Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending Region 11’s Annual Social Media Conference, which is designed to provide professional development for K-12 educators, higher-education faculty, and community business leaders. Here’s a summary of the sessions I attended, along with what I learned in each of them:

Session 1: The Influence of Social Media on Student Engagement

In The Influence of Social Media on Student Engagement, Dr. Rhonda Lewis discussed how she uses Twitter and Pinterest to hook developmental writers quickly. Budding authors enjoy the sushi-sized text chunks they compose on Twitter, which offers a 280-character limit on posts. The platform is perfect for hooking those who are intimidated by the writing process – as users don’t feel obligated or compelled to produce large blocks of text. In addition, Dr. Lewis indicated that Pinterest is a favorite among visual learners, who use the tool to aggregate infographics and other visual media for online tutorials and anchor charts that illustrate a wide-range of grammar, writing, and language-arts topics.

Session 2: Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

Hosted by Jacqueline Rose and Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang, Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool highlighted an important fact: Sometimes, students don’t want to use social media as a learning tool. Typically, kids view the medium as a social playground – rather than as an instrument for learning. In reality, social media are both, and children must be taught how to craft posts, discuss topics, and synthesize tools for personal and professional purposes simultaneously.

Session 3: Keeping Students Safe in the World of Technology

Led by teenage sisters Elisha and Elyssa (@WhollyArt), Keeping Students Safe in the World of Technology gave educators a look at social-media use from the teen perspective. The students discussed how teens want to be involved in decisions about their social media use. The girls invited parents and teachers to devise social media rules and policies in tandem with teens – an effort that should be viewed on both sides as a tool for teaching older students how to safely navigate the web.

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Matthew Kitchens

Learning Technologies Coach at Burleson ISD
Matthew Kitchens
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What I Learned: A Look Back at Region 11’s 2018 Social Media Conference
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