Social Media and Collaboration Tools in the Classroom
Merit: I really like how it is so easy to collaborate and communicate on Facebook. Posting a status, making a group with certain people, or direct messaging are all effective and easy ways to communicate with others on this social media site. Being able to “like” or even now “dislike” and add other reactions to someone else’s post and also add comments on it allows the user to see other’s ideas or receive feedback and input from their friends.
Drawback: There are a lot of advertisements on Facebook, and depending on who you’re friends with, your Newsfeed can get filled up with a lot of inappropriate or uninteresting things, especially if using Facebook in an educational setting. It is very easy to get distracted on this site.
My use of this tool: In an elementary classroom setting, I personally would not consider using this tool with my students. If anything, I would use this tool to communicate important information with the student’s parents. Every day (or week if once a day is too much) I could make a post in a private group page with my student’s parents about what the plan for this week is, what student’s homework is, and general announcements to keep open and clear communication with parents. If a particular student is struggling, I could directly message the parent(s) of this student to let them know what more they could be doing at home to help them.
Merit: The limitation to 140 characters on Twitter is probably the best thing about it. It keeps things short and direct; it also does not disengage the user because overall there is not much to read. If the user has something more to say, they can easily attach a video or link to another website or article.
Drawback: Twitter can be very distracting. One can easily get lost looking at a celebrity’s profile, or watching videos and meme’s that fill up on one’s newsfeed. There are also a lot of joke or fake accounts that Tweet information that is not true or relevant information.
My use of this tool: I would consider using Twitter in my future classroom, but only if I was teaching an upper elementary grade. I think it could be very effective for getting student’s opinions on certain topics. For example, I could Tweet a question such as, “What was your favorite part of our unit on volcanoes?” and students could reply to me and I could see what they took away from the unit.
Merit: The abundance of resources not only for educational purposes, but also for many other topics as well such as food, clothes, etc. The user can search anything and a large variety of pins will show up that the user can pin to their board. The ideas on Pinterest are endless and that is very beneficial to the user for many different reasons!
Drawback: The merit of having so many different resources in this tool can lead to the drawback, which is distraction. Personally, I get lost by the amount of pins I see on my board daily and get distracted searching for a lot of different things that definitely do not pertain to what I am doing in that moment.
My use of this tool: As a teacher, I would use this tool as a resource for myself rather than as a tool for my students. There are so many different lesson plan ideas on Pinterest for all ages, grades, and subjects that are so fun and creative! I could make my classroom a more positive environment with decoration ideas and classroom management strategies that can be found in many Pins. Teachers on Pinterest share their ideas so other teachers can use them in their classroom free of charge; this allows the teacher to make the lesson personalized to his or her classroom needs.
Merit: Wikispaces is a great tool to use for communication with other users through posts and updates on their page. In education, it is a great way to inform students of upcoming assignments, homework, and due dates. I also like the amount of control the creator of the page has over what is posted not only by the user, but also by others apart of that wiki to make sure that everything is appropriate and content related.
Drawback: The constant refreshing for new content on wiki is very tedious to the users. If there were a way to see real-time work of other users instead of having to refresh the page to access new content, wiki would be more beneficial.
My use of this tool: I see this tool as helpful for collaboration on assignments and for communication purposes. I do not really see myself using this tool in my elementary aged classroom, but I do see this as a useful tool for secondary education for collaboration on project ideas, class discussions, and as a way to access homework and other assignments in an organized fashion.