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Teachers use social media to encourage online learning

Local educators teach students how to use technology responsibly

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - VIDEO: To view this story's video, visit News8000.com from your personal computer

Chalkboards have become a thing of the past as educators continue to bring new technology into the classroom.

Teachers say the latest tech gadgets are giving students a new online platform for learning.  Current research shows about 75 percent of middle and high school students use social media on a daily basis. With that big of a demographic, some teachers are incorporating social media sites into everyday learning.

"They're excited because now they have a real audience for whatever it is that they are creating," said Jeanne Halderson, a seventh-grade teacher at Longfellow Middle School.

Halderson said times have certainly changed the way students learn in the classroom.

"Instead of doing a group project like we would have 10 years ago when you had three to four people in a group, all of a sudden you have 50 people in your group or 150 people in your group," said Halderson.

Not only are teachers seeing a student's work, but other students are able to see it as well, giving many students the push to do better.


"When you have a real audience and you know people are looking at your work, you take more ownership in it and you try harder," said Halderson.

Halderson uses specific sites to encourage collaboration among students.

"Students are creating book trailers and they are putting them on YouTube. Then our kids are looking at eachothers work and using Pinterest to pin the book trailers that they are interested in," said Halderson.

However, with so many options to chose from for technology, it can be difficult to pick the right ones to use. IT Director for the La Crosse School District Vicki Lyons said students are the No. 1 priority.

"We really have a responsibility of teaching them, and helping to support our parents and their efforts in teaching them what it is to be a responsible citizen while being online," said Lyons.

With encouragement from the board of education, they are moving away from shared environments, such as computer labs, to giving students individual devices.

"We want to make sure we can help our kids make good decisions while working with technology," said Lyons.

As the times continue to change, so do the teaching techniques used on a daily basis.

"Whether we like it or not, kids are starting to use technology on their own. By using it in this structured environment where they are really learning how to use it, that just benefits them in the end," said Halderson.

There are some social media sites that teachers have not brought into their classroom. For example, the La Crosse School District does not allow students to use Facebook or Twitter at school.

The La Crosse School District uses Facebook and Twitter outside of the classroom, as a way to communicate with parents and the community.

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