The Educators’ Guide to Reddit – Sharing, Learning, and Where Students Are

Any blogger will know that social networking is a great (if not the greatest) way to direct traffic to your site. Many new bloggers struggle to find their audience, but with some careful link sharing on the various social sites, you can have traffic flooding to your site each time you add a new post.

Here at Edublogs we use a variety of social networks to keep in touch with the students and teachers who blog with us. You can catch us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest… and now, you can share your latest blog posts on our brand new “subreddit”, /r/Edublogs.

The Educators Guide to Reddit

What is Reddit?

I’ll admit it! I had never really used Reddit until recently. I had heard of it, occasionally stumbled upon a few links people had shared via Reddit, but I’d never posted anything myself, or seen the benefit of doing so… all that changed recently when I was looking for a new way to publicise my YouTube channel about video games (I won’t share the link but feel free to ask if you’re curious). I started sharing the links on Reddit and traffic just came flooding in. Now, if I DON’T share something on Reddit my traffic stats look like someone sparked a short-term apocalypse!

If you’ve never used Reddit before, it can be a bit confusing at first, but once you work out what it’s all about it’s a great way to share your online content. Unlike many other social networking sites, Reddit is NOT about telling people that you’ve just been for a 10km run with your iPhone, or that you love cats that do funny things. Reddit is a link sharing site where you can share links with those who have a common interest with you. You can also start a discussion about your common topic and invite the world to offer their opinion, similar to what you might do on a forum site.

Reddit is separated into thousands of “subreddits” (over 7,100 in June 2014), individual communities operated and moderated by Reddit users. The owner of the subreddit can specify their own rules, what they will allow people to share, and how their little slice of Reddit appears to its visitors… but anyone with a Reddit account can post to any subreddit, providing they comply with the rules set out by the subreddit owner. For example, on the /r/Edublogs subreddit we will only allow posts that link to blog articles hosted on the network or on one of the Campus Networks we host, and they must of course have content suitable for the young children we expect to make use of our network.

Who uses Reddit?

Last month Reddit as a whole received over 113 million unique visits, from over 180 different countries. It has been said that roughly 6% of internet users have an account on reddit, which may sound small, but there are a LOT of internet users in the world!

Reddit’s key demographic is 18-25 year olds, but there are a huge number of children who also use the site to share links to their favourite sites and discuss their favourite topics. For example, they might want to keep up to date with what’s new in the world of Minecraft on the /r/minecraft subreddit, or they might want to see if NASA have shared any cool new videos of their spacecraft on the /r/nasa subreddit.

The long and short of it is, kids are really into Reddit, and maybe it’s time us adults caught up with them!

Reddit in Education

If you’re a teacher you might be reading this and, by now, you’re probably thinking “great, but how can I use it?”. Fair question.

The truth is, your students are probably already using it. Some students will use it to find sources they can use in their homework assignments. Others will be using it to share their VLOG videos that they have posted to YouTube. And, hopefuly, those who have a blog somewhere on the Edublogs network will be using it to tell the world about the latest post on their blog… no? well that’s why we launched the /r/Edublogs subreddit, to provide students (and teachers) with a safe place they can share their blog posts with other Edublogs users.

Here’s an idea. If your students are already using Edublogs for their blog, why not get them to each post their next blog post on our subreddit and then tell them to look for the posts made by other students and vote on which ones they think are best (by clicking the upvote or downvote arrows provided by Reddit), then see which of your students gets the highest score.

Or how about this. As an experiment, why not see if you can get your students talking about what you will be covering in next weeks lesson? Head to /r/Edublogs, start a new discussion (link on the right), and ask your students what they ALREADY know about what you will be covering in class. Ask your students to head to the Reddit post and post their comments, and you might be surprised at the responses you receive.

Simply put, you can use Reddit to communicate and interact with your students in a whole new way, and find out what your students are really thinking! Why not give it a try?

How To Use Reddit

If you’ve never used Reddit, it could be a bit alien to you, so we’ve put together a three video series on how to use Reddit! Check out video one below!

Your Opinion

Are you a teacher that has used Reddit with your students? If so, comment below on how the experience went for you.

Are you a student who uses Reddit regularly? What are your favourite subreddits? and how do you use Reddit for school? Comment below.

7 thoughts on “The Educators’ Guide to Reddit – Sharing, Learning, and Where Students Are

  1. Reddit really is an adult community. Not only are there specific subreddits filled with inappropriate material, but the broader climate of the community tends to be tainted with offensive and suggestive content. Encouraging educators to send children to reddit is irresponsible.

    1. I disagree that Reddit is an “adult community”, considering the huge number of children that are using it, especially in areas such as /r/minecraft, but as I’ve said above, I agree that there are questionable corners of all social media sites, which is why we need to be aware of them so that we can teach children to use the responsibly, especially if they’re already using them!

      In no way would I suggest that educators blindly send students to Reddit, but if used responsibly in a controlled environment, it can be a useful tool, but of course, teachers and parents should always use discretion when involving their children in social media, or in fact allowing them to access the internet at all.

  2. I love Reddit and long pondered its uses in education. The one thing that makes me nervous is the INCREDIBLE volume of adult subreddits that are just a click away. I worry about that blowing up in my face.

    1. That’s a good point, Mark.
      Even in creating the videos for this post, it was difficult to find screenshots that didn’t contain any potentially offensive material.

    2. Definitely a valid concern, which highlights the importance of discretion in matters like this. As a teacher, one would hope that you have the ability to use resources like this in a controlled environment, thus reducing the risk of students stumbling over adult content… however this article was also intended to make teachers (and parents) aware of the services their children may ALREADY be using, and to provide suggestion on how that may hopefully be channelled into something constructive, diverting away from that risk,

      This is the reason we provided the /r/edublogs subreddit, which we will be monitoring closely, and I would encourage teachers to create their OWN subreddits for their class to provide a safe environment that you can control.

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