How To Use Social Media In Education (Part 2 of 2)

(this is a continuation from yesterday’s article about barriers to using social media in education)

official social media icons

The first step towards applying social media into education starts with empowering teachers by giving them freedom to use social media to engage with students and giving them the freedom to come-up with innovative ways of teaching using technology.

On the contrary, let’s talk about few practical ways on how many educators apply social media to flip the conventional teaching model and make classroom & home work experience meaningful to for the students.


The average teacher impacts about 3,000 students in his or her lifetime. Imagine what could happen when you inspire 3,000 individuals or perhaps 300,000 students. How? With Youtube!

Ask your students what they would prefer – Lectures of their teachers teaching them in the real classroom, or Videos of the same lectures on their computers, Macs, iPads or Smartphone devices. Like it or not – students would prefer their teachers more in a video than in person. Because they have better control on their lecture (and the teacher) when it’s a video. They can’t rewind a teacher 10 times in the classroom, they can’t pause the lecture in a real classroom to get a cup of coffee. It’s embarrassing for a student to interrupt a teacher in a real class and ask to repeat because he/she didn’t understand.

This brings us to the most fundamental problems with the conventional way of teaching – there is a ‘limit’ to the number of times a student can make a teacher repeat the lecture. Because of which – at the end of term, there is a half baked student with low grades advancing to the next level, in spite the intent to learn and master the topic.

While watching a teacher give lecture in a video on the other hand, student wouldn’t need to pretend that they have understood. They can go back and watch the lecture again in the comfort of their home.

If you as an institution are confident about the teaching skills of your teachers, you should record the lectures of your teachers and share it with the world with the help of Youtube.

…I give you a lecture [on cycling] ahead of time, and I give you a bicycle for two weeks, and then I come back after two weeks, and I say “Well, you’re having trouble taking left turns and you can’t quite stop. You’re an 80% bicyclist.” So I put a ‘C’ stamp on your forehead, and then I say, ‘Here’s a unicycle.’”
– Salman Khan, Khan Academy

You can sign up for YouTube for Schools to bring the power of video to your classrooms for free. It lets your students access thousands of free high quality educational videos on YouTube in a controlled environment.


When people are accountable for their actions, they are more likely to behave well and treat each other with respect.

Facebook is based on real names and authentic identities That’s the reason why Facebook is not only the most popular but also the safest social network for young students. It requires that its registered users represent who they are in the real world. It’s the most basic safety tool of Facebook. On Facebook, the connections are real and authentic. If anyone discovers a user posing as someone else, they can report it to Facebook.

There are three major types of accounts on Facebook: pages, groups, and profiles. Profiles are designed for individuals, so we recommend that organizations use either pages or groups to maintain a Facebook presence.

Facebook: Julie Goler, an educator at Beverly Hills High School, uses Facebook to host discussions among her sophomore honors English students. By creating online place for students to ask questions, both of her and of their fellow classmates. And since most of her high schoolers are already on Facebook, it’s easy for them to weigh in with tech tips, questions about the homework or suggestions on tackling a paper. The result is a discussion that Goler can moderate.


Twitter helps teachers and students to create their own learning network. It gives them the opportunity to find and connect with the lives of people around the world who can help them take their learning & teaching experience to the next level.

The biggest challenge for anyone who is just getting started with Twitter is how to filter out the information that’s important from million of tweets out there. The best way to do this is by doing educational hashtag searches in applications such as Tweetdeck or HootSuit. By using hashtags, you can keep up with what elementry school teachers are talking about. For example, you can search for #elemchat if you’re an elementary school teacher, you can search for hashtags such as #edtech for education technology, #edchat for general education related discussions on Twitter.


Twitter Tips

  • When you’re signing-up on Twitter as an educational institution, choose a username that clearly identifies your department or program. For example – :Institution-name-English, Institution-name-Engineering, etc.
  • Consider including your personal Twitter handle, so that your followers will know who does the tweeting for that account
  • Institution’s parent twitter account should be mentioned in all tweets
  • Encourage students to share work socially.
  • Use a hashtag to facilitate guest speaker discussions.
  • Require original expert sources
  • Require students to keep a blog


When kids are engaged, they learn better. That’s why educators are using Instagram to share information and connect with their students, parents and other educators. Teachers can use Instagram to creatively announce homework assignments, share classroom experiences with the help of pictures.

Lisa Highfill uses Instagram in her classroom to engage with students. During everyday classwork, class projects and field trips, Lisa’s students click pictures of what they’re doing and describe in 140 characters. This gives them a chance to practise collaboration, critical thinking with a real world audience. Lisa’s students are proving that all the world is a learning canvas and we’re glad to be player in it.

Like Lisa, you can also use Instagram in your classroom to:

  • Share learning with students, parents and Instagram community.
  • Create student engagement opportunities – Photo essays, caption writing etc.
  • Connect with other teachers and students
  • Share homework assignments

Khan Academy

Any school with computers and internet connection can use Khan Academy to provide world class education to their students for free. It allows students to work at their own pace and free the teacher up to spend their time with students or individual groups of students who’re facing difficulty in understanding in particular areas. Teachers can use the time saved to invest in organizing practical activities in which students can apply the theoretical knowledge learned from the video lectures to their real life.

While some educators look at social media as an opportunity to enrich learning experiences of their students, there is also a community out there who don’t consider social media as serious medium of learning. It’s time now that educators should start trusting their students more and nurture a positive environment for social learning in which teachers and students can feel empowered with social media.


  1. Catherine Waldron

    May 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you for these great ideas. Just would question the benefit of recorded video of a live classroom lecture. Probably we have all experienced the zombie effect of passive screen watching or low-challenge clicking tasks.

  2. Miranda P

    May 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    What a wonderful article and video! I think what stuck out to me the most was the comment in the video about how social media is always looked at negatively. The reality of the situation is that it is overwhelmingly popular with people of all ages. We must, as educators, take this opportunity to use it for learning. Students learn more and are more engaged when they like what you are doing in the classroom. Why not use social media to engage students? All technologies can have negatives associated with them, and this is why we must help students better understand the positive things they can be used for. I am studying Elementary Education, but if I ever teach sixth grade I plan to create a Twitter account for my classes in order to keep my students connected to me and each other. Twitter would probably be insufficient for elementary students, but things such as twitter inspired bulletin boards where student write and “paste” notes of their thoughts and feeling on the board can be used in the place of Twitter.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

    Miranda P