Today’s post will outline ways to use three of the most popular and active social media platforms to promote your FACS program. As I’ve stated more than once already in this blog series, it’s vital for the survival of FACS that we raise the profile and perception about what you do in your classroom every day and maintaining an active online presence is one of the most visible and appreciated ways to accomplish that goal.
The three social media platforms I’d like you to consider using in your classroom are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These three giants of the social media industry have become such an integral part of our every day life that I’m not going to devote any space to instructing you in their basic operation. I would simply like to suggest some applications for their use in the FACS classroom that will elevate the “cool factor” of your program while also expanding your audience.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each have pitfalls associated with their use, as you are well aware. However, the potential for misuse should not deter you from using them as an instructional tool. Each program features settings and safeguards that make their use in the classroom both safe and possible.
The first step, of course, is to discuss your plans with your school administration. It is NEVER a good idea to embark on a plan to use social media with your students without full disclosure and the approval of your administration. I also suggest that you develop your plans with the guidance of your district or building technology coordinator. A lot of problems can be avoided by communicating and clarifying your plans in advance.
There are some very good sources of information regarding use of social media in the classroom available online. Here are a few sites that you will find useful:
Familiarity with the fundamental purpose and use of each of these social media platforms must be your first goal. Do not decide to implement the use of these very public formats without first doing your homework. To do so is inviting disaster! The good news is that it’s not difficult to master each application. It simply takes a little research and some practice. You didn’t have anything else planned for this weekend did you? Why not set up a Twitter account and send out a few practice tweets. It’s fun!
Because Facebook is like the elephant in the room when it comes to social media, I plan to devote an entire post to its FACS-friendly uses. I’ll wrap up this post today with a few suggestions for using Twitter and Instagram as a tool in the FACS classroom.
Twitter and FACS
Twitter is a great tool for teaching careers. A couple of years ago I created an activity I call the FACS Fantasy League. It’s based on the concept of Fantasy Football. Students form teams and draft celebrities that represent various FACS career fields (culinary arts, fashion design, lifestyle experts, interior designers, etc.) then they follow those celebrities over a period of time to track their public appearances, new projects, etc. Teams earn points based on the performance and public profile of the celebrities that they select. Twitter is a great tool to use for an activity like FACS Fantasy League. It’s very easy to calculate the number of times a celebrity appears publically you follow them on Twitter. FYI—the FACS Fantasy League activity is available in our resource Cooking Up A Cool Career.
Additional Twitter applications to FACS:
- Track a hashtag (#)—Students can research the public discussion of a current topic or trend.
- Connect with your community by partnering with local government or charitable organizations.
- Create journal entries
- Chat with or follow industry professionals
- Coordinate classroom or FCCLA projects
- Play the stock market game
- Take a poll of students regarding a topic discussed in class
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Follow FACS-related topics in the news
Instagram and FACS
Because Instagram is essentially a visual social media platform, it’s use is particularly applicable to FACS. Here are a few ideas you might want to explore.
- Showcase student projects
- Create a visual collection of housing or furniture styles
- Collect images of garments by a particular designer
- Record the steps of a project in progress
- Create a visual food log
- Collect images of foods representative of preparation techniques, cuisines, etc.
I think you get where I’m going with this. The photo project possibilities are literally endless!
Please note that I am not suggesting that you need to try to become an expert in all of these social media platforms. What I am saying is that it’s important to the goal of reshaping the image of FACS that we don’t shy away from using contemporary instructional methods in our classrooms. We are charged with preparing our students for the future and social media is likely to be a huge part of their lives for many years to come. How can we prepare them for the future when we’re hanging onto the past? Think about it.
Have a great weekend!