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The use of Social Media in Education. Cherryl Drabble Erica Walwyn Highfurlong School. Why use social media?. Ofsted are now acknowledging social media and its influences in Education Its a great resource for sharing good practice and ideas

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The use of social media in education

The use of Social Media in Education


Erica Walwyn

Highfurlong School

Why use social media
Why use social media?

  • Ofsted are now acknowledging social media and its influences in Education

  • Its a great resource for sharing good practice and ideas

  • As a new generation of teachers already aware and in control of their technology you have so much to offer amongst previous generations who are sometimes wary of change.

How we started
How we started...

  • 4 years ago one of our student teachers used Twitter during his final lesson observation.

  • He tweeted pupils’ work live during the lesson

  • He received feedback instantly on Twitter, people loved what he was doing

  • His lesson was marked as ‘Outstanding’ by his tutor.

Why we joined twitter
Why we joined Twitter

  • Having experienced this ‘Outstanding’ lesson I knew this ‘Twitter’ was something special that we were missing out on.

  • I joined and started sharing lesson plans and resources.

  • I began following the influential names and slowly began gathering a fair amount of followers.

  • I then started ‘blogging’ about topics that were personal and current in my role.


  • Please follow ‘SocialMediaCPD’ and tweet the ways you use Twitter.

  • Does not have to necessarily have to be for professional reasons but lets keep it clean.


  • Keep those professional boundaries

  • If you use social media have 2 accounts, one for personal and one for professional use. That way you don’t have your friends commenting on work matters and you don’t have parents, pupils, influential followers or employers seeing pictures of your antics on a Saturday night.


  • Be aware of your employers policies when it comes to using social media, some schools can be very strict on what is put on whereas others may use it all the time. Liaising with the school ICT coordinator/teacher is always a good idea.

  • Do make sure you have permission from parents before putting pictures of their child on Facebook/Twitter (for looked after children there are very strict guidelines on this).


  • Remember that even on your personal account, you are in a position of authority and respected by your pupils, when something is published online you can never erase that image even if you take the picture down, it takes 2 seconds for it to fall into the wrong hands and shared with people who you don’t want seeing it.


  • Look to you Senior Leadership Team if introducing social media into a school that doesn’t use it already.

  • As Assistant Head Teacher I had courage in what I was doing and knew the book stopped with me for what I was posting. I had well rounded knowledge of school’s policy on social media and safeguarding.

Do not

  • Post distasteful pictures of pupils or staff. Remember if you are using Twitter to share pupils work or show them engaged in an activity the image should be showing just that. You have to be aware of safeguarding at all times.

  • Follow or ‘befriend’ people on you personal account if they are pupils or parents as you are subjecting yourself to numerous consequences

Do not1

  • Post the child’s first and last name on the social media account. Your primary responsibility at all times is to protect the child.

How we fed twitter into highfurlong
How we fed Twitter into Highfurlong...

  • There was much resistance at first to sharing work on Twitter, as you know people don’t like change and things they are not familiar with.

  • Even now there are not many of our staff on Twitter yet most are on Facebook.

  • Erica is one of the only other members of staff in school to use Twitter to communicate with outside companies after writing testimonial for one of them for their website.

Influential bloggers followers
Influential bloggers/followers

  • Mike Cladingbowl – Director of Ofsted

  • Tristram hunt – Education Secretary for Labour

  • Sam Freedman – Michael Gove’s Advisor

  • Ofsted themselves

  • Nigel Utton – Head Teacher chair of Heading for Inclusion (resigned in protest of culture of testing)

  • Sue Cowley – Educational writer

  • Teacher Toolkit – most widely followed educational tweeter

  • Vic Goddard – Head Teacher of Passmores Academy

  • David Didau – Best Selling Author

  • Old Andrew – Michael Gove’s favourite blogger

What happened next
What happened next..

  • At Easter I was invited to the Department for Education to discuss the new Primary Curriculum and Assessment. As1of only 9 bloggers in the country invited I was honoured.

  • Last week I received an invite to Ofsted HQ to discuss the Framework for Inspection and how it can be improved.

  • I created a new venture to sync all SEN blogs. They are sent to me to collate and put in one place for easy reference for other people. It went live on 8th May 2014.

  • I am now regularly asked my opinions on SEN by other universities.

How can we improve
How can we improve?

  • Although we use social media regularly in school, because of admin privileges and time the only person to post to our school pages are myself and the ICT coordinator if it is a Facebook post, no one else Tweets using the school account.

  • If I was to be absent the momentum would stop and we would have no posts.

  • It will be part of our future School Development Plan to have a contingency plan so we will still communicate via social media.

How can new teachers use social media
How can new teachers use social media?

  • As an NQT joining a new school being confident in using social media in education will give you a voice and the ability to make a change in issues in education.

  • My advice as an NQT is to make yourself indispensable, you could potentially lead the school’s use of social media and raising their profile and at the very least be a regular figure on your school’s account.

  • As part of our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report the inspector loved how engaged parents were with the school, this has always been difficult prior to social media.

  • DFE and Ofsted are now using social media. This is your chance to change things.