Social Media, Students, and Digital Citizenship: #ONedSs is born

As I sort through the many amazing hashtags that appear on Twitter and various other social media sites, I always smile at the potential learning opportunities that they yield for students and myself.

Then I begin to reflect upon the continual learning that revolves around digital citizenship and how often we refer to it in class.  But yet, how many of us truly allow our students to use social media in class for its positive potential where they can apply their digital citizenship learning first hand? Sure, I know this is not possible for all grades or classrooms let alone students but I cannot help but wonder about the possibilities that exsist through letting students use social media both in and out of the classroom.

There was a quote shared with me quite some time ago now and it appeared again today on my Twitter feed thanks to an amazing educator,  Amanda Anderson. The quote speeks for itself in many ways. Would we place a child in water without a safety device knowing they have not swam before? Of course not.  Why then, knowing that students have access to so many social media platforms, are we letting them do such on their own when so many lessons can be shared in class?



Photo Thanks to Amanda Anderson

There are, of course, pages upon pages of ideas and counter-ideas that can be shared on the thoughts of using social media in the classroom but for the sake of this post I am going for the positive and throwing out an idea for Ontario educators and beyond.

On Feb. 1st, the wonderful Mr. Janna , his students of #r8a, and the students of my class @CitoyensdeGlobe embarked on a student led Twitter chat using the #ONedSs. They were discussing leadership. Questions were co-created and students were guided on how to use TweetDeck and to interact online live and in the moment. Was every tweet perfect? Of course not. Was there learning in each moment? Absolutely.

#ONedSs Feb 1st was truly a wonderful learning opportunity for both Mr. Janna and myself, more importantly, it was an amazing authentic learning opportunity for our students. The proof is the archive of the chat. Then the thought struck me and a few others to turn #ONedSs into a true # where it is used whenever possible by students, for students.

The idea of #ONedSs is one that my class would like to see grow and perhaps, in some way monitor for proper social media use. Here is how it can work:

  • your students share their thoughts using #ONedSs
  • your students share their questions
  • your students share their work
  • your students reach out to perhaps run a chat
  • your students… what else can you think of?

#ONedSs can be a place where students of Ontario create meaningful diaologue with each other and open up the doors of further possibility for learning.

Will there be some difficulties? Of course. This in mind, George Couros today noted at OCDSB’s DLL conference that we should ‘Always err on the side of positive’. I think this is one of those times. (thanks Karsten for the quote!)

So, let your students shine and let their voices be heard via #ONedSs. Let them swim in a good way through social media so that they do not sink down the road.

Yours in learning,



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