In an integrated classroom, children who have special needs, such as mental or physical disabilities, have the right to be educated in classrooms with their peers who have no disabilities (Schreiner, 2019). The role of the educator in situations as this, is to monitor and track the progress of these students and communicate their findings to their special education teacher; this is done in order for them to receive the proper extra help (Schreiner, 2019).
As means to accomplish this, social media or social learning, could be leveraged to best meet the needs of all students in the classroom (UC, n.d.).
According to Gupta (2015), because social media is a huge part of a student’s daily routine, it only makes sense to capitalize on its positives, as opposed to shunning them from the learning process altogether. Therefore, because social media can be used to communicate, share information, and collaborate with others, Gupta (2015) suggests that teachers use it to connect with their students and enhance the learning process.
An example of an effective strategy for creating a social learning environment within a classroom is as followed:
A teacher can use Facebook Live to place archived tutorials for students to follow at home for additional help; using the comment section as a place to ask and answer questions.
In a classroom, social learning can effect student interactions as they communicate, share, and collaborate through linked connections via: (Cvetanovic, Ljubojevic, Medan, and Raspopovic, 2017)
- Student to Student
- Student to Teacher
- Student to Content
- Teacher to Teacher
- Teacher to Content
- Content to Content
TalentLMS is a learning management system, that is cloud based and user friendly, and can be used to train educators on using social learning in the classroom. My favorite feature on this program are called blended learning.
- Blended learning gives the trainer the freedom to mix instructor-led training with eLearning, while assisting with the organization of events that take place in the real (TalentLMS, 2018). Such events can be placed in a video conference or the classroom.
Social learning can affect the role of the teacher (trainer) in the classroom by allowing him/her to be more of a facilitator by giving students problem/project based instruction where students are responsible for their own learning. Basically helping students learn how to accomplish things through critical thinking, as opposed to simply telling them how things should be done (Cvetanovic, Ljubojevic, Medan, and Raspopovic, 2017).
According to Wankel (2010), teacher (employee) accountability and online reputations could be addressed by establishing an all-inclusive, clearly defined social media policy.
Other than what will be written in a social media policy manual, additional ground rules that should be in place before launching a social learning platform include:
- General rules that address copyright laws and intellectual property, in order to avoid them from sharing information that belongs to the company or others, without prior consent (Wankel, 2010).
- Conduct professional development workshops that covers netiquette, or online professionalism. Basically, the seminar would teach teachers (employees) the correct ways to socialize with others by working on their “professional tone, accuracy, respect…and privacy.” (Wankel, 2010, p. 275)
Interpersonal relationships and productivity can be improved within an organization by effectively integrating training and professional development. Once teachers (employees) are taught the correct way to communicate, share, and collaborate via social media, they are able to successfully interact with outside stakeholders and properly represent their school/organization when required (van den Berg & Verhoeven, 2017, p. 150).
Some benefits of creating a social learning environment within a classroom include an increase in student interactions as they communicate with others, their share ideas, problem solve, and collaborate on various projects
(Cvetanovic, Ljubojevic, Medan, and Raspopovic, 2017) and (Gupta, 2015).
Some challenges to consider when launching new social media tools within an organization would be legal ramifications and the fact that social media policies and procedures, will most likely change much faster than your company’s policies and produces concerning social media and its usage will (Jones, 2012).
My strategy for creating a social learning environment as part of the overall training and development offerings can improve knowledge and relationships within the classroom (organization) by (Hall, 2013):
- Developing writing and communication skills in problem solving and logic.
- Creating and displaying presentation and projects.
A featured platform that I would highlight is a blog. A blog is a digital diary or journal, written on a website, that allows a person or group of people, to share and discuss their thoughts concerning a chosen topic (Djuraskovic and FirstSiteGuide Team, 2018).
I would use a blog in my classroom by using it as a discussion board, collaborate on projects, share ideas with people outside the classroom, increase communication skills, and have students create and present projects.
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