Family Reading Experience
- Published: Saturday, 17 February 2018 16:56
Today’s educators have a love-hate relationship with social media. They recognize that five-year-olds know how to use tablets better than their parents and that many kids have smartphones by the time they are 12. Digital natives live and breathe on social media platforms, sending messages and posting pictures and videos almost constantly. In fact, a recent CNN study on social media and teens found that among the 8th-graders surveyed, the heaviest social media users check their feeds up to 100 times a day.
A new generation of education apps is gaining traction in the classroom by combining the powerful features of social media with a focus on helping teachers. Some of the most successful ones include Seesaw, ClassDojo, and Flipgrid. By analyzing what they do well and how they improve the learning experience, we can get a better sense of what it takes to harness the power of social in education.
3 social media platforms for teachers to try
1. Seesaw uses a social media-like platform to record and organize students’ work; at its center is the concept of a digital portfolio. Students record their work in blog-like posts, and the app organizes their portfolio of work by subject area, project, or class. Students can create posts by adding videos, recording audio notes, and using drawing or caption tools to comment on what they are showing. By encouraging students to comment on the work in their Seesaw portfolio, teachers gain insight into their learning process in a way they could not by simply viewing the finished product.
District and school leaders today are being asked to do more with less. Shrinking budgets and changes to federal and state policies have made their jobs harder. In addition, to help increase student achievement, leaders are trying all kind of new initiatives—curricula and assessment systems, school-improvement-planning processes, learning methods—that have promised to deliver greater student achievement results. However, as the recent findings from the USDOE School Improvement Grants show, most school-improvement initiatives—especially in high-needs, disadvantaged schools—are continuing to fail or create little improvement.
The strategies and techniques that used to work, even a couple years ago, just aren’t working anymore. We all acknowledge that change takes time, but it is important to put systems in place that allow for the examination of signals along the change horizon that help ensure that leaders’ decisions lead to improvement, result in some early wins, and ultimately ensure a good use of human and fiscal resources.
3 levers for improvement
While many factors go into successful school improvement, research and on-the-ground experience have helped us identify three levers that create systems for investing in teachers and school leaders—and increasing student achievement.