As I am the Director of Technology, this “unit” is a project that I will work on across the entire school community literally. This project is a social media education program that spans the entire community.
In the first prong, I will work to educate parents on the world of social media. Many parents have a Facebook account and are familiar with that single website, but many many more do not keep up with the other forms of social media that their children are using. I find most parents live in fear of tools like Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter. Also they don’t see how these tools could fit into their lives in either a purely social or educational way.
I find there are two things that work best with parents and I will plan to pursue these areas as I progress through this “unit”. The first are general informational settings with lots of resources embedded. Essentially this will be a big group in the theater or library, with me advertising the session to parent ahead of time (using the parent association is key!) I’ll present an overview of social media with some tips for the parents to use at home etc.
The second piece that I will use with parents is a more hands-on session where they can try out about the various social media tools that are out there. This may be a session where I invite students as well, but my first thought is to make this a parent-only session. This part is essential as most parents who will attend the “teaching session” will not actually go home and try out the tools I mention.
The second prong is teacher education. This one will be fun! Sure there are a handful of teachers out there who are using social media for personal goals, but the number of teachers using social media in the classroom is very small. In some non-scientific preliminary research (AKA water cooler conversations) most teachers at my school feel that social media is for personal use (catching up with friends etc.) and they should not cross the line into educational social media. It’s interesting to me, as the social media I use the most, Twitter, is completely professional for me. I very rarely post personal content.
Through faculty meetings, after school workshops and personal meetings, I will paint a new picture of how social media can be used. I think it will be best to connect teachers within the school first. In this way they will have their own little social network. Quickly though, I will link these small groups to the larger world since that is the point after all! There is much work to be done here and there are some unique laws in Norway regarding the use of social media but I am truly excited about starting this fire in our faculty.
Students. They are the focus of the last prong of this project/unit. As we know, students are typically the heavy users of social media, but they are creating and consuming on social media with a (mostly) non-educational purpose. It’s a means to connect with their peers, not necessarily to truly connect with the world. I also find that many students do not understand some of the basic guidelines for social media. So my approach with students will be to educate them about best practices and also get them to see the value of connecting their lives and their work to a broader audience.
This “unit”/social media project is going to rock some worlds here at my school! I know there are some parents, teachers and students who are ready for this step, but there are plenty that are not. Wish me luck as I endeavor to expand the personal learning networks of our entire community!