Social Networks for Teachers and Students: 5 Ways to Use Them

This post is from our series on Virtual students and how school has become more and more online.  See our other posts from the Virtual Student series here.


Social networking and life are becoming interchangeable.  Teachers can use a number of online tools to connect with students.  I mentioned a bunch of these in this post:

Online Tools for Teachers

One I mentioned was social networks.  I wanted to go into more detail about how to use social networks in the classroom here.  This can be using Facebook, Ning or your school’s social network.

1) Have an Online Debate

Homework, reading and reports can be interactive and online.  Instead (or in addition) to having classroom debates, have the students participate in mini-online debates in groups on your social network.

2) Go Paperless

Make a group for each homework assignment or report and have kids upload attachments online instead of a paper drop box.

3) Classsource Answers

I made the word Classsource up, how many words do you know with three s’s in a row? It is a play on crowdsource, where you take the collective wisdom of a crowd to find an answer.  Social networks are perfect places to have forums for questions.  Teachers often complain to me that they get the same question over and over again. Having a homework question forum where kids can see other student’s answers and help answer the questions for each other, saves the teacher time and helps students learn by teaching.

4) Build Rapport

Social networking is about building relationships as well as learning.  Teachers and students can build rapport online (appropriately) and students can interact with each other outside of class, but still revolving around academics and learning.

5) Learning and Fun Intertwined

You know that cool video on cell theory that perfectly demonstrates what you are talking about in this Unit, but you did not have time to show the YouTube video in class? Social networks are  the perfect place to post items that are related to class, but are a bit more silly, off-topic or just plain interesting.  This also allows students to post interesting new stories about what you are talking about in class so kids are always applying what they learn in school to real life.

If you need a quick tutorial on social networks, I highly recommend going to and looking at some of their videos.  Many social networks have groups, forums, blogs and wall posts that can all be kept private.  A note to teachers who are awesome enough to tackle the classroom using online tools, make sure everything is private, make sure you are sticking to school rules and that kids are not posting any personal information or images.

Check out our Study Skills Bootcamp:


Are you looking for something to do this summer for yourself or your child that will hep you prepare for the school year? Do you need help with organization, test taking skills, speed reading or ending procrastination? The study skills webinar is for you.  We have 8 videos to guide you or your student through our study skills bootcamp and help them get ready for school or get ahead mid-year.

  • 35 Topics Covered on Study Skills, Organization and ‘Aceing’ Your Way through School (Topics here)
  • Eight 30-minute Videos: Re-watchable interactive videos with demos, images, activities and discussion.
  • 60 Page eHandout: Full course outline, activities, challenges, self-quizzes and tips not included in the video. See Table of Contents here

More details here.

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