The following are a series of lesson plans for a short program, designed to act as a starter course to teach students of all ages about social media. Teachers may feel free to alter any of these plans, but they’re designed to be as self explanatory as possible. I understand there is a national curriculum and teachers can’t just preach what they want- but I think this is definitely worth a look at:
Lesson One: Social Media Basics. Rough duration per lesson: 50 mins
This lesson is designed to cover the basics of social media, the types, and how they work. Most students will probably know this- but it’s good to explain everything in an educational context. Plus, it’s quite fun.
Students should work in groups of 4-5 and produce a presentation on A3 on a chosen social media platform. Students must include key info like how it works, whether it’s a video or text platform, etc. Then present to the class. The teacher should then show some examples of old social media in class e.g. My Space. Groups should come up with a few ways social media has changed over the years. Finally, each individual student should write a short paragraph- consolidating what they’ve learned.
Lesson Two: Memes.
This lesson will cover what a meme is, along with some examples of funny animal videos. Students will also learn to spot videos which are cruel or offersive, and what to do when seeing them.
Teacher will start by showing a video of Charlie Bit My Finger, then ask the class who thought it was a bit funny, and did anyone find it cruel? Then show video of a slow loris being tickled. After this, explain the controversy surrounding this video- see our article on it. Teacher should stress that this shows some videos, although looking okay from the outside, can be cruel. Students should be weary when looking at animal videos- and always think twice before liking and sharing.
Part 2: students should use ‘padlet’ (website) to write down their favourite meme. Teacher should then pose the question- how would you feel if a random photo of you became a meme? Would any students like to share a time when an embarrassing picture of them was shared online, how did it make them feel? Teachers may want to show the BBC News video: https://youtu.be/7WMebV5qt3s to really bring it home. The teacher should stress that when students see memes and funny pictures relating to other people they should take this into account. Finally, students should write a short paragraph explaining everything they’ve learned this lesson.
Lesson Three: Trolling
This lesson will cover what trolling is, why it is wrong, and how to address the issue of online abuse.
Get students to use the all important Padlet again to write down why they think online bullies do it. Teacher should then explain to the class that it could be any of these reasons, but the truth is that with the Internet- it’s really easy to bully someone, sometimes without even knowing it. Admit that you don’t feel as fesposible for anything you do online- even if you’re not a bully. Teacher should then show an example of a mean comment and ask students how they would respond to it. Explain that you should not reply out of anger- because that is what many trolls rely on. The best ways to respond are by not responding or reply in a funny way.
Show video: https://youtu.be/hJCUJLMSEK0 Do you think these celebrities were bothered by what they read? A teacher should bullet point, with the help of the class, a list of ways to deal with online abuse. Be sure to include talking with friends and family. Finally, students should make an eye catching poster on how to deal with online bullying.
Lesson Four: Edumacation
Lesson four consolidates everything the students have learned in the last three lessons in the best way possible- a PowerPoint presentation.
Students can either work alone or in pairs to produce a PowerPoint which covers all the key areas of social media. This should include a brief history of social media, the dangers of funny videos and memes, along with how to deal with online abuse. Students have the duration of the lesson to complete this and will present them in the next lesson …
Lesson Five: All Wrapped Up
Students will take it in turns to present their power points, before the teacher finishes the course with a short quiz. This can be on paper or my personal favourite- Kahoot. I have not made a quiz, but it should include multiple choice questions such as:
When you see a funny animal video online, what should you do?
1. Report it immediately.
2. Go like it and share it.
3. Wait and think if it’s ethical or not before liking it (correct).
If it’s in written format, feedback to class at the end.
End of Course.