There is most definitely a time and a place for social media use within schools. In fact, many schools and parents would argue that engagement should only take place when pupils are not in school at all, but that’s the subject for a whole other blog!
Many teachers argue that in a learning context, social media can actually be a powerful educational tool that can bring a unique and dynamic aspect to learning.
There are so many projects and opportunities for schools to engage in collaborative global projects today. These sorts of projects can really focus on critical thinking skills and can transform pupils’ views of the world. Having an interactive experience with other pupils on the other side of the globe has a huge impact on learning. Video chat and social media can really help pupils explore issues, transform attitudes and awareness.
This sort of project can also generate great content for your school to share with parents. Beyond project-based learning, your school can even post live updates from pupils who may be on school trips abroad to parents back home within closed group pages on social media. If your school trip is to help a charity, why not follow up your trip with live video and update parents and pupils with the news?
Inspiring reluctant writers
Blogs can vary so much. They can really differ not only in quality but in focus, depth, and length. They offer a great platform for pupils to express themselves, particularly in other languages. In turn, these offerings can be posted by schools to showcase their language departments. In English, why not consider creating a class or school blog from student voice pupils and appoint different pupils a range of roles, e.g. research, writing and commenting? Publishing this gives parents another window into the activities going on in school.
It is wise for teachers to moderate these posts, but these can easily become class or school projects. Consider asking pupils to interview staff members or write about an issue that is important in school and publishing it to your school website and then social media accounts.
Blogs are also the perfect tool for exploring use of language. Because they are so varied in style, they are perfect for language analysis and incentivising pupils to start their own. If that seems like a step too far, Twitter may be a better option.
Twitter use is increasingly featuring in English writing resource tasks and it can be very effective if used under supervision. Used as an opener, focusing on news tweets, pupils can use it to predict the broader details of the story and write their own versions.
Given the lack of authentic valuable resources in the language classroom, tweets can be a brilliant way of giving pupils simple, familiar and inspirational real-life language samples. It’s free and you don’t even have to create an account to browse. If you are engaging and have activities planned, these sorts of activities are perfect to shout about on your department’s Twitter accounts too, so it’s a win-win!
Microblogging on this channel can be a great starting point and really engage reluctant writers. If you have a class account, you can use it to invite the world in to share your experiences. Taking the reins of the school department Twitter accounts can also add an interesting twist to your school’s general social media strategy which may be more focused on the day to day aspects of news in school.
Teachers should obviously be familiar with their school’s social media policy, only be using social media with pupils of appropriate age and be careful to ensure no sensitive information is shared online. Learners should be reminded to never share location or contact details online. It is worth password protecting blogs and Twitter updates if in doubt.
At Shareable Schools, we tailor social media strategy to schools’ unique offering in the educational landscape. If we can help you plan your strategy, contact us on 020 3900 1919.