As teachers we are taught that social media is a terrible thing… It is a medium through which children and adults can be bullied, your personal life made public and woe betide you publish anything that could bring the school into disrepute. Trainee teachers disguise themselves with aliases lest they are identified by their teenaged charges , their bikini pic from Ibiza sent around the whole school and authority undermined.
Whilst the warnings about the dangers of social media, appropriate privacy settings and protecting your identity are all useful they can also detract from how much social media can be a force for good. If there is one complaint teachers in all settings make, it’s that they don’t have enough time. Administration eats into the time we’re meant to have to plan creative lessons and let’s face it there are times when you just don’t feel that creative! In an ideal world we would sit with colleagues, leisurely discussing pedagogy and creative lesson ideas whilst sipping Earl Grey in a well lit staff room with a ready supply of HobNobs. Unfortunately we teach in a far from ideal world… This is where the virtual world can come to the rescue!
There are several platforms through which teachers can interact but Facebook and Twitter are the most mainstream (unless you teach Art when it’s Pinterest all the way!) Personally my Facebook is full of my actual life, friends, children, days out.. I am in one professional group. Whereas my Twitter is almost entirely dedicated to Chem ed. Scrolling through my Twitter feed in a spare 10 minutes will quite often throw up an interesting idea or discussion. You don’t even have to be ‘sociable’, you need never Tweet if you don’t want to, Twitter is an excellent space for the educational equivalent of the voyeur…
This is my latest ‘steal’ from Twitter. I have just started following @pedagoo and #pedagoofriday has proved to be a great place to spark my creativity. A history teacher (sorry, I didn’t get the alias in my frantic scrolling) posted pictures of historical figures turned into Lego (c) minifigures. I turned that into scientists, generated a list of appropriate names (all chemists) and a template and voila, perfect Year 7 homework. This is my WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like for the uninitiated in Eduspeak!)
I’m forward to collecting them in in a week’s time.