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October 5, 2013

Peru teachers weaving social media into classes

PERU — Before dawn Monday, administrators at Peru High School sent out a tweet reminding their 513 Twitter followers that school was delayed two hours because of the fog.

Five people “retweeted” it. One marked it as a favorite.

On Sept. 28, they used the high school’s Twitter account to send out updates from the girls and boys soccer games.

“GOOOOOAAAALLLLL! Peru leads Mississinewa 2-0 with 5 minutes left in the boys game,” one tweet read.

Two days before that, they were reminding students about the National Honor Society blood drive via the social media site.

Peru High School is among a growing list of schools using social media and other technologies both in and out of the classroom.

“It’s something we embraced last year,” Principal Jason Cary told the Kokomo Tribune. “It’s just another way to get information out.”

Some of his teachers are finding that it’s more than a way to issue reminders and updates, though.

Last week, some of his cutting-edge teachers showed colleagues how they’re using technology in and out of the classroom. It was a daylong professional development course.

Cary said he even learned a few things from it.

Teachers are using Twitter to engage and interact with professionals such as authors and politicians, who can teach high school students a few lessons. One class was able to speak online with an author because of a meeting set up through the social media site, Cary said.

Some social media tools cut down on the work teachers have to do.

His teachers are using education-related hash tags on Twitter to communicate with educators across the country and share ideas. And educators have their own section on Pinterest to share lesson plans and classroom ideas.

“It’s cutting down the time it takes to create a new assignment or plan a lesson,” Cary said. “The best teachers borrow from each other.”

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