Spreiter, J. (2015, February 5).Schools Going Social.” Retrieved from http://www.weau.com
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)– Teachers and students are spending less time at the chalkboard and more time on social media. By breaking down walls and raising spirits, schools are going social.
Andrea North is a social media expert. She started her business, #SocialSchool4EDU, after she saw a need for schools to do more with social media.
“I think teaching kids how to use social media in the classroom can really teach them how to use it in a positive way,” says North.
New Auburn Schools make it a priority to spread kindness by sharing positive things going on in the classroom.
Brian Henning is the superintendent at New Auburn Schools.
“The biggest thing we see is an overwhelming amount of support and community engagements. Kids see an uproar in pride and enthusiasm because they see the hard work that they see on a daily basis,” says Henning.
Kevin Mesiar is a science teacher at New Auburn Schools. He says technology makes for his students to share their learning experience, by connecting new microscope technology to social media.
“It’s cool way for kids to see things that they can’t see with the naked eye, but how much cooler when you see something for the first time. It’s a very great way to enhance and take something from the classroom and to share it with the public which is huge,” says Mesiar.
Teachers at New Auburn say social media gives parents a chance to see what’s going in their child’s classroom.
“I know a lot of times parents will ask kids what is going on in schools and they’ll get very bland answers. I feel like if they see something on Facebook, they can ask more specific questions, and it opens up the door for more meaningful conversations,” says Colleen Kunsman, 1st grade teacher at New Auburn Schools.
“When we do exciting stuff in the classroom, I will take pictures and put them on Facebook with a little blurb of what we are doing in the classroom, so they get to know what we are doing with our day,” says Jill Bergh, Kindergarten teacher at New Auburn.
Students tell WEAU that they love going social in school. “It makes you feel good like you’re doing something good, and they’re proud,” says New Auburn 6th Grader Zoey Rada.
“When you learn it at a young age, you can be more advanced in it, and then when you’re older, you can apply it to the rest of the world,” says New Auburn 10th Grader Whitley Harelstad.
Fall Creek Schools recently received White House recognition for being a “Future Ready School.”
Joe Sanfelippo is in his fifth year as superintendent. Sanfelippo pushes the idea of sharing classroom experiences, by figuratively “knocking the classroom walls down.”
“So now it’s just not about what’s going on in school, it’s about our community, says Sanfelippo.
Greg Larson is a fifth-grade teacher at Fall Creek Schools. Larson says it’s important to personalize learning experiences to fit the learning styles and interests of the students.
“They own the story. They own the activity that they’re working on which is way more meaningful to them because they are the ones that are telling the story of our classroom,” says Larson.
Rather than traditional lectures and classroom videos, students get the opportunity to Skype or video chat with others from across the world.
“We use Skype and we do mystery Skypes so it’s cool to be able to talk to people around the world,” says Fall Creek 5th Grader Jack Thomson.
“It’s cool to hear about what they have to say about their school and state, and how different it is from ours and how it’s the same as ours,” says Fall Creek 5th Grader Hannah Herren.
Fall Creek 5th Grade teacher Kristin Sandgren also finds social media crucial for the classroom.
“It’s a great motivating tool. Besides just creating something for their teachers and peers, it gives them a way to show what they know,” says Sandgren.
Chippewa Falls School District also feels strongly about social media being applied to the classroom. Michelle Golden is the Director for Human Resources and Public Relations at Chippewa Falls School District.
“Students are very well versed with technology, and anyway, we can engage our students in a new way of learning is a benefit to the student,” says Golden.
“In marketing class, we can really show students how to experience it in a safe way,” says Andrew Behnke, business and marketing teacher at Chippewa Falls Schools.
The Chippewa Falls School District is big into applying real-world applications to the classroom.
“When they see grammar problems out and about in the world, they take pictures of them and tweet them out, and then on Wednesday during class we get a good laugh of all the grammar problems in the world,” says Chippewa Falls 7th Grader English teacher Amanda Fay.
Jennifer Handrick is a visual arts teacher at Chippewa Falls Schools. She likes connecting and interacting in new and exciting ways.
“I like to use it to connect with students, but I also like to use it to connect with parents and use it as an advocacy tool. I also like to use it in the summer to keep my students thinking about art,” says Handrick.
Students are enmeshed in social media; that’s why experts continue to point to its benefits for learning.
“Students, schools, and parents need to really embrace the technology. Instead of being scared of it, latch on to it and use it for the good. Use it to share the positives stories. All of these good things our students and teachers are doing every day really deserve to be broadcast to the world,” says Andrea North.