The Power of Social Media

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While social media has become one of the most popular ways for us to engage and interact with one another (96% of online teens* report using social networking tools), its integration into the classroom is still in its infancy (only 59% of schools* use social media for educational purposes). While many teachers are eager to plug into student communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, others are nervous about how to manage the potentially inaccurate, inappropriate or harmful content students could come across, not to mention student data privacy. 

On one of the Channel One News team’s recent trips around the education conference circuit, we noticed that when it comes to social media, the majority of sessions are devoted to grown-ups advising other grown-ups on how to engage students on social channels. And while interesting insights came out of each panel, we all agreed: wouldn’t it make sense to hear from the students themselves?

As a news program for students in grades 3 – 12, we’re interacting with kids via social media on a daily basis. We consider ourselves to be a social media savvy team, but we know we need to listen hard in order to better engage and inspire our community of students. By asking students what content they love, how they prefer to engage, and what platforms they use to share and collaborate, we’ve learned a lot, and have been surprised by how much of their insight goes against our assumptions and expectations.

So, we thought we’d invite these student voices to share their thoughts at next year’s SxSWedu.  “Social Media #RealTalk: Student Edition” will feature Adora Svitak, 16-year-old literacy advocate and UC Berkeley freshman; Erik Martin, youth leader and student engagement and gaming intern at the US Department of Education; and social media expert Sammy Lyon, as they discuss their social media experiences, the potential for integration with teaching and learning, as well as the hot topic of data privacy.  Log on to SXSW Panel Picker to learn more and to vote for Social Media #RealTalk: Student Edition for SXSWedu 2015.

* The Use of Social Media in School. Compiled by Best Masters in Education. July 2013.


Alex Honeysett is the Director of Communications at Channel One News, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt company.

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