Plugged in

Teacher uses technology to update learning for students


English teacher Hope Swearingen regularly tweets reminders and congratulations to her students.

By Olivia Herzog, Bastrop High School

English teacher Hope Swearingen quickly tweets a reminder out to her students about the homework due and congratulates them for high scores on their recent essays before finishing her long work day.

Swearingen first started integrating social media into her teaching when she came to BHS three years ago and quickly found it to be a helpful resource in the classroom. She uses twitter multiple times a week, giving students updates and reminders on things like homework.

“I think it’s the easiest way to communicate with students,” Swearingen said. “In my own life I use social media more than anything, and so do the students. It’s quick, efficient and almost everybody has access to it.”

Along with Twitter, Swearingen has used Google Classroom and Kahoot to help her students and has many ideas regarding the use of blogger and utilizing twitter even more.

Swearingen understands that there are downsides of using social media as such a large part of the classroom environment. She has conducted surveys with her students to make sure she is benefiting them rather than hurting them socially or academically.

“Students who don’t have access to the technology might feel like they are missing out on the camaraderie, or like they are not really a part of the class,” Swearingen said. “But through student surveys I know that almost every one of my students has access, and if they don’t, their parent does.”

In addition to her frequent use of twitter, Swearingen uses Google Classroom and Kahoot to interact and provide class resources for her student. Although Swearingen currently focuses on a curriculum that does not involve the use of social media in the actual classroom, she believes it can be a positive addition to her existing teaching methods.

“Currently I do not have my students use social media inside of the classroom very often, but I think there could be some cool things to do,” Swearingen said. “I’ve done a lot of research on how to incorporate that kind of stuff into my lessons in the future. I take a lot of pictures on my personal social media, and I’m proud of the things I post. I think that students feel that same pride whenever their accomplishments are posted and they understand that they are representing BISD. I want to show off what my students are doing.”

Swearingen feels strongly about the benefits of using social media and advises teachers to make that same effort.

“Anytime teachers are hesitant or think that [social media] will not work out, it may fall apart and may be a struggle sometimes, but there are teachers and students at this school that are willing to help you,” Swearingen said. “They can teach you something while you teach them something.”