Every day, I have "post to social media" on my to do list for my Honors Algebra 2 class. I tag each post for Honors Algebra 2 with #alhsha2. This morning, I was staring at my computer, drinking my morning coffee in my classroom, and preparing a stations activity for students. I wanted them to solve problems to prepare for tomorrow's test. Out of nowhere, I had an idea to encourage students to use the hashtag I created to share their work on the practice problems.
During class time, I had practice problems in sheet protectors at the different tables in my classroom. I told students they should go to problems they want to practice before their test. I then encouraged them to use #alhsha2 to share their work with their peers. If everyone participated, we could have a great collection of resources they could search to study for their test. I put on some music and we got started.
My 1st period class seemed to think the idea was neat, but many students didn't want to look uncool to peers not in the class. If students posted to Instagram or Twitter, I didn't see it. That being said, they applauded my openness to using tech for good.
Third period was a little more enthusiastic and a few students posted. One student commented, "I got some more followers who found be because of the hashtag". This led to a brief discussion on how hashtags work and how they can help you find people and followers if you know how to use the right ones. The example I gave was using #edtech when I post general reflections, so others who care about #edtech will find them too and connect with me.
Lastly, with 9th period, the students agreed that it was a neat idea. A few students had fun posting their work throughout the period and I was happy to see many looking at the pictures as a resource.
Now, some of you might be thinking - Didn't you have a major problem with students being on their phones for the wrong reasons? I am happy to say that the answer is no. Some students got on their phones a few times for unrelated distractions. For the most part, however, they either were taking pictures and posting or they didn't have their phones out at all. I think creating a positive classroom culture around the central goal of learning alleviates a lot of these potential issues.
While today was not as successful as I would have liked, I definitely learned a lot from my students about social media in the classroom. I hope that we can continue to work together and learn from each other. Technology brings a great deal of possibilities and it is impossible to know what will work unless we try.
What stories do you have about sharing social media in your classroom? Please leave a message in the comments?
Mattea Garcia is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.