When I was a child, communication was so much different compared to communication opportunities young people have access to today. I remember a dial-type stationary phone at home. I used it to call my friend and invite her to go outside to play. It was a success if I could find her at home at that moment… Another available communication tool was mail. I had some penpals living in other towns and every month I used to send them mails to tell how I am doing and exchange stamps with them in order to fill each others’ collections. All of the other forms of communication were face to face.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Now students are using online chats, video calls, and sometimes emails. Emails aren’t that popular in our school in youth circles. Social media came to my life only when I was 16 and it didn’t really seem to me that I could learn something useful using it. Years have passed and my opinion of the ways in which we can use social media has drastically changed. Few years ago I discovered Twitter to be a great tool for gathering and sharing information with other educators all over the world. The entire world of educational contacts, as well as resources, has opened up to me. This twitter experience made me seek for more and find new educational resources shared by groups of educators via Facebook: EdTechTeam Global Community, Seesaw Tech Integrationists, Seesaw Ambassadors, Teachers Using Google Suite For Education, Technology Teacher Talk With Brittany Washburn, Facebook Group Teach With Tech. Now I am successfully using these and many other resources found on social media for my professional development.

New trends in education are approaching us online every day. As I’ve already mentioned in my other COETAIL blog post, # is a really helpful character in this process. It allows me to search for appropriate content sorted out by specific keywords. For example #earthday or #coetail, etc. allows me to find all topic related posts shared by other people on social media. It is a real treasure for an educator if you know how to use it 🙂

Before the beginning of my COETAIL journey, my opinion about social media was completely different. My students are up to 10 years old and I can’t really use social media tools with my students – they are too young for it. However, I realized that there are ways to utilize special/closed social media platforms or communities created for specific purposes, such as Seesaw, Google Classroom, Padlet, Flipgrid, Google Sites, Blogger, etc. Such online tools might work as an affinity space for small groups of students where students can share their learning experience, help classmates to learn, and even come up with new solutions and trends. Learning model based on communication might be an introduction to participatory culture for younger students. Students can build a basic understanding of proper communication online and see the value of sharing ideas with other people as well as working towards the same goal in groups. Unfortunately, sometimes teachers are still asking to disable chats on some learning platforms – I don’t see many reasons to do that. How will students learn proper communication online if they don’t practice it?

“…participatory cultures represent ideal learning environments. Gee (2004) calls such informal learning cultures “affinity spaces,” asking why people learn more, participate more actively, engage more deeply with popular culture than they do with the contents of their textbooks.” Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 24 percent of teenagers are online “almost constantly,” so it’s essential that they know how to handle themselves there. Rules for Social Media, Created by Kids (NYTimes)

Since many students, especially older ones, already have some social media skills and are using it quite actively, I think it can also be a great place for learning. Especially, having in mind all of those stories of success of young people building their own learning and sharing environment and, as a result, coming up with some successful business ideas.

Ashley Richardson (Jenkins, 2004b) was a middle-schooler when she ran for president of Alphaville. She wanted to control a government that had more than 100 volunteer workers and that made policies that affected thousands of people. She debated her opponent on NationalPublic Radio. She found herself in the center of a debate about the nature of citizenship, about how to ensure honest elections, and about the future of democracy in a digital age. Alphaville is the largest city in the popular multiplayer game, The Sims Online. (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

6 Replies to “Create+Post+Share=Learn?”

  1. Hi Julija!

    I used to have a penpal too! She was a friend I met during summer holidays, at the campground. Do you remember chain letters? I used to get them in my email (not anymore though).

    I like using Twitter and Facebook teaching groups.

    I’m also part of the Fbook groups: Tech Teacher Talk with Brittany and the Teach with Tech groups! They are so helpful. I find the Facebook groups more helpful than Twitter. I’m able to find posts that interest me and then read the comments (which are usually really helpful).

    Have you tried making a G Classroom banner with Bitmoji’s? I saw that on one of the tech groups and thought it was a great idea. Some of them are way over my time and ability, they are Pinterest ready. Mine had a couch and a rug.

    My opinion of student and social media use has changed too. I really think more people in education and parents should know more about this research! I don’t understand why it’s not more well known or adopted into government policies for digital learning or digital advancement. After reading week 3’s information about FERPA, COPPA, PPRA, IDEA; I feel there are a lot of acts and laws to protect student data and identities but where are the task forces to advance digital citizenship?

    I agree, students need to practice online communication and they need to be taught these skills. They also need to be taught what to do when someone isn’t appropriate like when there is profanity or bullying. School is usually a safe space so it seems like a good place to let students try it out.

    Does your school have mini lessons or a tech class where students learn about online etiquette (netiquette)?

    1. Dear Melanie,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes! I do remember the chain letters. I remember the last one whick I received probably 5 years ago 🙂
      Yes.. the FB groups for educators is something amazing! My experience was very similar to yours regarding Twitter and Facebook groups – I am checking updates appearing in the FB groups even more often than Twitter now.
      My Google Classroom banner with Bitmoji isn’t ready yet, but I am using my Bitmoji stickers on Seesaw and Google Classroom already and my students love it 🙂
      You are absolutely right about the netiquette. I feel like I want to talk more and more about it with every digital communication tool I provide to them. Brainpop ( is a real helper in this case. Educational videos there are really helpful. Also, the comics on seemed to be a great tool for similar discussions.

  2. Hi Julija,

    I managed to ignore hashtags and hashtagging up until now so take makes me a late adopter. Your comment about hashtags inspired me to find out more about this elusive symbol. You said, “… # is a really helpful character in this process. It allows me to search for appropriate content sorted out by specific keywords.” This got me to thinking – I can search by hashtags to help me with my teaching?! As obvious as this may be to some, it hadn’t occurred to me! My thinking was – hashtags were just something you add in your posts on social media to sound cool, #toocool. Now it’s starting to sink in – I can search for teaching topics by a hashtag so I gave it a go. I want to take an online course on Executive Functions so I did a Google search, #executivefunctions. Wouldn’t you know it? It worked! The second hit was a six-hour webinar advertised on Twitter – 30 Proven and Effective Self-Regulation and Executive Function Strategies: For Children with Sensory Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Anxiety and ADHD.

    Thank you Julija for helping to bring me into the hashtag fold.


    1. Dear Holly,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found value in using the #(hashtag) character searching for relevant information. As a sort of filter, it works pretty well. On the other hand, sometimes it gives to many results, so the keywords following the # should be really well defined.
      Enjoy your hashtagging journey! 🙂

  3. Hi Julija!
    Reading your blog post, I remembered also how I used to write a mail to my friends after a summer camp or to some friends abroad.
    It was really special when you would receive a letter or postcard. I still practice this with some of my artist friends in Berlin.
    The communication had another level, it was very personal in the way how we handwrite and choose the paper and envelopes. It has a tactile feeling.
    But fast forward in time, nowadays, I am impressed by how powerful are the images to communicate nowadays and those simple powerful titles and keywords. Probably in our super-fast lifestyle we need to screen very quick and easy with those observation skills to pick and choose what could be interesting for us to read.
    Thank you very much for sharing the list with the different social media groups of teachers. It is very helpful. (“EdTechTeam Global Community, Seesaw Tech Integrationists, Seesaw Ambassadors, Teachers Using Google Suite For Education, Technology Teacher Talk With Brittany Washburn, Facebook Group Teach With Tech.”)
    I was not aware that even Facebook has a powerful network like twitter. I will check them out. How about LinkedIn are you connected there as well? I thought that maybe this should be the platform to connect with the people as well.
    I found it interesting that you mention also about the Seesaw Ambassadors. Are you a Seesaw Ambassador as well? I am thinking to become one.
    I wish you lots of success in connecting with people via tech!
    Definitely the internet and all the skills to communicate via social media saved us, during this pandemic time. I am grateful to live in our times:)

    1. Hi, Simona,

      Thank you for your comment. It is an amazing feeling getting a real letter by mail. You are so right – communication via mail is very personal and even more exciting, than any email with a GIF or emojis in it.
      I’m not using Linkedin for communication and never thought about it as a tool for a similar purpose. It seems to be a tool for more formal communication. But I will check it out again.
      I am a Seesaw Ambassador and I like it because during this quite short course you get a lot of information and useful tips on using Seesaw.
      I am sure you’ll get it easily and quickly 🙂

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