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Social Media in Classroom Engages Duluth Students

Posted at: 12/03/2012 6:18 PM
Updated at: 12/03/2012 10:43 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

It's no secret kids love social media, and one Duluth teacher is taking advantage. Aaron Salmela teaches at Ordean East Middle School and he's been using a Web site called Schoology to engage his students.

"It's like Facebook for the classroom," Salmela said. "If they can pull out their phones, or iPods or iPads and use them, I think that just engrosses them in what they're doing."

On the site, students make a profile much like other social media sites. They are able to post questions and interact with their teacher on Schoology. This helps kids with their homework when they are not in the classroom. Salmela also posts discussion topics to the site, and he said having it online allows for more student involvement.

"They're definitely more open," Salmela said. "I think they can just freely say what they want to say versus worrying about everyone in class."

Seventh graders in Salmela's all-girls' class said they think Schoology makes learning fun.

"I think it's just really cool that it's Facebook for school," student Alison Lee said.

"It's really fun because we can talk to everyone in our class," student Kianna Donnellan said. "If you have a question about homework, you can go on and ask Mr. Salmela."

Parents rest easy; Salmela said the site is very private and profiles can only be viewed by people in the class.

"It's a safe environment that only your school can see or only other kids in your period can see," student Lauren Nyenhuis said.

Salmela said he is the first teacher to use a site like this at Ordean East, but more than 20,000 schools use Schoology nationwide.