Sunday, 23 October 2011

Social Media Supporting teacher CPD - 3


More on Tweeting for Teachers although it's more using it as a launchpad for my own reflections.

National and local policymakers should:

1.  publish guidelines and support for teachers and leaders to help them use social 
media in schools;
There are various social media strategies out there.  The emphasis should be on the potential for teaching and learning.  Most guidelines I've seen are about control and read like rules and regulations which put teachers off and fit with the "danger" ethos as its mantra.  It's true that to write informed guidelines about potential for the various types of tools but it doesn't have to be detailed just give encouragement and a green light to this area.  I drafted some guidelines myself which hopefully will be used by my institution in the future.  I share them here for anyone to look at.

2. consider how they will begin to unfilter social media sites for use in schools;
Consider!  Just do it.  It highlights a contradiction in the way we educate.  In formal education it's necessary to control communication - quiet in class, no chatting, pay attention.  Social media is extra communication channels.  So we control it.  The problem is we need to use them for teaching and learning.  Banning social media is like banning talking in schools.  Sure you have to control inappropriate use but we cut off all that learning potential by banning it.

3.  recognise and celebrate self-directed professional learning by teachers using 
online tools, and the role of social media in this learning;
Building a culture where this is valued is important.  There are lots out there but they are isolated and poorly known in the mainstream.

4. create a common online space where the whole education community can find each other;
This is a bit vague and I have visions of a controlled, unwielding space with poor usability if something is done at a national level.  In the case study about Edubuzz, I was hoping for some information about how to do this for myself because it's this kind of purposeful initiative that I could see working for groups of schools.


5. ensure that all Initial Teacher Training courses demonstrate a strong focus on the use of social media tools for ongoing professional development.
Yes, make this law.  Can't see this happening any time soon.

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