Having an on-line place to share resources with pupils can have many benefits. It can reduce printing, if pupils lose a hand out they can access it on-line, links to relevant articles or recordings of performances can be added. Reminders of concert dates, changes to timetables. Having a shared on-line area with the facility for comments can if carefully planned increase student engagement, but at the very least they do not have an excuse for not letting you know about missing a lesson! One of the biggest advantages of an on-line resource is that it allows learning to take place at any time and place.
For teachers in schools, the use of Facebook is not permitted, but there are other alternatives. One of these is the social media platform Edmodo designed for schools. Most schools/colleges/universities will have some sort of VLE (virtual learning environment) and will usually create a page for you if you ask.
A strength of using platform such as Edmodo or a VLE with the ability for pupil comments is that it allows interactivity. This makes it much more than just a depository of documents and provides new ways of learning.
Edmodo is promoted as an environment providing, ‘a free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate’. Although an American company, a number of UK schools are using it to supplement or replace an existing Virtual Learning Environment. Pupils create their own account and the teacher provides a code to allow them to join a particular group. Information can also be shared with parents.
It has many similarities to Facebook in its appearance with a centre column for the latest posts. Small groups can be created as a private area for each pupil or group of pupils for posting information. It is easy to set up quizzes, set assignments . To share a video from YouTube, simply click on the paper click icon in the new note box and add the URL.
Edmodo can be accessed by the website or app for Android or Apple devices.
An alternative that can easily be set up by the individual teacher is Pinterest. This is like a virtual notice board that you collect content from a range of websites. You can create boards for different subjects such as my favourite flute players, aural tests etc. It is very visual, which may be one of the reasons for its success. If you don't have access to a website, Edmodo or VLE, this could be worth considering as a way of sharing resources created by others. A limitation is that everything is public and other that there is no function to comment on posts.