This school year I have thrown myself down the rabbit hole of reinventing the subject. One big area of development is through using social media, especially FB and Twitter as part of students’ learning. The spin off bonus from using a public forum = lots of promotion!
Students’ lives are in-severable from the internet, their mobile phones are an extension of their arm and often now an extension of their personalities. It is the way they see the world. Rather than approaching this reality through the tainted view of an older person, who is stuck in their ways of ‘put your phone away’, ‘have a proper conversation’ or ‘social media is ruining teenagers’ – why not adapt to the undeniable changes of the millennia generation? With this in mind, what better way of promoting learning and satisfying students’ need to use their phones, than combining the two things… discussions with FB/Twitter.
Things you need:
- A FB page and Twitter page that students can join.
- School/ College permission to use social media in lessons.
- A way for students to access FB/ Twitter during lessons.
Setting up a discussion:
- Post a question that is relevant to the topic area being discussed in class. I often post between 2-4 questions over FB and Twitter, to give students a selection to engage with.
- Set ground rules- this is very important:
- No memes
- Full sentences – no one or two word replies
- Use scholars and evidence to back up your points
- Students do not have to join if they do not feel comfortable
- This is a public forum therefore other people can read and join in with the discussion – do not use swear words, offensive language or display anything that may be misinterpreted.
Note: as the creator of the FB/Twitter accounts you have the power to delete/ block any students who are incapable of following these rules.
3. Sit back and enjoy the discussion (and silence).
Example from Facebook:
Example from Twitter:
I highly recommend you give it a go. Not only does it develop students’ essay writing skills – they are formulating arguments in a way that doesn’t seem like work, they are learning different views from each other and there is a paper trail they can refer back to at a later point. It is also a fantastic way for other students in the wider community to experience what Philosophy is like, in a way that makes sense to them.
Let me know how it goes if you try it 🙂
Please feel free to join in any of our discussions posted on (or advertise to your students):
Just in case you are interested in other ways of using mobile phones to promote students’ learning, here is an earlier blog I wrote “Put your mobile phone away!”: Are you Kidding?
If you would like more ideas of ways to promote Religious Studies see: Fourth Subject Choice – Will this be the end of R.S?