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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Part 2 - Social Media's Versatile Role in Elementary Education

Guest Post by Michele Eaton (@lyonmi)

Michele Eaton teaches second grade at the MSD of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, Ind. She is also an adjunct instructor for the Learning By Design Master's Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Follow her on Twitter @lyonmi, or check out her blog Here is the second of a two-part analysis of how My Big Campus is a vital component in a second-grade classroom.

Flipping the Classroom
As part of an occasional homework assignment for my second graders, I post video lectures on the Announcements tab of our class My Big Campus group. Under the video, the built-in Comment feature is the perfect place for student feedback. Kids are exposed to content at home, which frees class time for hands-on activities. I couldn't economize instructional time nearly as effectively if I didn't have My Big Campus. Check out how my colleague Andy Ashcraft (@MrAshcraft) has successfully flipped his prealgebra and seventh-grade math class

Also, posting videos on My Big Campus is a snap. The site was originally designed to provide classrooms educational content from YouTube, which is blocked in many school districts. By peeling away unnecessary comments and the sometimes-inappropriate "Recommended" videos, My Big Campus offers safe, clean access to YouTube

Student Research
I love using My Big Campus to teach students online-research skills. If kids can Google, and I assure you second graders can, then they’re old enough to learn to harness the Internet safely and effectively. With My Big Campus, I disseminate websites and other content to my students, sharing how to find important information. I offer webquests I have created, along with website collections. My Big Campus allows me to scaffold instruction - all in a safe, filtered environment.  

For the students, MBC Documents, built-in collaborative documents, and wiki-like Pages allow kids to organize the information they find online. Through MBC Documents and Pages, my students share research in organized templates. As an added benefit, the sharing stimulates vital conversations on plagiarism, copyright, and the importance of citing sources. Students take in critical lessons on netiquette while engaging real, standards-based work.

Netiquette Training is Integrated in My Big Campus
With My Big Campus, I don't need scheduled mini-lessons or devoted instructional time to teach netiquette. Simply using the site facilitates digital citizenship. That's what I adore most about My Big Campus.

Teachers can’t see what students are doing on Facebook or Twitter. We don’t know what they're Googling at home. Ultimately, we can’t expect students to know how they should behave online if we don’t provide a model or curriculum that illustrates successful digital citizenship. My Big Campus is just the place to learn those topics. It is a safe and monitored environment.

Closing Thoughts on Social Media in Primary Grades
It’s easy to see how My Big Campus can be used in secondary schools. However, I'm adamant: We can’t limit digital literacy to older students. It's surprising how easily second graders navigate the Net. It’s never too early to provide students rich online collaborative experiences - safely, properly. I’m thankful for My BigCampus. It makes 21st-century-elementary education efficient, rich, and safe.

Post questions or comments for Eaton here, or surf her corner of the web at You can also follow Eaton on Twitter @lyonmi.


  1. I agree that students must be taught how to behave online. Good netiquette is taught by good teachers. My Big Campus sounds like an excellent website. I have used Blackboard in the past very efficiently. Protecting children from adult content is a big issue and this site seems like a way to address it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. David,
      Thanks for commenting. The features in My Big Campus open limitless possibilities for enhancing lessons and engaging students. See #8 of the Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Big Campus for a complete list of amenities:

      As a teacher, I make students and their safety my top priority. For educators, protecting children can sometimes mean defending them from themselves. On My Big Campus, I can coach students on Internet subtleties such as word choice, post content, or even the meaning of ALL CAPS. Those are the little nuances that can get students in big trouble online. With My Big Campus, kids can learn from their own victories and mistakes in a sheltered area before jumping into the shark tank of the open web.

    2. Another cool feature of MBC is the Library. Whenever a teacher shares a website, document, or video publicly on the site, it is stored in the My Big Campus library. Students can search for information from here and only see content that teachers from all over the country have deemed appropriate. It has become a growing database for both students and teachers. It's especially nice for young students. While I think it is important to teach students how to search the Internet efficiently, when you teach young students, it is much easier to start with a safe place like the MBC Library.


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