Safe social media in the classroom
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By Kate Valentinepart-time teacher and media consultant

Social media is everywhere, but is it in your classroom yet and would you want it to be?

Quite rightly, there is cautiousness from teachers and senior management about embracing the social media revolution as part of the curriculum. However, for many of our children, it isn’t new or innovative; it’s just the way of the world. We worry that our children will not be safe online, that they aren’t old enough to understand the complexities of ‘Digital Citizenship’ and codes of cyber behaviour. However, as teachers, it is our job to move with the times, embrace change and prepare our children for their futures.

Radiowaves social media

How can we use social media to engage children in their learning?

We want to keep the focus on education, make sure our children are safe online and yet for the activities to remain appealing. Give them the tools for creating social media in the classroom and let them document their world in a way that they find absorbing. A blank page to fill is daunting, but a microphone is freeing. A child’s writing online about an activity they have undertaken becomes evidence of self assessment and reflective learning. For the child, sharing your creation with your peers, teachers, family and friends allows celebration of achievements, as well as the ability to receive feedback to aid reflection.

How can this be achieved within the confines of the primary classroom?

Primary children shouldn’t be on Facebook (the recommended starting age is 13), we can’t always connect to Youtube and Twitter is too restrictive for all our brilliant projects. There are alternatives to these sites, and one of the most popular in schools is Radiowaves.

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