Team ISTE
5 social media sites to engage teens in learning

Let’s face it, if your students aren’t using social media yet, they will be soon enough. Kids love social media for the same reasons adults do; it’s fun to connect and share with peers down the street or across the globe.

Sure there are drawbacks to using social media, but what better way to teach essential digital citizenship skills than to dive into sites with embedded safeguards that allow students to practice communicating online with an authentic audience.

Here are five free social media platforms that you can start using today to encourage global collaboration and creative thinking in your classroom.

TeenInk: This online literary magazine for students 13 and up allows teens to share their writing and art work and get feedback from peers or offer feedback to others. Students can also use it to get examples of genres, such as poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art, photography, and videos, or browse topics to get ideas for their own works. Content is screened by editors and comments are monitored to ensure they are mostly positive and/or constructive. 

Power Poetry: This free site aims to promote a love a poetry. Once students register, they can post a poem, comment on another’s work, compete in a poetry contest, enter a poetry slam for a chance to win scholarship money or get advice from an experienced mentor. Keep in mind that the site has no restrictions on profanity or mature themes.

Youth Voices: Designed for K-12 teachers, Youth Voices encourages students to write essays and poetry on current events and other topics of interest. Students must register with their school to post, but any student can read and browse. Themes and topics can be controversial and disturbing, so it’s not recommended for kids under 12.

Write the World: This social media platform for student writers allows teens to set up a profile and connect with peers to share their work. The writing prompt section lets students choose topics to inspire their writing. The prompts include a topic question as well as examples, guiding ideas and other supports to inspire thoughtful responses and critical thinking. 

Biblionasium. This site is similar to Good Reads except that it is designed specifically for K-8 students. Kids can connect with friends, recommend books, discover new reads and build a virtual bookshelf.

If you’re looking for apps, sites or other digital tools recommended by educators, check out resources that have received the ISTE Seal of Alignment or those reviewed by educators at Mindprint Learning or EduClipper.