The Knewton Blog

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7 Social Media Tools to Use in the Classroom

Posted in Teacher Tools on March 17, 2011 by

Looking for a way to incorporate social media into your classroom without unleashing your students into the free-for-all that is Facebook and Twitter? Check out these 7 social media tools created specifically with students in mind.

1. Edmodo



As a Twitter in “training wheels,” Edmodo allows teachers to connect with students in a safe, self-contained environment. Here are a few possible uses:

  • Have students collect and report snippets of data about a scientific phenomena (weather, rainfall, wax and waning of the moon, growth of plants, etc) they witness in their environment.
  • For social studies, have students send snippet-reports about current events and share links to relevant blogs and websites.
  • Create “reading” groups where students can tweet their questions and reactions to classics like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher in the Rye.

2. SchoolTube



This is basically YouTube with bumpers. Here are a few reasons to get in on this community:

  • All videos on SchoolTube have been approved by a moderator or SchoolTube staff to ensure appropriateness. Videos are sorted by both category and channel for easy browsing.
  • Everyone can share their videos on SchoolTube. Students can view the creations of students from across the nation.
  • Students and teachers can create their own free channels for classrooms, clubs, sports teams, or after-school programs.
  • SchoolTube hosts a number of educational contests with prizes that include electronics, t-shirts, and cash!
  • Staff-picked ”videos-of-the-day” help teachers discover and share noteworthy channels.

3. Glogster



Forget construction paper and glitter – lets students feel like professional designers as they create “interactive online posters.” Whether they’re reporting on the rainforest, the Civil War, or the Boston Tea Party, students can use Glogster to showcase their knowledge and express their views. Current features include sound and image/video upload. Tagging, file-sharing, and a new webcam recording feature are coming soon!

Here’s an idea:

  • Create a “Grand Exhibition” using Edmodo and Glogster. Tweet out the links to 10 student glogs and let students admire each other’s creations and comment.

4. Prezi




With its zooming, rotating, and swiveling features and thrilling variety of fonts and textures, presentations on Prezi are guaranteed to rivet audiences. As one reviewer describes it, “think of Prezi as a 3D infinite canvas.” Just “write,” “zoom,” and “arrange” your way to wow-dom.

Some dazzling examples:

5. Diigo



What if you could highlight, underline and write in the margins of websites – just like you do in print books? Well, you can with Diigo, the new social “bookmarking” tool which allows you to annotate the web, superimpose your notes on web pages, and share your scribblings with others!
“Educator” accounts include the following special features:

  • You can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and your students don’t even need email addresses!).
  • You can create “groups” – with group bookmarks, annotations, and forums.
  • Diigo offers privacy settings, so that teachers and classmates can communicate only with each other in a self-contained environment.
  • Special accounts make it possible to limit student exposure to ads.

6. Quizlet


Here’s a tool that will allow you to make flashcards quickly and share them with everyone in your learning community. Great for biology, foreign languages, and vocabulary!

Check out a sample creation here.

7. Wordle


Want your students to experiment with language and see words in a whole new light? Try Wordle–one of many online word-cloud generators. Students can paste in a URL or a block of text; the word-cloud gives greater prominence to the more frequently occurring words. Students can change the font, layout, and color scheme of their clouds, and share it with their friends.

Here’s a word-cloud made from the text of this blog post:




Ready to make your own? Check out a short video on 50 ways to use Wordle. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create word clouds of synonyms and antonyms
  • Explore rhetorical devices such as alliteration, rhyme, and onomatopoeia
  • Create a Wordle “author quiz” by making a series of clouds which represent the diction used by different authors. Have students guess which clouds correspond with which authors.
  • Have students “brand” themselves by creating clouds of their favorite words or the words which best describe themselves.
  • Have students keep a “cloud-a-day” weekly word diaries (students create clouds with new vocabulary words or words that strike them which they hope to incorporate into their own vocabularies).
  • Have students make up neologisms and nonsense words and display them in clouds to share with each other.