In our personal lives, we use social media to stay connected with family and friends. We even use it to learn and grow more professionally. We also know building strong relationships with our students is imperative to a productive learning environment. Because of this, we have to step into our students’ world. Social media gives us an opportunity to connect with our students and become stakeholders in their lives. It also gives us the chance to guide our students in telling a positive digital story. What our students do online is not a digital footprint that can be washed away, it's a digital tattoo that stays with us forever. Connecting with students through social media opens conversations about appropriate uses of social media and allows for teaching and modeling.
To connect with your students online consider these things:
1. Create a classroom or professional account to model appropriate use.
2. Highlight student achievements.
3. Allow your students to follow your professional account--and follow them back.
Most importantly, make your students accountable for what they are posting. Talk to them about it. The world our students are growing up in has become a very public one. Today, if a mistake is made online, it can cause damage that might never be repaired. On the other hand, social media can provide a great platform for students to showcase moments of pride, excitement, and proactive opinions.
Embracing social media allows us to meet with students on their own playground. Consider taking this opportunity to build relationships and open communication lines. Support and lead your students as they begin to tell their digital story.
For a preview to "#digcit", our monthly digital citizenship Smore, click here.
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