Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Nation of Innovation in Education: Getting Social

This post looks at the importance of Scottish schools getting social if the country is looking to become a nation of innovation in education... And in order to get social, some hustle will be required.

So, I'm following the first day of the Scottish Learning Festival via Twitter and a curious Tweet catches my eye. 

The Tweet is from TES Scotland and highlights that in a room full of educators and education stakeholders, only 3 people raise their hand with a question for the Education Minister.

My first thought is "That sounds like a culture and/or trust issue." This maybe isn't exactly news or an original insight given that educators are on the verge of industrial action.

#SLF15 Stats
But I wonder what the data has to say on the issue. I make a note to check the profiles of people who are Tweeting on the #SLF15 hashtag after the event… The results are a little surprising! What's surprising here is the lack educators voices at the event. Out of 545 people posting there were only 24 schools and 71 educators.

94 Suppliers
88 3rd Sector
84 Central Government
71 Teachers
28 Council 
24 Schools
2 Students

Out of over 500 people posting on the hashtag, only 20% are people who are in the classroom today. 

These stats remind me of an event I went to that was designed to help stakeholders engage with the areas local schools and there was a room full of 150-200+ people and when someone asked "How many people are here from schools today?" ... four hands went up. It was hilarious and depressing at the same time.

Perhaps there just aren't too many Scottish Educators on Social Media I think to myself. 

Raising a Digital Nation? Then Get Social!
Then on Friday I watch Chris van der Kuyl's keynote Raising the Digital Nation and I'm blown away, everything that Chris advocates for are things that I have been working on in education... However, the challenges are significant.

If anyone is looking to act on Chris' call to action then, in my experience, a big priority will be for schools to "Get Social." I’ve been looking at these issues for a while and have had projects that have been successful and others that failed. I have a good idea of why the exact same approach worked in one area of education, but didn't in others.

In my opinion, whether or not Scottish educators are able to become "Connected Educators" will have a big impact on how quickly change can be made. 

As a random sales person the best (Indeed the only) way to demonstrate this is to get data that supports this suggestion. This week I pulled together 610 Scottish school Twitter accounts and started curating and analysing the data.

Scottish Schools Twitter Data

In forthcoming posts I will be exploring this data in detail. There are three things that I hope to demonstrate is that;

1) Adoption of Technology
Technology does not roll out in a linear fashion and that, whether looking at education suppliers or government initiatives, the way things are done at the moment could be massively improved.

These improvements are pretty much what Chris advocated for when he addressed the Scottish Learning Festival delegates.

2) Social Media Training
The dates when school twitter accounts were opened and number of Tweets and followers that each schools has varies a great deal. The dates varying is normal and to be expected. 

52 accounts have more than 1,000 followers 
76 have less than 100 and 
53 accounts appear to be dormant. 

One school @KirnPrimary has 1,200 followers but has only sent 268 Tweets, while @Stirling_High has 1,900 followers after sending 10,300 tweets out.

What are the factors here? Will the data suggests that there may be a training issue with social media?

Something I am sure I would find curious is if I were to compare the followers that these groups have with education decision makers (MPs) + how often MPs visit the school / the number of times the MP has discussed social media with educators or students. 

Just before the General Election I curated the number of followers that candidates had as I wanted to assess the correlation between the election and Twitter followers. Collectively the 558 MPs on Twitter had almost 7 Million followers (But they also had more budget and may have had a dedicated social media advisor)

3) Raising a Digital Nation
Based on my experience and research, there are a number of factors that lead me to believe the things that Chris van der Kuyl discusses are possible... that Scotland can become a nation of innovation in education. It is also my belief that this could be achieved within a relatively short space of time, that is IF Scottish educators can become more social. 

One aspect of my work in the US has been to discuss the sales process and how technology gets adopted with my education contacts.

I hope to use this data set of Scottish Schools on Twitter to discuss the value of understanding things like "Network Effects," "Feedback Loops" "The Technology Adoption Cycle," "Product Market Fit," "Net Promoter Scores" and customer profiles.

The next link that you click is my attempt to put "social proof" to work to encourage more schools and educators to get onto social media and connect with colleagues. Check out this map of how many Scottish Schools have a Twitter account

268 Primary Schools & 246 Secondary Schools on Twitter

I'll be mentioning a few tools, resources and ideas in follow up posts but if seeing the number of schools who are now on Twitter has encouraged you to open an account, here are some suggestions for you to get started.

1) Open a Twitter account
2) Download the Tweachmeapp
3) Join the New Teachers to Twitter group by following the #NT2T Hashtag

4) October is Connected Educator Month, so check it out
5) Follow all these Twitter accounts to connect with other schools
6) Check out this list of EdChats and connect with colleagues who you have shared interests with. 

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