Twittering in the classroom, that was a long time ago.
The cohort that I wrote that blog about left school last week. They were just starting S4 at the time.
It has been a fair fast flowing few years and we have seen social media grow over that time.
Am I going to be annihilated by the bosses for using twitter? Well no, I wasn’t.
Still, some colleagues gently patted me on the head, smiled and said something along the lines of “The GTCs would fry us!”
So I contacted the GTCs and got a very supportive response. Essentially telling me I am not going to be in trouble with the GTCs, so long as my bosses are ok with it.
The framework we were using was approved and, these years on, I think we are safely using twitter appropriately.
How has it developed?
Now, several parents follow the feed
This is a very important, if unexpected, development. Some children tell me they are not permitted to use social media. By using this life skill in our work, parents are letting go a little but also following themselves. The fact we can help pupils understand when they make a mistake and tweet something poorly thought out.
In fact, in that time, I have had two pupils make comments that were a bit “off” but nothing major. For most people, Social Media is rather self-regulating.
We link with local community
So, imagine when the local MP or councillors tweet a link or comment about Pay Day loans. My local MP, whose office is right across from the school, is Fiona O’Donnell who is a big campaigner. The numbers are interesting, the links to poverty and to modern studies etc.
This lets us get that message out to the kids. Maths is awesome (stop singing that song!)
I also follow the local sports teams of every sport, it gives me a heads up when a pupil gets a gold medal in a swimming contest or similar. I can’t rely on the kids telling me (they ARE teenagers after all) but they do love getting praised, so long as thy can whinge about it too.
Banter is good
Banter, or “Bant’r” with a strong east coast accent. This is important for teenagers. We don’t instigate Banter with kids, but we do with other departments. When the English department tweeted a photo of the debating team standing in the Disney store with kermit and Miss Piggy. It was my DUTY to tweet “who is the muppet on the right?” And yes it was a DHT and no I didn’t get sacked. Maths and English having a laugh together. Suddenly pupils see the maths and English department are not great enemies. This stuff matters to some kids.
24/7 support when it is needed
That is not a by-product of the experiment. It is the reason for being.
Pupils don’t panic about my homework, they don’t worry about what day a test is one. And as three teachers now use the same account, I no longer have to answer all the queries by myself, and I also get to help kids I don’t know. It is like a Quality Assurance exercise, and it helps children.
A little nuclear weapon in parental discussions.
“I have had to get a tutor as he struggles with his maths homework”
“He knows he can tweet me any time for help. Take a photo of the page and…”
“Wait ’till I get home and see him!”
Every department has it now
Culture has changed. The pedagoo power of positivity became a critical mass. No longer am I the geeky one (I never was geeky, mind!)
Some people were afraid I was letting kids use their phones in class. This was not true, because it was against the school rules. If I wanted people to trust me, I had to use their familiar boundaries in general. Once they realised I was not against the grain, really, people joined in.
Now we really have feeds for parents from the main school account and kids can “tune in” to what ever school feeds they feel helpful. No point in getting chemistry feeds if you don’t study it or find it interesting.
PE, Sport, RE, Maths, English, Chemistry, Physics, the list just kept growing. That is fab.
Keeping up foreign relations.
I don’t mean the other side of the world, but other maths departments locally. Most teachers don’t see the council boundary lines as reasons to avoid talking either so tweets to and from maths departments in the region and beyond just enrich the learning experience. It also builds up resources and links. “See how you tweeted that you had just finished a Nat 4 homework book….”
Just interesting to see how it all changed.
And now from being the hunter, to being the hunted. This is the first pedagoo post that I have had to await approval of. #pedagooAdmin (RTD)