On August 12, I was connected to Julie Nilsson Smith, a professor at Webster University and Southern Illinois University near St. Louis, MO. through my Innovations teacher Don Wettrick and the social media site Twitter. How appropriate.
Through a conversation with Smith, she explained how she uses social media sites in and out of the classroom to connect with her students.
“I set up Facebook pages for each of my classes and have the students ‘like’ them. I also have a Twitter hashtag for each class and we have discussions during class via Twitter-which is usually a hoot. We live-tweet certain TV Shows (like ‘Catfish’ on MTV) using the class hashtag.”
Smith also said she uses Remind101, which the website describes as “a safe, free way for teachers to text message students and keep in touch with parents” to text her students if needed.
Curious as to why a teacher would go out of her way to create so many opportunities for discussion on a social media site for her students, I asked Smith why she uses these methods of classroom participation.
“I want students to see I am willing to try new ways to communicate with them and ‘meet them where they are.’ I also like how social media makes it possible to continue class discussions outside of class. It helps build relationships.”