Social Media in the Classroom: Recent Updates That Can Affect Teachers

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 -- Scott Sterling

The popular social networks are in constant evolution; change is the name of the game. The Twitter app updates almost weekly. Facebook is proud of updating biweekly, even if there aren’t many changes to be made. Often, we as users don’t even notice these updates. However, there were some significant changes in the world of social media during the past year, and they could have big impacts in your classroom. Here are five social network updates that you should be aware of:

Twitter groups and video

Twitter released functionality that allows users to set up groups of people who can tweet to each other and send video messages privately. Groups are limited to 20 members, and videos can be no longer than 30 seconds. So, if you use Twitter to keep students or parents updated on class goings-on, this update could be helpful—provided you have no more than 20 people you would like to address. Otherwise, it might be a good solution to help small groups of students collaborate on projects and activities.

Streaming video

Periscope and Meerkat came into their own this past year. Both platforms allow users to stream video either publicly or privately. Again, this opens up some collaborative opportunities for students (although the conversation is going to be one-sided). These networking apps could also be used for announcements from the teacher, as well as for impromptu, remote lessons.

Twitter Moments

Recently, Twitter unveiled a new tab called Moments. This feature is designed to capture the best tweets surrounding an event currently taking place. If news is happening somewhere around the world, Moments is supposed to gather all of the reactions. Use it in the classroom as a way to keep students in the know about current events. When something meaningful is happening, give students a quick heads-up to check out the Moments tab (and be ready to discuss it in the next class!).

YouTube Trending tab

Similar to Twitter Moments, YouTube recently added a Trending tab to its website and apps. This tab allows users to see videos currently making a splash on the site without having to wait for the content to show up on their on Facebook newsfeed or Twitter stream. Although the fare on the trending tab is just as likely to be a cat video as something enlightening, if a big event is happening, this might be a good place to stay up to date.

YouTube Red

Speaking of YouTube, the service started an ad-free, subscription-based version in October 2015 called YouTube Red. Along with getting rid of ads, Red also offers access to exclusive content and some enhanced music features. It’s not for everyone, but if you use YouTube a lot in the classroom as a visual aid, ditching the ads might be worth the $9.99 a month.

Looking for more ideas to make social media work in your classroom? Check out Edmentum’s Classroom Social Media Tricks You Haven’t Thought of Yet!