Social in Media in Education! It’s Time Has Come

3rd post in a new series: PLN Tips 4 Teachers

digi citizenship

I read this heartbreaking post from kindergarten teacher, Matt Gomez, today, The End of Facebook in My Class, and I was saddened that yet another battle has been lost between a teacher trying to help support students in the kind of learning that will help them in life because school policy got in the way. I’m tired that “learning” has been reduced to an institution, profit making industry, and a bunch of bad policies worldwide.  And I am sickened to know that we as a society have allowed this to happen. But we can speak up now and try to change the system through social media. Social media gives us a voice and I am proof as also many others who use social media in education are that we can spread the message of what great learning is and try to change policy.

In order to do this we need to help people get over their fears. Systems control us because they feed on our fears. Policy has been allowed to ban and block sites and the use of various technologies, because we fear students will access them, post terrible things, and it will have detrimental repercussions. Let me tell you that this fear has already happened. 1000s of students have even committed suicide due to cyberbullying and sexting and guess what they didn’t access social media at school, they did this at home with only their peers to guide them and talk to them. Kids can’t come to us with these problems, which is sad because now social media is embedded in our lives and society.

We don’t teach students how to make positive footprints and how to handle sticky situations in social media because we fear that in schools they will make mistakes. That’s learning. Learning is making mistakes and having a guide to help you along the way correct those mistakes so that when you are alone and have to make the decision you make a much better one.

We miss so many magical teaching moments because the majority of policy bans us from guiding our learners to a better path with their social media use once they make mistakes.

How can you help?

Spread your examples of how you use social media in education. Get the word out and get people excited and try to alleviate their fears. I spend a lot of time in the media talking about the issue and I will continue to spread the word out through social media and my travels. I hope to reference the following great examples of social media use with learners. I’m including the great work Matt Gomez did using Facebook with his kindergarten class. I will miss reading about that great learning that took place with this initiative and can only hope that one day I will live in a world where learning isn’t controlled and schools really prepare kids for their lives in the real world.

You may want to also visit a post George Couros wrote in response to Matt Gomez’s post, The Power to Kill Innovation.

Great Examples of Social Media in Education

These posts are in no particular order:

Why I Am Using Facebook in the Class Again This Year by Matt Gomez


CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation by Langwitches, Silvia Tolisano


Integrating Language and Science by Aviva Dunsiger

Teaching with Twitter in the Classroom by Shelly Blake Plock

Teaching Digital Citizenship Using Twitter and Lord of the Flies

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Typically, decisions to ban are made to counter the efforts of 5% or less of the population. Decisions should be made for the other 95%. Autonomy in schools is so important and district or blanket decisions destroys subsidiarity and in turn takes a big chunk out of engaging learning for those who wish to access it.
    Having said that, we need to do a whole lot more in helping at risk kids relate positively on SM.
    Good post.

    • Hi Chris,

      I think you make a valid point. Thanks for the comment. We do need to do a lot more. Maybe we need a focused effort or social media strategy for this?

  2. Hi Shelly

    I agree with you totally. The important word is ‘Learning’ not ‘Teaching’. As a chemistry teacher of 42 years I aim to make my students ‘independent learners’, ie. educate them ‘how to learn’. I equate giving a student some facts to giving someone a bowl of rice which will feed him/her for one meal. I equate educating a student in ‘how to learn’ to showing someone how to grow rice so they will be fed for life.

    I use ‘twiducate’ (social networking for schools) with my classes and the feedback from students, parents and colleagues has been very encouraging. Below are the details to access the ‘twiducate’ page I’ve created for my Yr 12 chemistry students.

    The details to access the Yr 12 page are below.

    On the drop down menu choose ‘student’
    Class Code is jab12c
    Password is 157585
    Don’t forget to enter the text in the box.

    I should appreciate any feedback/thoughts/suggestions on what I’m aiming to do.

    Please check out my website at

    Best wishes and have a wonderful day.


    • Hi Jim!

      Thanks for sharing that resource. I think Twiducate is an awesome source and might be the one Aviva uses for her first graders.

  3. Social media is now the main way that I connect with parents, form community partnerships and showcase student work.
    I am thankful Portland Public Schools supports social media in the classroom.

  4. Social media is now the main way that I connect with parents, form community partnerships and showcase student work.
    I am thankful Portland Public Schools supports social media in the classroom.

  5. Social Media goes beyond facebook/twitter. It not only allows students to start networking for their future, but have access to a variety of information for their education. I am a huge supporter and encourager of social media in the classroom. Not only has it helped me through my high school and college career, but my social life. I think students entering the workforce to can not only search for job openings but more in depth information regarding that job and company. How else can you find out certain details that one may never know with out social media? Check out the latest @

  6. School administrators are paranoid that the internet is full of pedophiles out to kill their children. Parents are worried their children are using the internet to access hardcore material. Teachers are worried their students will discover their risque facebook photos.

    And so on.

    And it’s all rubbish of course. It takes just a few hours of sensible, calm classroom time to explain to administrators, parents and teachers that the internet is not like it is portrayed in the sensationalist media and that it is an incredible resource which can revolutionize their children’s education.

    As always, ignorance is holding us back here.

    PS believe it or not when I first tried to make this post is was rejected because it contained the word p * o * r * n! You see what I’m trying to say? Paranoia stifling what should be sensible discussion!

  7. I agree that we need to engage students in classroom and make learning meaningful for them, but I don’t believe that social media is the only way or the best way to achieve this goal. There are many strategies to help students connect to the learning in the classroom without social media.

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