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Local schools using social media to reach their students

Updated: Tuesday, August 27 2013, 07:24 AM CDT
Reported by: Brandie Meng
Posted by: Sara Small (

Remember the saying, "If you can't beat them -- join them?"

That might be the case when it comes to the next generation and social media, and it might not be such a bad thing.

Teachers are finding ways to keep the boundaries needed for classroom teacher interactions, yet finding ways to teach the lesson with this new medium.

Halifax band instructor, Amy Schade, uses a megaphone to get her message out during summer band practice.

However in between practices, she uses Facebook.

"I noticed a lot of my students were not reading their emails in a timely manner, so it made it difficult to get out announcements and important schedule changes," she said.

The Halifax band Facebook site helps Schade to connect with the high school students in this age of social media and the 'band only' forum helps to define the boundaries needed between a teacher and student.

She is clear, "They are not my Facebook friends, not on my personal profile." 

Schade lets the students know she is there for them.

"I do care about your lives and I do want you to reach me, but still, we need a professional barrier. You are not my friend but we can communicate through this."

The more teachers realize that Facebook and Twitter are a part of their students daily lives, the more it becomes challenging to keep the attention of the next generation.

Sixth grade Halifax science teacher Heather Fratz says, "There is so much out there as teachers making sure we are on board and knowing what the latest thing is and hooking the kids."

She also says using what the students already know is important in bringing her classroom lessons to life.

For example, many students struggle with summarizing large amounts of information, but taking a page from social media, she's found a way to make it easier.

"So what I said is, 'What if we tweet it?' 140 or less characters to summarize what you just read."

Now the student's don't actually go on Twitter, they just send the message through the classroom computer system.

Both teachers agree it's important to connect with students on platforms they already use.

However, they both say it's a priority to keep the boundaries between the student and teacher very clear even in simulations.

Local schools using social media to reach their students

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