Monday, 12 October 2015

Twitter in Scottish Education

Following the interest in my research around Twitter in Scottish schools this post includes more data.

This time I focus on the 124 Scottish schools that I found who have more than one account. Collectively these schools have 629 accounts covering various subjects and topics... and provides these institutions with a reach of 175,000 people

Two weeks ago I listened to Chris van der Kuyl's Scottish Learning Festival keynote and, like many, I agreed with everything that he said.

I had tried to make ideas that were not too dissimilar to his ideas on innovation in education work in FE from 2012-2014. Any suggestions that I might have about Scottish schools using Twitter may not differ a great deal from this "Twitter in FE Report" that I wrote in 2010 but, given the budget cuts etc, I was to eventually find that FE wasn't in a good shape when it came to new ideas or innovation at the time .

In July 2014 I sent some information out to see if Scotland might be a good place to test my ideas but, as I mention in my last post, I found that it wasn't and/or my approach didn't work. What a difference a year makes!

After hearing Chris' keynote I got to work... I had some ideas that I thought were relevant. A challenge was that I didn't know too many people in Scottish education but after two weeks of employing some community management techniques the timing and my experiences with projects like #Get2ISTE have seen quite a different reaction.

Since the Scottish Learning Festival I have written 5 posts in support of Chris presentation. I am keen to use data to prove how and where I feel that Chris ideas are where things need to be. The first thing to do to prove this (And to get an idea of the lie of the land with where things were with social media in Scottish education), so I have been curating information over the last few days.

I 100% believe that what Chris mentions is possible, but something that I feel will greatly facilitate things is whether or not Scottish education can "get social".

I got to work on some research and it featured in TES Scotland on Friday. The research was nowhere near finished (and still isn't)... but I feel that it's important to put "social proof to work" to encourage others to get connected.

I will be adding to the existing resources that I have already shared and before sharing the latest spreadsheet there are two important points I would like to highlight.

1) This dataset is not complete, this does not every school Twitter account. I would welcome people to share any accounts that they would like to see added to the spreadsheets and maps I'm curating.

2) For anyone that is not on social media and is reticent to give it a go and think I'm one of the rah-rah-rah social media is great brigade... you're wrong.

I was skeptical and reluctant to get onto social media and would never advocate technology for the sake of it. I look for tools that can facilitate

Great Teaching and More of it

Which typically means that the tool frees up educators time so they can spend more time in the classroom or tools that facilitate learning outside the classroom.

I've not looked at too much of the content of Scottish schools twitter accounts... But I have no doubt that the kind of buzz that was around during the independence referendum could be applied to education.

Don't believe me? Please see the last paragraph of this post from the day before the General Election:
Chris van der Kuyl's presentation has provided a big opportunity, and I am confident that some of my experiences can help with this.

For any social media skeptics reading this, why should you listen to me? I would suggest that you shouldn't and that you don't! That said, I know the one thing that educators trust more than just about any other source... the views and opinions of their peers.

So instead of listening to me, maybe you can answer a question for me... which is this:

If Social media is such a waste of time/big risk/detraction/flash in the pan* (*delete as appropriate) in education why would schools like @LarbertHigh @GrangemouthHS @Fettes_College @StMungosFalkirk and @Stirling_High have 129 accounts between them?

Maybe the answer lies in the fact that they can reach 36,700 people with the click of a button, whether these followers are students, parents, local businesses or other educators, clearly they see there is value in this medium. Here's a link to a few Scottish schools Twitter accounts
I will be pulling more information together to do what I can to encourage people to "get social" here's the latest data set in two spreadsheets.

Scottish Schools with Multiple Twitter accounts
Includes 121 Scottish schools who have more than one Twitter account and have a collective reach of 175,000 followers. 

Scottish Schools Subject Based Accounts
This details the 413 accounts that focus on difference subjects and have a collective reach of 67,000 followers.

Surely there are some opportunities here for organisations like BBC Learning, SQA and Digital Scotland? Maybe it's also time to start using some #ScotEd hashtags (ie #ScotEdPE, #ScotEdSci, #ScotEdBiz etc) so students and faculty staff can share ideas and resources.

Map of Scottish Schools on Twitter 
Click on the map pin for more details about each school acct
NB All lists are still being worked on so please write a comment below or Tweet out to @EdTech_Stories if you want an account to be included.

More data and ideas to follow. I hope they help with some of the things that I believe are possible within a relatively short space of time.

After writing this post I noticed that Gary Walsh (@PeopleValues) is looking to establish #ScotEdChat, getting a new community up and running can be tough going so please support Gary by joining this new EdChat.

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