Top 5 tips for schools using social media

Matt Britland

Matt Britland is Director of ICT at The Lady Eleanor Holles School and is also also the Director of Realise Learning, education consultancy. He writes for the guardian Teacher network and specialises in mobile technology, social media, education technology, Computing and is a regular conference speaker.

Follow @mattbritland

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There are many potential benefits of using social media in the classroom: it can improve your relationship with pupils, and inspire them to spend more time on their work. Before setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, however, significant preparation is required. Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Vision

This is essential if you are going to convince your school that using social media in education is a good idea. Why do you want to use social media? Is it primarily for teaching and learning, or  communicating with students, parents or even the public?

In order to get an idea whether your use of social media has worked you will need to decide what your aims and objectives are, and assess how well these have been met later on. If you’re stuck, do some research on how other schools have used social networks. You could also check educational blogs and ask some questions on Twitter.

2. Administration

It is important to be able to keep track of all of your accounts and groups. If you don’t, there is a danger of it becoming a free-for-all with different staff members setting up groups or accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. I find it easier to keep track of all this activity online using Google Apps, which also lets me share documents with other teachers who can amend certain details if necessary.

If you are leading the social media initiative I would advise you to be a member of all groups or follow all Twitter feeds. You can then help to moderate their use and give teachers advice when they need it, in addition to drawing up a list of rules and guidelines that staff members should follow.

3. Training

Before implementing social media in your school, give all students digital citizenship lessons, including training in e-safety. During online safety lessons, I like to actually go through Facebook’s privacy settings with my students, rather than just speaking about them.

My preferred model is to dedicate time in ICT lessons for this, although some schools do this in PSHE. This is fine as long as those teaching it are fully trained, and preferably users of social
media themselves.

Training teachers in how to use social media, as well as how they can protect their profile, is also important. They need to be confident users if they are to buy into the idea of using it in their school. Finally, get the parents involved. Run an information evening and show them what young people use the internet for and let them know how you are educating their children to use the internet safely and productively.

4. Content

Social media can be used for extra curricular clubs, trips, marketing and communication, but it is also a powerful tool for teaching and learning. It could be used simply as a means of broadcasting information quickly to your students. Taking it a step further, you could make it mandatory to contribute to Facebook groups for a project in order to guarantee collaboration and online discussion. Students could share links, videos, audio and their work with their group via social media - it could even be part of their homework.

If you intend to share information using social media, make sure you do not abandon it. If you stop using it or rarely update it, your students may lose interest. However, don’t overload students with information, as they will struggle to keep up or just decide to ignore what you are posting. Finally, everything you share should be relevant to the course or project.

5. Evaluation

After a set period of time, it is important to evaluate the initiative. Both students and teachers need to be asked in order to get an accurate and balanced perspective of how well your aims and  objectives have been met. The best route for me was to create a form using Google Apps, which was then emailed to everyone involved.

Once you have done this, you will be able to judge whether social media is a successful and worthwhile learning tool for your school. It will then be useful to come up with a list of recommendations and compile a report on your findings.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"