Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Social Media in Education

imageThis posting is in response of our BC Ministry of Education work on the Communication Competency Continua.  The topic I choose to explore is social media by teachers in classroom.



  • With a public blog, there is an authentic audience. They can get comments from other students, parents and teachers.
  • With social media like the current darling, Instagram, students are highly engaged.
  • Communication is immediate and active.
  • Accessible anytime on any device (computer, handheld…etc).
  • Parent – teacher – school relationship that reduces barriers for reluctant parents.


  • Students see social media as their territory. It is very personal and they believe it is a unique world for them and their peers.
  • Students would have to follow the teacher or subscribe to updates. Would be challenging to get 100% uptake.
  • Hard to get attention of students in a model where student follow rather than being pushed the information such as via email.
  • Appropriate use needs to be taught, models and then reinforced when students make mistakes with digital communication.
  • Teacher use of social meeting needs to separate personal and professional uses to follow ethical guidelines.
  • District policy and procedures that may limit how and what teachers can do on social media.

New draft policy from our district:

When using Social Networking, Collaboration, Blogging, Media sharing tools, in relation to their role, employees are expected to…

1. use appropriate and respectful User Profile pictures, biographies, and other information to represent themselves.

2. not seek out and “friend” or connect with students without a clear educational purpose, a professional account and User Profile, and without first advising parents.

Case Studies:

A Girl in grade 7 who is very socially active in the class, school and community. She is a performer at local plays and musicals. She uses social media like facebook to connect and communicate with students from our school and other schools.

Hannah really enjoyed the creation and use of a class blog. My parents could see what I was posting.

From interview video:

  • Uses facebook 1-2 hours each day. Have Twitter but don’t use.
  • It would be cool to use some type of social media. For example, if there was a group in facebook for homework.
  • Students communicate and connect by texting, snapchat about homework and personal matters.
  • I’d have to make a different account for school use versus personal use.

A boy in grade 7 students with an amazing website that gets 1000’s of hits each month and has numerous subscribers to his podcast of the weekly radio show. He has collaborated with both independent performers and business like scholastic to have guests on his radio show.

From interview video:

  • Feedback from the site: I get emailed requests and links from the artists.
  • Youtube channel with homemade videos.
  • Collaboration with a band in Seattle.
  • Learning and presenting with videos at school is fun [motivating].
  • Teachers using social media is good because so many students are on it. It would be challenging to get students to follow.
  • Students only want to use technology for personal uses. I have a Macbook but I keep at home to make videos rather than bringing to class for school use.

Other Sources:

1. New Zealand has a site for teachers considering using Social Media: http://www.teachersandsocialmedia.co.nz/

2. “Did you know?” videos as a reason to use technology for student communication. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmwwrGV_aiE

3. BCEdPlan ‘learning empowered by technology’ strand: www.bcedplan.ca

4. School District 43 (Coquitlam) Digital Citizenship http://www.sd43.bc.ca/Resources/DigitalCitizenship


I’m looking for feedback about this post.  What makes sense and what else should be considered with students and teachers using social media for communication?