Session 63 – Thursday 15th September 2011

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Topic of Discussion:

Social media in the classroom – what are the must have tools and the dos and don’ts?

Summary of Discussion:
Well the vote seemed to be close until the last few hours and this topic certainly get everyone buzzing! We started off with a quick discussion about who used social media tools in the classroom and did they have any advice or ideas to share. A number of contributors flagged up examples of how they are using both Twitter and Facebook to increase parental engagement and how using hashtags on Twitter can be useful within a school setting. Other contributors discussed the fact that having certain tools available to use was pretty much a postcode lottery: some LAs block all sorts of social media tools making it impossible for schools to utilise them in a way they would like and there are still some LAs who are not able to see the benefits of using such tools (including blogs) to increase engagement in learners, teachers and parents.

This led onto a general discussion about why social media is seen so negatively by a great many people in education. Could this be a result of the press highlighting how some networking sites are used in a negative way (although it was pointed out that most news organisations embrace it themselves)? Would research into the impact social media is having on the educational landscape help the cause? Is a shift in educational leadership the key to improving things? These were many of the questions that were fervently discussed but left unanswered.

What was clear was that those people using the all the social media tools available to them in school felt they were of major benefit. It’s also true to say that there were some contributors (although they were in the minority) who felt that certain tools, especially Facebook, should not be used by educational establishments as it could give ‘the wrong impression’. As one contributor put it: ‘Twitter – good, Facebook – bad’. It was stressed by many, however, that the pupils in school today are often very savvy in the use of social media out of school and just need the guidance and support to get the most out of it and use it properly. I expect the same could also be said of many in people working in the education sector.

Eye-Catching Tweets from the Session:


@KV80: It’s about time! We need to demonstrate modern teaching for modern pupils-if nothing else to promote safe usage

@stuart_g_brown: social media have changed the way young people communicate – we must embrace it to ensure the best educational outcomes!

@oliverquinlan: Learners will use social networking anyway. Better it is open so issues r not hidden underground & learning discussions can hapn

@RobGeog: students using these technologies regardless – I’d rather be teaching responsible use than avoiding them but issues to consider

@mattpearson: education often puts too much faith in new technology (CD ROMS, VLEs etc) agree with social media perhaps too little

@Ideas_factory: Tried to convince HT of benefits of school FB page but can’t see past negative conotations-hardly any parents on Twitter

@JOHNSAYERS: Twitter has given me insight into ICT I never know and given me opps to self train! Give students that op! INDEPENDENT LEARNING

@bellaale: the real danger is NOT teaching pupils how to use these tools appropriately…

@ewanmcintosh: I’ve found it VITAL not to use the “f” word when talking social media. Refer instead to spaces of learning: http://t.co/Si98YbuQ

@marc_faulder: in my school it is passionate staff who continued to promote blogs. This year we have a PTA blog!

@audiobluez: Technophobia and irrational fears of the unknown means it’s easier for SLT to pretend the internet does not exist

@tombarrett: The question is where is this fear coming from? We often fear what we don’t understand… there is much that is misunderstood too

@ben_solly: we use both Twitter and Facebook to promote the school & engage parents & community @LongFieldMelton – no probs so far

@cherrylkd: twitter and FB banned in our LA. Only me and a TA use it in our school. Shame as we can’t even use it’s valuable resources

@phoenixsher: I’ve had some success with a core of staff using Twitter as CPD tool 4 self development, the enthusiasm is starting to take effect

@unblockedu: learning should be using new tools like mobile phones. They really are Weapons of Mass Education.

@katebook: I think that’s the only way forward – we have to start teaching pupils how to use SM responsibly!

Tweet of the Week:

@caroljallen: Social Media is like Narnia, once the students have visited that world, why should they be happy back in the wardrobe?

Useful Links Shared During the Session:
@ianaddison shared his school Facebook guidance web page that I’m sure other schools and educators would find useful: http://www.stjohnthebaptistprimary.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&vie… and was also kind enough show how he had used Twitter to support a lesson: http://ianaddison.net/a-lesson-on-twitter/

@dawnhallybone was one of the people who mentioned how her school has now set up its own Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakdale-Junior-School/142300282522141

@ewanmcintosh shared an interesting blog post on Spaces of Technology: http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2010/10/-cefpi-tep10-the-seven-spaces-of-techno…

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