Using Social Media in the Classroom with Wakelet
Wakelet may not seem entirely new or different, after all The EdTech space is already full of tools for collection, collaboration, and curation (Google Classroom, Padlet, SeeSaw, etc.), but Wakelet's potential for incorporating social media into lessons, it's easy user interface, and the current price (free!) makes it worth knowing about as a teacher who likes to curate resources beyond the textbook.
What is Wakelet?
Wakelet is a curation tool first and foremost. It provides you a personalized stream of whatever combination of social media posts, videos, websites, or texts docs from around the web you’d like to include in one place. It strips away the ads, comments, and all that additional junk you might get on the original website and leaves you with the just content you want your students looking at.
Therefore, you could select a single Tweet or Instagram post off of social media and share it with students, without sending them to the site itself or giving them access to comments and related posts.
This feels like a less risky or distracting way to use social media as a tool for education (because we have to admit how much learning takes place on social media, especially if you are a teacher on Twitter).
Gathering and sharing resources on a given topic is extremely easy with Wakelet, which would come in handy for research project and papers.
The benefit of doing this on Wakelet, rather than posting links in a shared Google Doc or on Google Classroom, is that Waklet is also visually appealing. The end result of a includes photos and titles, and ends up looking a little bit like a Pinterest board.
Another cool feature is it’s incredibly easy to embed Wakelet onto a Google Site or other website (like the Harvard example shown below); which could help schools share highlights from across their social media platforms in one place, or act as a blog for a school, classroom, or student site.
The only feature I would like to see on Wakelet, that it doesn’t currently have, is the option to turn on commenting.
When I asked about commenting, the rep for Wakelet told me that they want to distinguish themselves from social media platforms and avoid likes/comments. However, to really collaborate in a digital classroom, I think it is necessary to be able to comment on and discuss the posts. Which is why Wakelet ultimately isn't as much a creation/collaboration tool, as it is an easy and beautiful display function for sharing final products.
Currently, it is free to use, with no plans for paid subscriptions in the future.
Applications for Wakelet in the Classroom:
-Teachers collecting resources on a topic to share with a class or small groups.
-Students curating researched resources on a topic
(individually or in groups).
-Students using Wakelet as a portfolio to catalogue their work.
-Schools using Waklet on their websites to curate social media posts or as a blog.
-School or teachers using Waklet as a directory of resources for parents to use to help their students study.