How to Use Social Media with Your Students’ Various Learning Types

Emily Ann Peterson

Feb 1, 2017

Really good teachers are the ones who can say the same thing in multiple different ways. This means the teacher is accommodating all of their students’ learning types to get their message across.

You don’t have to use social media to do this. Ask any of my music students and they’ll tell you I know how to skin a cat in about 100 different ways. (I hate that metaphor, by the way, but there it is. True nonetheless.)

Anyways, over the past decade of teaching music privately and in small groups, I realized there is a lot of value in using social media within my teaching method.

I first started incorporating social media platforms into my teaching studio when I realized…

  1. How much time it saved me. Why re-create the wheel when you don’t have to?!
  2. How much it increased the value of studio membership for my students. My students get soooo much out of these bonus methods of engagement outside their lessons.
  3. How helpful it was in promoting ALL types of learning styles. Some students really get a kick out of one social media platform because it caters to the way their brain naturally operates. (for example: visual vs. aural)

Below you’ll find a starter list of ways you can use social media in your own teaching studio. Feel free to copy, modify, and adopt any of these into your own teaching studio. I’m happy to share!

But first, a note about online privacy: Not every parent wants their kid scrolling through social media nor does every adult student want their face published online. This is why, regardless of your students’ ages, please be considerate of their online privacy and always ask permission before posting.

Use my motto: “When in doubt, leave it out.”

It’s just the nice thing to do.

That said, social media has a lot of really cool ways to enrich your students’ experiences. Let’s dive into a couple of ideas I’ve used in the past.

[Bonus! If you have others to add, please leave a comment below so I can update the post and credit you too!]

Visual (spatial): Students who prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Pinterest

Pinterest has a TON of beautiful images for your students to collect. It’s an online social media platform that allows you to share images through social networking. Users have “pinboards” which allows you to collect and post images and ideas to remember and share with your friends. You can get super fancy and connect Pinterest to your Twitter and Facebook accounts too.

Ideas…

Examples…

Instagram

Instagram is a free online photo sharing and social network platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. It lets you upload, edit and share photos and videos with other users through the Instagram website, its app, and other outlets such as email, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.

Ideas…

Example…
Here’s a previous Instagram post I shared when a student and I went shopping for her first cello! (see below or click here)

Aural (auditory-musical): Students who prefer using sound and music.

Spotify

Spotify is a new digital music service that enables users to remotely source millions of different songs on various record labels from a laptop, smartphone or other devices. It also has ways to share and send tracks and albums from user to user.

Ideas…
I have all my new students create a playlist of music they love to listen to. Doing this allows me to better understand my students. They can do this either on Spotify or by hand (for example: my students who naturally *adore* electronic/trance music rarely have tempo/flow issues in practising their music. Knowing this early on in our student/teacher relationship is so powerful!).

Example…
Here’s a fun playlist of music I love sharing with the rest of the world. I’m constantly adding to it and anyone who “follows” the playlist will get a little notification anytime I add a song to it! You could do something similar with various genres of music or tracks specifically intended for your students. (see below or click here to open Spotify and follow the playlist for yourself!)

Verbal (linguistic): Students who prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

YouTube

Video hosting site YouTube allows you to store and serve video content. You and other users can share YouTube videos on the web by using a link or embedding some HTML code. It has an almost immeasurable amount of lectures and training courses.

Ideas…

Examples…

Medium

Medium is a great social media tool for the written word. It’s an online publishing platform developed by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, which has a hybrid collection of amateur and professional people and publications, or exclusive blogs or publishers and is regularly regarded as a blog host.

Ideas…

Examples…
Of course, if you’re wanting more teaching tips like this one, you can subscribe to myself or Teach Well. This way you or your students will get updated when we post new articles.

Physical (kinesthetic): Students who prefer using their body, hands and sense of touch.

YouTube is another good one for your Kinesthetic Learners, especially if you can curate a playlist of videos featuring exercises they can do along with the video.

Ideas…

I’ve given a homework assignment to students to go create their own YouTube playlist around a specific technique, with the intention of discussing their findings and all the various techniques in our next lesson. I do this because not everything on YouTube has my pedagogical stamp of approval, but it does provide a fantastic base of talking points for the next lesson.

Examples…

I’ve even been known to use another YouTuber’s vocal warm-up video before a performance of my own! Like I mentioned above, because there’s all sorts of folks with all sorts of advice, sometimes you have to “shop around” for your favorite, trusted YouTuber, but it’s worth it!

Logical (mathematical): Students who prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Click here to copy my Trello board! Click here to copy my Trello board!

Trello

Trello is a phenomenal system of storing and sharing information. It’s not necessarily a social media platform, however there is a social element to it which is really powerful. Other platforms like Evernote, GoogleDocs are great for this too.

If you’re not a Trello user yet, you can click here to create a free account.

Ideas…

Examples…

Again, if you don’t have a Trello account, it’s free here.

Social (interpersonal): Students who prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

Facebook

Beyond the social media platforms I’ve already listed, I would be a total idiot if I left out Facebook. Here are a couple ways you can utilize Facebook as a private music teacher…

Facebook Groups I’ve known a couple teachers to create a private Facebook Group for their students. This allows both students and teacher to share, ask questions, and celebrate with the rest of the group. A really great benefit of this is that beginner students can easily ask your more advanced students questions like “What brand of strings should I get?” Your more advanced students will know the answers and, most likely, want to help out. There’s an added bonus for you and your email/voicemail inbox here too!

Facebook Pages are a public means of sharing posts. If you’d like to have your posts more accessible to the public, this is the way to go. However, do keep in mind that not everyone will see the posts, due to Facebook’s visibility algorithm.

Solitary (intrapersonal): Students who prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets

Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets are also a great way to engage your students. You can adjust the visibility of each document to invite your students to collaborate, view, edit, or comment on the documents.

Ideas…

I once had a student who created a Google Spreadsheet for their entire practice schedule. They were able to notate the passages they practised, the minutes, and even the way each practice felt emotionally both before and afterwards.

Another student used Google Spreadsheets to demonstrate the different variables of weight, alignment, bow speed, and bow placement and the corresponding colors and description of tone that each combination created. It was a SUPER impressive, color coded spreadsheet. My inner OCD was in awe and my student (who obviously adores all-things-spreadsheets) learned a *TON.*

Example…

Again, these are just SOME of the many ways you can use social media or online platforms.

If you have any more ideas to add to this list, I’d be happy to update this post to include them and credit you too! Just comment below to make it happen!

Emily Ann Peterson is a teaching artist who spent 17 years with her cello. It was her second voice until she was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological hand tremor. Refusing to resign to fate and genetics, she expanded her skills to include the piano and solo songwriting. This act of neurological defiance broke through her creative glass ceiling and then swept her up in the expansive limits.

Her podcast, Bare Naked Bravery, features conversations with everyday heroes about the quiet successes and loud failures required to do the brave things for which we know and love them.

Peterson’s mission is inspire a global resonance and magnanimous community through the marriage of art and whole-person development.

Her music is available everywhere music is sold online and at www.emilyannpeterson.com


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