Sunday, 23 October 2011

Social Media Supporting teacher CPD - 2

This post continues discussing the newly released report Tweeting for teachers.  They list 5 recommendations for school leaders and 5 for policy makers.  My first thought is how many school leaders will read this?  Probably very few unless they have a strategy for promoting it beyond a website.  I'll discuss each recommendation which you can read about on p30-33:


1.  School leaders should learn about and engage with the social platforms that their teachers, parents and pupils are using every day;
Yes, indeed.  The idea that springs into my mind is that what we need to do is get teachers in general using social media for themselves.  By using it for themselves ideas will spark about how they can use it in their teaching.  Trying to teach using something alien to the rest of their lives isn't easy but this is what we are often asking them to do.  Social media are ways of communicating, they are new communication channels.  Ways of communicating SHOULD be of interest to us in education.
The logical next step for me is to try and conceive of a training event which caters for this need.  This could be a sister session to my 21st century tools for teaching and learning session and would concentrate on how educators can use social media for themselves, in their own learning.  This would also fit nicely with the sentiment of this report.
As a bullet point to this recommendation, there is the old chestnut of justifying them using these tools themselves to understand the kids' world.  I remember saying this to National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) participants 10 years ago.  It's true enough but many argue against it.  Practicing what you preach applies and it all comes down to a human beings unwillingness to learn after a certain age.  It's incredible how many resist it.

2. School leaders should use a social media tool as part of their communications with the school
community;
This would be a good way of establishing it's validity.  The problem is that the only relationship much of social media has with formal education is to be banned, it's associated with negative things.
  You have to stick your head above the paraphet to alter this.

3. validate and support their staff in using social media tools for ongoing professional development;
This is a positive strategic move which also give the mode validity for learning.  This could start with one tool that some people have good experiences and understanding of within the school or institution.

4. turn online activity into offline actions, in order to harness the benefits of face-to-face interaction alongside those of online interaction;
This is about using technology within the classroom.  Tablets will impact on this in the future.  However, this is whole new area in itself.  In the classroom or for homework there is scope for both but shouldn't be blurred together as both need carefully planned learning design.

5. implement robust systems for evaluating the impact of CPD on teacher effectiveness and student outcomes
No comment on this one.

The next post will consider the recommendations for policy makers.

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