Throughout my years in elementary school, I along with my classmates, were always thrilled at the thought of using technology to complete assignments or engage with one another. I’ve always kept this in mind when I form lessons for elementary students. By using technology we are catching the attention of our students and engaging with them on a level that interests them. I have witnessed this first hand in my internship.
One piece of social media that I have found to be very interesting to use in an elementary setting is Edmodo (https://www.edmodo.com/) My cooperating teacher uses this site to allow students to connect with one another. During the second week of school, students set up Edmodo accounts which they were ecstatic about. This site allows students to create or upload their own profile picture (similar to Facebook) and they are able to communicate with each other on the site. I know many parents would automatically think about the safety of their children on this website, but the teacher is capable of allowing only students from her class to engage with one another. I have had the opportunity of watching these students associate with one another on Edmodo. I’m actually set up on their Edmodo account therefore I can see everything that is posted as well as my cooperating teacher. This social media site is extremely beneficial to students. They are able to connect with one another on a level that is interesting to them. I log on to Edmodo consistently to see the conversations my students are having. I think this is a great social media site because students are capable of socializing with their classmates during the evenings and on the weekends which pushes for a better sense of community in the classroom. By logging on this weekend and looking at the conversations of my students, I have noticed many conversations among students. This social media site is effective in the way that it also ties in educational factors as well. Teachers can post polls and quizzes on the site and students are responsible for completing them. This allows teachers to store information on one website and allows them to cut back on paper materials. Overall I have noticed this social website is extremely effective in the classroom and allows students to engage with one another on a website that interest them.
Another piece of media I have found to be extremely helpful is NearPod ( http://www.nearpod.com/). I found out about this website through the SIOP course at Lenoir-Rhyne. I found this website to be very effective in the way that it pushes for interactive lessons between teachers and students. Dr. Linton uses this site often in her lessons and it engages myself along with my classmates tremendously. This website allows teachers to produce lessons that engage students on their academic level. Teachers are able to set up their lessons that are similar to that of a PowerPoint, but it allows students to give feedback and type responses to questions during the presentation. After students reply with their answers, they submit them and the teacher is able to see all of their responses. If the teacher chooses, she can put the responses on the screen at the front of the classroom which allows students to see all of the responses to the question. I find this very effective because students are able to connect with their classmates on an educational level. I love how this site is teacher directed therefore the teacher can move the slides herself so students are able to stay on track with their iPads. This site is meaningful in the way that it engages students and creates interactive lessons which students find interesting.
One other source that I find helpful is Go Noodle. (https://www.gonoodle.com/) Although this site isn’t necessarily set up for social purposes, I have found it to be very helpful for students. When teachers develop lesson plans for students, it’s common for students to not get a break from the lesson or receive social time with friends. This website allows teachers to give students a quick break from a lesson by getting them out of their seats and moving around the classroom. The website has songs and dances which allows students to release some of their energy. Students LOVE socializing with their friends during the dances which allows them to get a break from the teacher directed lesson. I feel that this website pushes for success in the classroom because it allows students to get a break from every day lessons. By taking a break, students are more likely to focus during the lesson if they know they will receive a break mid-way through the instruction. Also, students get rated on their dance technique by Go Noodle. This pushes students to try their best to receive a good score. I love this website and I plan to use it in my future classroom.
Lastly, I have found the website- smore ( https://www.smore.com/) to be very helpful in parent involvement. This website is designed for the set-up of flyers to relay information. My cooperating teacher uses this site for her weekly newsletters. My cooperating teacher sends a newsletter out weekly to students’ parents. She can put any information about assignments, upcoming projects, field trips, etc. on the flyer so parents are informed about upcoming events. I have found this to be very important when socializing with parents because it establishes a positive connection which will benefit my future classroom. Parent involvement is extremely important in elementary schools. Many school improvement plans push for more parent involvement and this site is one way to establish that social connection with parents.
These sites have proven there are many ways to establish social connections between students and parents. By using these social media tools, teachers are more likely to set their students up for success. Although there are countless websites that can be used in a classroom environment, I have found these four to be extremely helpful in developing a sense of community in the classroom.