Like many schools, we have been wrestling with the issue of social media. A few weeks ago one of our students brought the social media policies of a local school to my attention. At this other school, staff are encouraged to use social media professionally, and students are encouraged to use social media and mobile phones to learn. I approached colleagues at the school and they kindly provided their policies for our leadership team to peruse. We now have five teachers involved in a trial where all social media blocks have been removed from their classes during the school day.
Making the most of this opportunity, my Year 9 class has been designing social media campaigns for a current struggle for civil rights and freedoms. The links between the history they are studying and their own world have been tangible:
“I enjoyed the social media campaign because it doesn’t just involve the class, it involves the world. Your work can be viewed around the whole world, not just in the classroom. The media campaign also had a meaning, I had a sense of accomplishment once I had finished it because it is something that will influence people around the world.” (Sam)
“The social media campaign stretched us and made us have to think outside the box.” (Deuchar)
Students have been using Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. They found that Facebook helps them interact with students who are home sick, archive group discussions which can be reviewed after class, and create group forums for ideas. However, older students are more wary, arguing that Facebook is a distraction that they would prefer to have blocked.
The trial continues…