7 Fantastic Free Social Media Tools for Teachers
EDU 2.0 is a lot like online course management systems Blackboard and Moodle, but with a couple of distinct advantages. First, teachers can share their lesson plans, quizzes, videos, experiments and other resources in a shared library that currently hosts more than 15,000 pieces of content. Second, a community section allows teachers and students to network and collaborate with other members who share the same educational interests. And third, everything is hosted in the cloud for free.
The popular visual organizing and sharing tool Symbaloo launched its “EDU” version last month. According to the company, 50,000 teachers are already using Symbaloo to organize classroom resources. The new EDU version comes with academic subject-specific resource pages or “webmixes” and top tools like TeacherTube, Slideshare, Google Docs, Flickr and more are fully embeddable. Teachers with a “Free Plus” account can add their school logo and customize the links. The site also allows students to easily share their Symbaloo pages and projects with classmates.
This app gives teachers four discussion format choices. Students can either agree or disagree with a statement, answer a multiple choice question, post responses, or have the choice between adding a new response or voting for someone else’s response. Teachers can add photos or videos to their prompts and all of the discussions take place on one class page.
This WordPress-like blogging platform only supports educational content and thus, unlike WordPress, usually isn’t blocked by school filters. Since 2005, it has hosted more than a million blogs from students and teachers.
Kidblog is a bit more specific than Edublogs. There are fewer options to adjust the appearance of the main page, and it’s hard to use the platform for anything other than as a system for managing individual class blogs. The homepage serves as a catalog of student blogs on the right with a recent post feed on the left.
Teachers can also control how private they want the blogs to be. They can keep them student-and-teacher only, allow parents to log in with a password, or make them open to the public.
Edmodo looks and functions much like Facebook
. But unlike Facebook, it’s a controlled environment that teachers can effectively leverage to encourage class engagement. The platform allows teachers and students to share ideas, files and assignments on a communal wall. Teachers can organize different groups of students and monitor them from the same dashboard. Once they’ve organized classes, they can post assignments to the wall and grade them online. They can then archive the class groups and begin new ones.
7. TeacherTube and SchoolTube and YouTube
As the name implies, TeacherTube is YouTube for teachers. It’s a great resource for lesson ideas but videos can also be used during class to supplement a lecture. For instance, you can let Mrs. Burk rap about perimeters if you like her idea but lack the rhyming skills to pull it off yourself. This site also has a crowdsourced stock of documents, audio and photos that can be added to your lesson plans. Unfortunately, every video is preceded by an ad.
SchoolTube is another YouTube alternative. Unlike other video sharing sites, it is not generally blocked by school filters because all of its content is moderated.
The original, generic YouTube also has a bevy of teacher resources, though it’s often blocked in schools. Khan Academy consistently puts out high-quality lessons for every subject, but a general search on any topic usually yields a handful of lesson approaches. Some of the better ones are indexed onWatchKnow.