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A Worldwide Classroom? Get started with digital media for learning

It is easy to understand why people in public professions like teaching are nervous of using social and digital media.  The drawbacks to putting yourself out in the social media world have been well documented.  However, as they continue to seep into every aspect of our lives, the reality is that the longer you put off investing in these tools the bigger the gap you will have to jump when you inevitably do have to start to use them.  

Whether you teach primary or secondary, the likelihood is that your students are already well versed in digital and social media.  It is already how they talk, learn and communicate in their own time so bringing this into the classroom speaks to them in their own language and bridges the gap between their interests at home and their school learning.  Surely access to information is fundamental to education, so how can establishments that are there to teach and promote learning ignore the new tools that are available to them from a worldwide classroom?

It is understandable to be wary of engaging with students on social sites like Twitter and Facebook but that doesn’t mean there aren’t platforms and tools that you can draw on to enhance the learning of your students. 

Get started by:

·         Joining teaching communities online

Follow #EdChat or #EdTechChat on Twitter and join a Linked In group to start to gather ideas and resources from teachers who are already embracing digital media in the classroom. 

·         Ask your students

Technology and digital will already come naturally to your students.  Turn the tables and give them the opportunity to be the teacher by asking them how they access information online and how they think digital tools could be used in the classroom.

·         Do your research

The internet is ever expanding so there is a lot of useless information out there too.  By taking the time to find reliable online tools and websites you can encourage your students to support their own learning with the right information.

·         Speak to your colleagues

Many teachers are nervously feeling their way through the new digital landscape, wouldn’t it be easier if you had an ally and someone to share ideas with?

 

There are tons of websites brimming with ideas you can take to the classroom.  Here is a few to get you started:

http://www.edudemic.com/

http://www.teachthought.com/

http://www.edutopia.org/

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