010 I argued that we were doing students a disservice by not incorporating cell phones into instruction. But over the past two years, I’ve seen or read about too many teachers and students who have become enamored with—even addicted to—social media and cell phone applications that fail to offer true pedagogical advantage or promote critical thinking.”

While Barnwell raises important issues, the argument rings hollow when one considers his points have been made for decades every time a new technology emerges. The onus is on the teacher to use these burgeoning technologies as effective classroom tools. Where someone complains that Twitter is killing students’ proficiency in English, a creative teacher is using the social media platform as a 21st-century version of the Chain Story Lesson, in which a student writes one sentence of a story, another student writes the next and so on, until a finished narrative is complete.

Thankfully, Barnwell says he is "a long way from giving up on technology altogether" and is working on infusing Web 2.0 tools into his curriculum.

Barnwell is right to question the technologies, but to abandon them after a single attempt at implementation is a disservice to his students, and to his own professional development.

As EPlybon, a commenter responding to Barnwell's story, explained:

"We encounter teachers every day who use technology because it is cool, rather than making sure it is the tool that will get that particular task done in the most meaningful and efficient way. To translate that into evidence against the use of social media is flawed. I have seen social media, and the concepts surrounding it, used in very meaningful ways which promote higher-level thinking, and I've seen it used as fluff. Making the distinction between the two is important. I will not concur with you that, because some teachers use it wrong, we all should stop using it."


Pumpkin Time is Here!

Learn about Pumpkins! 
1. Pumpkins are thought to have originated in Central America, specifically Mexico. Some seeds found date back to 5500 B.C.
2. Top pumpkin growers are U.S. farmers, growing more than 1.5 billion each year.
3. The word pumpkin comes from the French word for “large melon”,

Tips and Tricks for Back to School

Back to school---it’s here!

There are many emotions and thoughts about returning back to school.  Excitement, joy, pressure, sadness and anxiety might be a few.  It depends who you are, what kind of emotion you are feeling.  Are you a first year teacher?  Are you a veteran teacher and maybe it is your last year?  Are you a new student to a school district? Maybe you are a graduating senior or maybe just moving schools within your school district? Are you a parent...

Family Forums: What are They?

As you begin your new school year, I wanted to share with you something that I did to involve, engaging and build relationships with families----I call them “Family Forums”.  I decided that Family Forums would not only become a normal part of building a successful reciprocal relationship with the families in my classroom but also a time to teach and learn from one another. My forums were a party for my families, not a meeting but a place to come and have fellowship with others. It was also a...

Ten Ways to Engage All Students

As we begin the new school year, stop and reflect on what new things you want to try. Ask yourself how you can make your lessons more engaging or hands-on?  Do you need try new ways of differentiation? What about researching engaging ideas online or observing colleagues? Is there a professional development you have been wanting to attend?

At the beginning of each new year and after each teaching day, I like to reflect on what worked well and what I need to change.  I would observe my...

Welcome Back to School! Freeing...

It is the most exciting time of the year as teachers start returning back to school. Teachers and administrators are looking forward to the new school year. Many administrators think that this is a time for team building and professional development in the short time before students  arrive. As a former principal, I learned that teachers are anxious to get into their classrooms and prepare for school to start.

What I was told was that our teachers appreciated how I approached the...

Tour de France 2022

The Tour de France Begins!



Ideas For You and Your Child This...

Summer learning has a huge impact on accelerating your child’s success for the fall.  When the last bell rings for children to be out of school, it is a time for sleeping, spending time with family and friends, playing in the water, taking vacations AND LEARNING.  Children love to learn.  Keeping that spark of interest in mind you want to make sure to work with your child this summer so that skills and topics are not forgotten.  It also gives you that special time to work with your child,...

Ideas For Becoming a Strong Leader:...

Challenge Yourself to Do Something New

As teacher professionals we are all leaders in some capacity.  It is important as leaders that we show others how to be their best selves.  We need to model for others and support choices and decisions. We must also build relationships that are reciprocal with faculty, staff and families we work with. I have been in several leadership positions, from a cheer sponsor, principal, Director of a Program at the University level, Coordinator of an...

Family Forums: What Are They?

Family Forums are something that I did when I was teaching and I decided that they would become a normal part of building successful relationships with the families in my classroom.  I challenge you to take the parts of my Family Forums and incorporate them in to your teaching practices.  They work!