Social Networking and Gaming in K-12 Schools
Social networking and gaming are a big part of the lives of K-12 children
outside of school.
Social media is becoming an essential tool for professional growth, curriculum
planning, and student engagement.
Bridging the digital divide between home and school literacies is critical
for our students to be prepared for our global changing world.
What are the academic benefits of gaming?
-Gaming increases student's memory capacity: Students have to remember aspects
in order to solve the game, memorize critical sequences, and track narrative
video games offer players the chance to take turns leading and following,
something that can benefit students with their extra-curricular activities.
These multi-player approaches allow students to participate in leading a team -
a valuable skill to learn for the future - and negotiating rules (Hobbs, 2015) .
-Computer and Simulation Fluency: Playing online games allow students to become
familiar with a computer and how it works. There are many websites, such as ABC
Mouse or Cartoon Network, which provide young children with fun and educational
games that teach children how to use a mouse, keyboard, browse, enter in
passwords and usernames, as well as, navigating the internet.
-Helps with Strategic Thinking and Problem Solving: Students have to think fast
when they are playing an online game. They have to use logic in order to think
ahead in order to solve a problem or move up a level. This will help our
students think on their feet and think outside of the box.
There is evidence that social skills players learn within social online video
game environments translate to their real-world interactions (Granic et al. 73).
-Develops Hand-Eye Coordination- When a student uses an iPad, keyboard, and
mouse to play a game, they develop hand-eye coordination. Students have to look
at what is taking place on the screen while using their hands to control what is
happening at the same time.
-Beneficial for students with attention disorders: Research has proven that
online games can actually help children who have attention disorders.
-Skill- Building and Map Reading: When a student is playing a mystery or
adventure game they are most likely reading and following a map. This helps
develop map skills and practical thinking. There are also games for older
students that introduce managing finances and general project management.
-Teachers can differentiate instruction:
Students come into the classroom
at many different levels and with different styles of learning. Online games
make it easier for teachers to differentiate their instruction to assist
students’ needs. Some online games will appeal more to visual and kinesthetic
learners who need to see and touch or move objects to embrace a concept.
are exposed to problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration,
negotiation, delegation and even empathy.
-Playing cooperative games can help teach autistic children how to interact with
other children as part of a group, as autistic children tend to have difficulty
communicating and interacting as part of a group.
Autistic individuals tend to have well-developed visual perceptual skills and
generally respond very well to visual stimuli. Certain types of video games that
encourage social behaviors may help autistic players to learn how to interact
with others one-on-one or as a group and how to pick up on social cues during
social interactions (Zimmerman, 2012).
-Increases Student Motivation-
Researchers observed 1,274 first and second graders in Chile over three months,
during which the students played various educational games. By the end of the
study, teachers reported increased student motivation and improved technology
skills (Clark, 2018).
What are the academic benefits of social
Improve in knowledge retention and understanding
-Find concrete information online:
The Internet is a great place to find views, opinions, tips, study materials,
Depending on their interests, students can find answers to their questions.
Sites, such as Tumblr and Pinterest, can offer children inspirations for school
projects or practical problem-solving (Willbold, 2019).
-Social networking increases class participation and motivates students:
Students feel more comfortable engaging with others on social media platforms.
-Builds community among learners-
Students become friends with their classmates on social media and are more
likely to collaborate on projects.
-Students become effective members in online communities:
Using social networking sites such as Google Hangouts can be used to setup class
sessions where everyone can collaborate through video in real time.
can also be saved for future reference, in case one of the students has a
conflict and cannot make the class
-Communicate and collaborate with others
Students can ask questions,
receive feedback, and share what they know using social networking.
The biggest advantage of social media is better communication. A student can
connect with anyone at any point in time via Kids Messenger or WhatsApp
-Improve student writing: Peers and online communities can offer feedback and
-Improve literacy and reading skills
: Students have to read the information
evaluate, maintain and share
-Parent Involvement- Social
media help the parents stay involved in the child’s learning. Via the school’s
Twitter or Facebook feed parents can be updated on school-related activities,
projects, and events that are happening (Willbold, 2019).
-Learners go beyond text:
Social media can provide a richer experience for resources. Videos, resource
websites, and tutorials can be shared very easily with the entire classroom at
the click of the button.
-Students can take classroom knowledge public:
Teachers can ask questions on social media such as Twitter and students can
answer those questions, by including a specific hashtag. This not only allows
the teacher to find the student answers, but also allows other students to see
what others are answering and create a dialog.
-Student attitudes improve towards the course content- Utilizing social
networking in assignments makes work more enjoyable.
-Digital citizenship grows:
Students learn new digital literacy skills to complete assignments.
-Global competency: Students grow in the skills they will need to be out in the
K-12 LITERACY LINKS
Social Networking and Gaming Ideas
Encourage students to find visual representations that fulfill clues. For
Instagram to challenge children to snap images of geometric shapes,
angles, or combinations while using hashtags to make it easier to share photos.
A scavenger hunt is a fun and rewarding way to extend lessons into the real
Field Trip Fun
Take a field trip or connect with another classroom across the world.
We are no longer limited to just lessons from textbooks because social media
allows us to visit and interact with people from around the world. Classrooms
anyplace. The Internet and
Skype are great resources for connecting with others and other places.
Role Playing History
Create social media profiles and posts representing or role playing as people
from history.This is a great way to make history come alive for students!
Give your students the opportunity to connect personally with historical people,
historical periods, and important events. Have your students think about what
George Washington or Albert Einstein might have shared on
What would soldiers be tweeting about or
sharing on Facebook during the Vietnam
Many students enjoy
using Dubsmash to help students develop
meaningful content that allows them to process knowledge through a visual medium
Have students film or direct short videos using social media apps to address new
concepts or historical events.
Create and Pin
Pinterest allows students to organize
data, resources, and facts all on one “board”. This can be a valuable tool and
resource for research, writing, science concepts, and more!
Kahoot! is a fun game based platform isn’t
necessarily a traditional social media app, but it does allow students and
educators the opportunity to engage, interact, and receive feedback similarly to
social media. Students use laptops, tablets, or even cell phones to create user
id’s, log onto tests, and compete with others in the classroom. Teachers can use
tests already created or develop their own, which allows for an entertaining way
to review and check for understanding.
Connect with Cyber Pen Pals.
Connect with another teacher within the
district or a teacher you know out of the district and have your classes connect
with each other via live Skype sessions, pre-recorded
Lights, Camera, Action
Students can create their own
tutorials or creative skits on a certain topic or problem on
YouTube. You can keep the video private
and only show it via a URL link, but this is great to send to parents to show
them what their kids are up to during school hours.
Create a Collaborative Blog
Each week have a different child
write a blog post. Students can choose one topic they would like to blog about
or respond to a prompt. Students can create a chain blog, having each post
responding to the previous submission. These could be serious or silly – the
possibilities are endless.
Wordpress is a great program that allows you to blog.
Have your students follow your classroom on
Twitter. Students can complete a secret
assignment you have tweeted about for extra credit. This is more appropriate
with high school students who may already have an account and suitable
with various social platforms.
Stay away from using your own personal
account for these assignments.
Create and Share
are many great apps that you can utilize to help your students create online
digital portfolios. Seesaw is a favorite of
a wonderful platform to meaningfully engage students in their learning and
unlock creative thinking for all students in any subject. Students explore a
variety of powerful tools (like drawing, voice recording, taking videos, and
more!) to show what they know in the way that works best for them. Teachers gain
insights to meet their students where they are.
It is CRUTIAL for educators to teach and train today’s generation to be
responsible and ethical life-long learners of the digital age. Teachers must
demonstrate, guide, and help students practice appropriate and professional
behavior while using blogs, wiki spaces, learning management systems, online
research, and much more. Here are some tips that can prepare students to be TECH
SMART when using technology.
Take Care of Technology Equipment:
Students must learn how to take care of technology equipment. Students must
learn to protect the technology resources (Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer, 2010).
Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are even more prevalent today because of the
increased use of technology. Students should be aware of what to do if they
encounter suspicious messages, links, pop-up windows, etc. to prevent computers
from being infected. Students need to know to let a teacher know if something is
suspicious so the teacher can take care of the matter.
Appropriate and Safe Sites:
The Internet should be
used appropriately at all times. Students should use known and trusted digital
resources (Cennamo et al., 2010). Teachers should be aware of the sites they
provide their students to use in class. Students must be mature and responsible
to evaluate sites to make ethical decisions while surfing the Net. Students must
be able to recognize if information on a site is valid and credible. Teaching
students to critically evaluate Web sites will prepare them for their future
education and profession (Pinkham, Wintle, and Silvernail, 2008).
Copyright Law, Fair Use Act, and Creative Commons
Technology makes it easier to create, access, duplicate, and share information.
It is therefore essential for teachers and students to understand the use of
copyrighted material (Cennamo et al., 2010). Copyright laws protect an author’s
original work. The Fair Use Act permits the use of copyright material for
educational and noncommercial purposes. To stay within safe parameters of the
Fair Use Act, practice the “10% rule” when using others' work (as cited in
Cennamo et al., 2010).
Help Prevent Cyberbullying:
Discuss cyberbullying with your students. Have an open dialogue with your
students on the importance of addressing cyberbullying and reporting it.
Cyberbullying can be damaging. Learners can experience anxiety, stress, fear,
withdrawal from others or even take their own lives from being cyber bullied.
Guidelines in preventing and handling cyberbullying include: Discuss how
cyberbullying is unacceptable. Discuss scenarios of cyberbullying. Help students
understand the importance of handling and addressing this growing problem.
Should any inappropriate interactions online take place, students should report
these to parents, teachers, or any trusted adult. Students need to be aware of
the consequence for bullying others online. Outlining cyberbullying guidelines
can help students address and prevent threatening and inappropriate online
Self-image Is Important:
Choose to promote a positive and professional image of self-online. Students
must think before they post something online and make it available for the world
to see. Employers check for information about prospective candidates online
(Oxley, 2010). Students must be aware that once they post an image or comment
online, it’s there forever. Teachers can help students promote a positive
self-image online by asking them to reflect about these questions:
Would you want your parents to see or read what’s online about you?
Will this affect your future career?
Would this hurt anyone’s feelings?
How do you want to be seen by others?
Make Use of Netiquette:
Students should be
courteous and respectful when communicating with others online. Teachers should
allow learners to practice online etiquette, by providing them opportunities to
communicate online via email, blogs, social networks, etc. This will allow for
opportunities to model netiquette. Students should be aware of their audience,
respect other’s privacy, be kind and respectful, and refrain from using
Remember to Be Effective, Thoughtful, and
Ethical Digital Creators:
Educators must teach
students to be effective, thoughtful, and
ethical digital creators (DeVoss, Eidman-Aadahl,
and Hicks, 2010). Students should be given
opportunities to use digital tools to gain the
necessary skills for the 21st century in order
to help them be responsible users of technology.
Teachers must set expectations and guidelines to
make sure students use technology responsibly.
Teachers can have students blog about what they
are learning in class or create a video
explaining a science experiment or math
equation. These opportunities help students
become responsible digital creators.
There is always a purpose for technology. Teachers need to think about how and
why they are using or having their students use the technology of choice. Think
of ways to be creative and innovative. Students learn so much by utilizing
technology platforms. We are preparing today’s learners to be successful
citizens of the 21st century.
Parents, teachers, and administrators must work together to teach our
students the value of being TECH SMART when using technology in our global
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