In my first response to Robyn Evans (Head of Marketing and Stakeholder Relations) request for opinion on Twitter and Social Media I focused on the use of these tools for teachers, teaching and learning. Since then introduced by Yr 10 and 11 English classes to Tweetories in English and enjoyed a brief email exchange with Prof Dylan Williams on the topic of feedback in the classroom. Twitter, or in this case Analogue providing a feedback back channel.
The second sub title proposed by Robyn Evans focused on Twitter and Social Media for school management and parental engagement. At the end of August I met with hyper-connected Assistant Headteacher @Stuartridout. During the informal meeting he used the term ‘socially enabled’ to describe his school website – covering its use of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Is this Parental Engagement? IMHO, sharing information and publicising the the inner working of the school / classroom is great exploitation of the social media, published to the world rather than ‘the corridor,’ but its only one aspect of engagement.Social media permits the sharing of information and content however tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have yet to be re-purposed for convey the information ‘we think’ parents want about their childs education, attendance, behaviour and academic progress.
To this end, technology has already made progress, there are a number of school exploiting ‘gateways,’ ‘sharepoints,’ and ‘portals’ to access data. Yet, I am still not sure that this alone constitutes engagement. What I am looking for, aspiring to, is an academic conversation about and including the learner.
The evidence for Twitter and Social Media for Professional Development is overwhelming? In fact the online conversation has CPD from continuous professional development to constant professional development. Communities #edchat, #engchat, #lrnchat, blogs, Nings, iTunes University, NCSL, Teacherstv, Teacher forums – if anything, any new ideas will find themselves in the shade of the innovators. Classroom 2.0 for example has over 47,000 members, Facebook literally hundreds of connected teacher conversations, school fan pages, hundreds of shared, collaborative resource focused wikis, Microsoft Learning Partners and Google Certified Teacher programme and we have not touched upon Youtube, Last.fm, Mind maps, RSS, blogs and photo sharing sites. Should teachers tweet? Should teacher use social media? If we set aside the inertia of getting started (and that is a debate in its own right) if you are not modelling learning yourself are you being an effective practitioner?