Connected Learning

Jarrod Lamshed

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Social Media in Schools

Periscope-logoSocial media is well and truly a part of our lives. We tweet our way through TV shows, Instagram photos of our dinner, pin that craft idea and update our Facebook status to let everyone know what we’re up to or share endless photos of our kids (sorry). For our kids, the world of social media is even more crowded adding Snapchat, Kik, Omegle and Vine… the list goes on. It’s almost impossible to keep up with, with new services popping up regularly.

Given the huge numberĀ of services to wade through paired with the hype around children’s safety in these spaces, you can almost be forgiven for wanting to steer clear of social media in the classroom altogether… almost.

There is a lot already written supporting the use of social media in schools. From taking control of your school’s digital footprint, to drip feeding information to your school communities, the applications are wide and varied. For me though, the exciting stuff happens in the classroom.

In many of our classrooms at Woodend Primary School, our teachers are using Facebook to improve their communication with parents. Replacing regular class newsletters, Facebook groups have become an interactive way to bring parents into the classroom. We decided that rather than continue trying to get parents to go to a new space, we would go to them. Most of us are on Facebook and know that ignoring that red notification dot is not really an option! These groups have been well received and are now a natural extension of our school community.

Even better, several classes are regularly using social media to connect their learning with others classes around the world. Twitter being used alongside student blogs has let students start building authentic audiences for their learning.

Twitter has also helped our class along with Jess Ottewell’s class make connections with the Behind the News television series. Behind the News is a current affairs show aimed at a student audience. Each week our classes have been using twitter to ask questions about the week’s stories and to share our ideas and learning. Last week, we were contacted by the show to be a part of a new ‘Ask the Reporter’ session using the new app ‘Periscope’. We were one of only a handful of classrooms to be invited to participate in this trial event where we were able to send questions via Twitter and have them answered live by a reported from the show.

Apart from the obvious added value to the learning in our classrooms, this is a great example of how a new social media app has been harnessed for a learning purpose. A lot of reports surrounding ‘Periscope’ have been negative, highlighting the possible negative uses of the app. As educators, it’s important that we see past the knee jerk reaction surrounding social media and look deeper at how it can add to learning in our classrooms.

The video of this event is posted below.

4 Responses to Social Media in Schools

  1. Ashley Foote says:

    An interesting red Jarrod. At Goolwa Primary School we are just dipping our toes in the water and went from no likes on our school facebook page one day to nearly over 150 in a week. Will be interested to follow your story.

    • I started with the class Facebook groups when I was at HEPS. They have been gold. Opens up a great, natural communication channel with parents. Your school getting so many connections so quickly just shows that your meeting parents in a space that they are comfortable in. It’s such an easy way to have effective communication in place.

  2. karen says:

    Well written Jarrod….so much to dip into….my aim would be to have kids talking to other kids around the state…country and world….

    • Thanks Karen. You’ll have to resurrect your twitter account so we can hook you up with some classes. Maybe your class could start a twitter account to connect with other classes as a good starting point. Some BIG work happening with the internet at school tomorrow at school! Hopefully will make everything easier.

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