Two social media musts for teachers

Aziz Soubai

Aziz Soubai is a Moroccan EFL teacher with more than 11 years of classroom experience. Soubai graduated from Ibn Zohr University with a BA degree in English literature. He conducted many professional workshops mainly related to English Language instruction and teaching with Learning Management Systems. He is the author of the e-book: Grammar Games For Better Language Instruction.  Aziz is also Edmodo Certified Trainer, ambassador and Adobe Campus leader.

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Social media has become extremely important in everyday life – for teachers, educators, and students alike.

It is a source of entertainment, learning, and connecting with people worldwide. In this article, you are going to be a little surprised - or even shocked - when you see my favourite social media platforms and how I use them in my personal and professional life. I’m going to focus on two main platforms. One is full of distractions, ads, and can even lead to serious addiction if it is not properly managed. The other is a little quiet and purely professional.

I joined Facebook a long time ago. Back then, I was lost in the sea of different types of information which are totally unrelated to what I do as a teacher or language learner. I was trying to find a way to get out of this mess. My vision was blurred, and I wasted a lot of time and energy on subjects and topics of zero quality and no benefit whatsoever. 

So, I decided to create another account and add only people related to education and teaching foreign languages - especially English. I also followed ELT pages, as well as joining both closed and open groups. I did all that and my newsfeed became clean and clear - I see only things that I’m interested in.

The next step was to find a way to increase my academic visibility and online presence. In this regard, I can say that Facebook is perfect for that purpose. The steps to do this are very simple. 

First, as a teacher or educator, I try to select and share what I do with my friends. I say “select” because I can’t share everything. I love writing, it is a huge passion for me. So, most of the time I share my thoughts, articles, and poetry with my Facebook audience and followers. I mainly focus on what is related to my classroom practice; for example, I recently published a little e-book on how to use grammar games for better language instruction. And it had received so many comments, reactions, and support from English teachers. The e-book can be accessed here.

The second step to improve or increase your academic visibility is to post what you do in your professional life as a teacher. That means the different conferences you attend or the workshops and presentations you conduct. Documentation is of huge importance in this context. In other words, post something using pictures, information about the event, links, and the takeaways. 

I’m a huge fan of online learning, and I think it is a great idea to let your audience and friends know about your pieces of training or online learning by sharing your achievements and digital certificates or badges. This is not done for intellectual snobbery or to show off: the objective here is to grow as a teacher, and to have a nice online presence. An example of a great professional development is this Facebook page, Everyone Academy, created by teachers during the pandemic.

The second social media platform is truly amazing. It is full of teachers, administrative staff, and parents from around the world, and you can even have your students connect with you by creating classes and groups entirely protected by codes. 

I’m talking about Edmodo. On this platform, you can do practically anything you want. First, you’ll want to create free classes and groups, and invite students to join by sending them codes or through their emails. Additionally, you can differentiate instruction by creating small groups, and this can be done for learners who have language issues or particular language problems. There is also another amazing feature called badges  - these are ideal for motivating students and making them use the system more frequently. There is also the possibility to connect and collaborate with teachers from other schools - either local or international.

There are three types of accounts on Edmodo. One for teachers, educators, and administration people, one for students and learners in general, and the other for parents. There are zero distractions, and you can work at your own pace. You can get enrolled in so many professional development groups, but you don’t receive a lot of unnecessary notifications as with other types of social media. You can ask questions, suggestions, or tips, and be assured that you will receive so many comments and answers from your online colleagues. I believe one of the greatest ways to integrate this technology or Learning Management System in your teaching is to use the SAMR model. 

It is very crucial to carefully select the type of social media you want to use in your own personal and professional life. It is also essential to see what is the added value or impact of this tool on you as a teacher. Does it make you grow? What do you learn from it? Do you have a particular professional learning network? If you reflect on these questions and make them guide you in your choices, you will absolutely spend less time online and use the tools that work for you not against you.

Looking for more innovative Coding platforms? Check out our full list of the Best Coding Platforms over on the education review platform EdTech Impact.

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