Social media for education leaders
For teaching professionals figuring out how to use social media in the classroom, embeddedness is key, according to Neil Hopkin, Executive Head Teacher in London. It is impossible, he says, to tackle an issue without first immersing yourself in it, experiencing the problems first-hand, and understanding the issue from different perspectives.
Hopkin also raises the critical point that social media learning will not work if merely tacked on to traditional (read: top-down) learning. Personally, I’ve had teachers who posted questions to an online discussion board with the intention to harness social media, but failed to think through how to guide the discussion, or even to participate in it themselves.
The result? Each student in my class (including me) posted the obligatory three postings and no more. Contributions were piecemeal and mostly one-directional. I learned more about the subject by trawling real blogs and forums out there that were delightfully active, engaging, and enlightening. A 20-minute Skype chat with a classmate gave me more insights on the subject than the teacher’s 5MB slidedeck ever could.
Read more about the elements of successful social media learning by Hopkin here. His key point is that there is no one successful model of social media learning. Instead, one needs to take the effort to understand the school culture and situational needs of the class, and figure out together with students the model that works best for them and the teacher.