Saturday, August 13, 2011

Principal encourages social media in the classroom

It's nice to know that educators like Eric Sheninger are getting recognized for their sensible approach to technology and learning. Sheninger, principal of a high school in New Jersey, believes in tapping the power of social media to engage students.

"The Internet as we know it is the 21st century," Sheninger says in a recent article from USA Today. "It is what these students have known their whole lives. They're connected, they're creating, they're discussing, they're collaborating."

I have been very fortunate to have worked for a principal who embraced technology and supported my efforts to use digital tools and social media in the classroom. While he retired last year, his replacement seems equally interested in using Web 2.0 tools, and has plans to start a blog in order to allow him to communicate with students, parents, and faculty. I think it's a wonderful idea.

If you're an educator, and you aren't blogging, you should, according to Wired Educator's Kelly Croy.  Click here to get started and join the conversation!


Social media image by Stephen Traversie

3 comments:

Megan Padden said...

I have been thinking about possibly bringing blogging into my classroom, though I am not sure exactly where to begin. While I love the idea of a blog and maybe my students would as well, I am curious on how effective you find it to be in the classroom. What do you feel probably best inspired your school to get into the world of blogging? What do you feel is the most important part about encouraging students to blog?

Megan Padden said...

I have been thinking about possibly bringing blogging into my classroom, though I am not sure exactly where to begin. While I love the idea of a blog and maybe my students would as well, I am curious on the effectiveness you find it to have in the classroom. What do you feel probably best inspired your school to get into the world of blogging? What do you feel is the most important part about encouraging students to blog?

Mr. B-G said...

Hi Megan,

Thanks for the comment. I think we should take any opportunity we can get that will allow us to share our students' writing with an audience larger than ourselves.

Blogs do that. Social medial does that. Google Docs does that. I think when students know their work will be read by others, they take more care in the finished product.

My school hasn't so much gotten into the world of blogging... it's pretty much me and a few other teachers who use blogs sporadically. I had my students try it out because I had my own positive experience with it, sharing my writing and ideas with other educators.

One of the most important parts is knowing why you want to launch a blogging initiative with your students, and to be sure all major constituents understand and sign off of the project (administrators, students, parents). I've maintained a healthy dialogue with my administration about my students' blogging initiatives, and I've sent letters home with students for parents to read and sign off on. Once you clear those introductory hurdles, one of the most important things is to explain netiquette and acceptable ways for students to comment on each others' writing.

It helps if you model this and provide comment stems. Understand that you may need to tweak things as you go forward, and don't be discouraged if you encounter some initial roadblocks. There's real power in publication; a class blogging initiative will allow your students to experience that!

Good luck. If I can help further, feel free to send me a message.