Heather Cowen

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My Mini - Course: Social Media in a Social Studies Classroom

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About Me

I am a 7th Grade Social Studies teacher at an inner city Charter School. I am in my first semester of the CDIT program at Albany. I graduated from Hartwick College in 2010 with a BA in History and Elementary Education.

I am married to my best friend and we have a beautiful 2 year old daughter who is the light of my life.

My Topic/Purpose

Social Studies should be just that - social! So why not tap into what your students are using on a daily basis - Social Media!

In this course you will:

  • learn why social media is an effective tool
  • learn how to safely implement in their classroom
  • learn how use various social media sites and utilize these sites to enhance curriculum and student involvement

Needs Assessment

Instructional Problem

“If you want to bring the “real world” into the classroom, consider integrating social media into your lessons” (Edudemic, 2015). Students today care more about how many followers they have on Instagram, or likes on Facebook, than who was present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence or why Gandhi went on a hunger strike.

Social Studies/History often gets the reputation of being boring, or irrelevant. However that does not have to be true. “Connected classrooms can reach beyond physical barriers to create conversations with people from other classrooms, cultures, and communities” (Crowley, 2015). Through this valuable resource educators can not only make their classrooms more engaging but also preparing students for learning and living in the 21st Century. “Social Media is here. It’s just another resource and doesn’t have to be a distraction from learning objectives” (Davis, 2015).

However, social media in the classroom needs to be carefully monitored and evaluated for potential issues. Parent reactions, privacy concerns, institutional social media policies, and lack of resources can all potentially cause issues for integrating social media into a classroom (Edudemic, 2015)

What is to be learned?

Participants will learn how to implement the use of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc., effectively and congruently with curriculum in a Social Studies/ History classroom. Participants will also learn how to navigate potential problems and how to overcome them.

Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution

Learners will navigate through several units within this mini-course to understand how and why social media is a valuable resource in a Middle or High School classroom. Learners will also examine possible positive and negative reactions to the use of social media within the classroom. Learners will engage in activities that will allow them how to effectively and safely use social media in their own classroom.

Goals of this Mini-Course

One goal of this mini-course is to effectively demonstrate successful uses of social media within the classroom. A second goal is to provide examples and strategies for use of social media and any complications or negative reactions that may ensue. The third goal is to inspire and provide adequate instruction so educators can successfully use this valuable educational tool within their own classroom.

Analysis of Learners and Context

The Learners

The learners will include current and pre-service Social Studies/ History teachers in a 6th – 12th grade setting. Learners will have some familiarly with social media technology and the Internet, however specific social media site prior knowledge is not necessary.

Context for Instruction

Participants will learn concepts through this online mini-course online. Delivery of the content will require a stable Internet connect and a Internet capable device; i.e. computer, smart phone, tablet

Performance Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • summarize why social media is an important tool in a classroom after completing readings and research
  • rewrite their own "netiquitte" and safety regulations of social media sites after reviewing various social media policies, for use in their own classroom
  • evaluate various examples of student work on a social media site to practice determining student understanding and success
  • develop a unique and content specific lesson/unit plan utilizing 1 or more social media sites for use in their own classroom

Task Analysis


1. Participants should have knowledge of and be able to identify various social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat)

2. Participants should feel comfortable working within social media sites and on the internet in general

Unit One: Why Use Social Media?

1. Participants will research why social media is an important tool in the classroom

2. Participants will describe various ways of how social media can be integrated into their classroom

3. Participants will summarize their research and how they feel they can use social media to enhance their classroom

Unit Two: Netiquette and Safety

1. Participants will research their own school policies on the use of social media for educational purposes, highlighting any issues that may hinder them

2. Participants will read the policies of each prominent social media site

3. Participants will create their own personal "netiquette" regulations for the use of social media for educational purposes in their classroom

Unit Three: Social Media in other Classrooms

1. Participants will be shown various real examples of social media use in a classroom

  • Actual social media accounts
  • "Fake" social media template websites
  • "Fake" social media paper templates

2. Participants will view rubrics that accompanied the social media site projects to see examples and non examples of student understanding and comprehension of material

3. Participants will being to think about how they will use social media and create a rubric for future social media projects

Unit Four: Social Media in Your Classroom

1. Participants will create an unique lesson plan, applicable to their area of Social Studies, utilizing one or more real or fake social media sites

2. Participants will present their lesson plan and grading rubric to the "class" to share ideas and thoughts before implementing in their own classroom

References and Resources

Crowley, B. (2015, September 9). Connecting a Classroom: Reflections on Using Social Media With My Students. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2015/09/09/connecting-a-classroom-reflections-on-using-social.html

Davis, V. (2015, February 19). A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/guidebook-social-media-in-classroom-vicki-davis

Edudemic Staff. (2015, January 12). How to Use Social Media as a Learning Tool. Edudemic: Connecting Education and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/how-to-use-social-media-as-a-learning-tool-in-the-classroom/