Taking Social Media Seriously At Schools – 10 Tumb Rules For Teachers

Rule 1 is about socialising.

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When pupils will leave schools for the summer vacations, and they’ll arrive in autumn – with their mobiles. There’s nothing new of drawing the lines of the mobile use over and over again, isn’t there?

There are special kinds of lockers for the mobile in some schools, and Clash of Clan is cultivated even in the queues in some schools.

Well, the pupils follow trends, let us follow them! They try new gadgets and apps, and a  trend follow one another in a quick pace. The teachers or parents are not fully capable to follow them. And why should they, while the social trends come and go, some are here to stay.

Did you know that the most common message of a teacher to a teacher on social media is: ‘did it get through?’ and from a pupil to a pupil: ‘Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy….’

The fist rule is: You don’t really have to have anything to say – just say – in social media.

Rule 2 is about creativity.

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Parents and teachers don’t always support the creativity of pupils in social media. We often forget that it’s really about creativity, nothing else. Being verbal, clever, finding out the cleverest way of playing on words, taking grazy photos, editing photos.

Social media is entertainment, but it’s also creativeness and trying out the limits the features of gadgets and apps. Hanging on the edge. That’s why the kids are better with the computers than we adults are. The cliché but so true. Conclusion, the teachers should perhaps give up and have some fun with social media.

The second rule is: You can’t break the social media, be brave, make trials, download apps and get introduced to their features.

Rule 3 is about flow.

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Tablet computers and social media has entered to working at schools which is a positive thing. We must bear in mind that in the future they will be used every day in the working life. Conclusion, schools should teach the reasonable use of them instead of closing the eyes and pretending that social media is only for fun.

It also seems to be motivating to use the familiar gaming gadget for the home work as well. The pupils seem to get enthusuastic about the subject if they are to make a You Tube video about it. It’s more likely that a pupil performs better and gains better results.

The third rule: follow the flow, accept tablets and mobile phones on your lessons.

Rule 4 is about participation.

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Finland had a new parliament in April, the campaigns have been going on in social media, it’s got a great influence on amazingly large amount of voters. We must remember, that social media is not only entertainment unless participating and influencing. We both parents and teachers should deal this attitude forward.

To enlighten this in connection to the parliament elections we could mention the election machine of YLE. It’s been two times more popular than earlier. Many Finnish voters searched similar opinions and values to vote for.

It’s a good lesson to teach the pupils to influence through the social media. E.g. using the map application the pupil may mark the good and bad things around the school environment and therefore affect to the atmosphere at school.

The fourth rule: Discuss with your pupils about the social media effect on the life of their own and their families in everyday life and school going.

Rule 5 is about empathy.

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Social media is also sharing experiences and getting to know new things and people around. Thinking social media as a possibility to express empathy instead hate lessens bullying and harassment. No growing place for that.

What is true interaction, it’s listening to others, honouring the opinions and acceptance of differencies. Even we adults have sometimes difficulties to remember the empathy on web. Here we’ve got a mutual goal …

The fifth rule: You don’t have to have a save mode for expressing the feelings and emotions on web. It’s crucial to teach pupils to think how the others feel about your comments.

Rule 6 is about sharing.

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Tablets are the cheapest way to implement the ICT to schools, both in developed and developing countries. This fact predicts that they will be widely used in teaching. At the same time there will be more and more applications placed into the education plan and into the lessons. They say that the developing countries will have a super highway to the mobile use age.

The way of utilizing the applications can vary. One way is to stream information via mobile data and the other way is to use native apps.


The sixth rule: Ask for your pupils to give a tip of app of week, and find some time to find out about it together as a class

Rule 7 is about expressing.

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Tablets, mobiles and selfies equal social media to many of us. Trend, and some of us are tired of it. Yes, I have been tired of reading the similar kind of Facebook posts over and over again. But … is there something positive in this too?

In social media you’re able discuss, negotiate, give arguments, express yourself creatively. Partly this is the reason, why nearly all of us are active in at least one social media channel.

The seventh rule: Is there even a minor role available for a social media post or mobile device use each day or dare to say, each class?

Rule 8 is about acceptance.

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Teachers might find it hard to recognise the pedagogically valued social media applications for classes. How to make the most use out of the most popular ones in school work? They may irritate you in the first place and it might be hard to remember that the point is to find out how to utilise them in school work.

The keywords of the social media are interactivity, co-operation and togetherness.

The eight rule: Have a think tank with pupils about the irritating features of the social media and how to turn them into positive energy.

Rule 9 is about choosing.

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The apps for social media vary all the time and pupils surf on the trends. One of the recent ones is Periscope for short time video blogs. They exist only for 24 hours and after that dive under water again. Waste of time, says a reasoned adult and is probably quite right.

The ninth rule: Take the advantage of the apps that are for you, serve your objectives as a teacher, and then choose which ones are suited to your classes and support you as a teacher.

Rule 10 is about life.

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While in social media, it’s not just clicking and surfing. This is social media for many of us. In social media it’s a benefit to have communication skills in style, writing, language skills, politeness, literacy and so called media literacy. In addition it’s good to know how to make audio and video files and how to publish them.

It’s important to remind the pupils to cross check facts and dismiss rumours, combine information, make source criticism, estimate and analyse the social media content.

The tenth rule: Social media is a new dimension in communication and interaction with others, consider it as a richness of life.

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