Social Media in the Classroom

Twitter/Facebook – in the Classroom

Young people are using Social Media on a regular basis, but in schools we are ‘banning, blocking and locking’. The major reason for ‘banning, blocking and locking’ Social Media in school is to keep pupils on task and to protect them from potential dangerous online content whilst in school – Child Protection. However, a number of educators are starting to use Social Media (namely Twitter and Facebook) to interact with students and parents outside of the classroom; to continue discussions unfinished during lesson or to allow a 24/7 classroom for students to ask their peers (and the teacher) for information/advice.

Why would we ban a resource that students are readily using? It has the potential to take our students education to somewhere it has never been before – their social lives. When students follow the school/department Twitter/Facebook account they will receive updates on the homework that needs to be handed in, a reminder to bring equipment to the next lesson and examples of outstanding work to show off all within their own Facebook feed.

There are a number of schools/teachers that effectively use Social Media to promote the school, students achievements and successes. Below are a few examples.

Ormiston Victory Academy, Norwich uses Twitter to promote the school through tweeting about events and students.  It also regularly communicates with parents and other professionals throughout the day.

Manor Sports College PE Department, Raunds uses Twitter to promote student success in and outside of the classroom.

Mrs C, an RE Teacher at Emerson Park Academy, Essex uses Twitter for students to promote their work in the classroom as well as communicating resources with students.

A quick note from www.mashable.com on Protecting Students:

“As we discuss the potential benefits of using Facebook, it’s important to frame the discussion with a warning about protecting our students. Before launching a Facebook Page, school leaders must ensure they’ve thought through the types of content they’re going to share with the world. Before sharing any information about any student (including pictures, videos, first names, work samples, etc.) school leaders must ensure they’ve obtained consent from the child’s guardian. Additionally, schools should avoid sharing last names of students as this can potentially jeopardize their safety (and in some cases is actually illegal). With a little forethought, Facebook can offer a variety of benefits without risking any safety to students or members of the school community.”

Through Social Media, schools have an opportunity to engage students like never before.

  1. Share school News
  2. Share what is happening
  3. Share upcoming events
  4. Make school announcements
  5. Use Social Media to showcase school culture
  6. Share photos
  7. Share videos
  8. Use as a recruitment tool (Staff & Students)
  9. Feedback from stakeholders
  10. Feedback from the local community

However, most Social Media sites have a minimum age requirement (e.g. Facebook 13 years old). This is a fantastic opportunity for schools to make staff, students and parents/carers aware of this. It could be the perfect opportunity for parents and students to log in together to view the content of the schools/departments Facebook Page.

Check out CloudLearn.net for a research project on the use of Social Media in schools.

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