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The Importance of Students’ Online Reputation: How Can We Help?

Online safety is an important aspects of any students education whether it is delivered through ICT/Computing, PSHE or tutor periods. It is expected to be taught in every school and our students need to be aware of the dangers of the internet and how to behave appropriately. My worry is that we spend so much time talking about the dangers of the internet and social media that we don’t always show our students or in fact staff how positive it can be. A positive digital footprint or online reputation can help our students get into university, get a job or get involved with productive activities outside of school. The question is – how can we develop our students positive online reputation in schools?

Firstly, the increase use of social media in schools would help promote productive use. I am very passionate about it and have written several articles and spoken at confernces on the subject. Embracing social media in schools is the best way for our students to engage with it in a way they previously have not. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook can be used for teaching and learning. For instance, students can be encouraged to tweet about their subject and engage in online discussions with other students and their teacher (using a school account). This is all part of their digital footprint and shows those looking at their profile that they are interested in their studies, which gets more important the older they get.

Blogging is also an important tool for developing an online reputation. It gives students an audience for the their writing that is not just their teacher as they are essentially publishing work online. They could write assignments in the format of a blog post or write about what they have been learning, which could in turn be used for revision. Blogging is also something that can be used beyond classroom studies. Its a great way of writing about things that interest them outside of school. It could be a sports team, music, films, outside academic pursuit or perhaps something that could interest them career wise.

Another fantastic way to improve our students online presence would be to incorporate digital CV’s into career lessons. We should encourage students to publish their CV’s online using about.me, LinkedIn or even using a blogging service like WordPress or Blogger. This will give them another way to sell themselves to colleges, universities and employers.

Using social networks and blogs all fits in with what students are being taught in e-safety lessons. Anything they share needs to be thought about and young people need to be confident that what they are posting will show them in a good light. You only need to look at the incident involving Paris Brown to see the importance of having a positive digital footprint. She lost her job as the first Youth Crime Commissioner when it emerged she had posted some offensive tweets on Twitter several years earlier. Teachers have even been caught out because of things they have said online. Our students digital footprint is more important than ever.

There are a number of websites and resources that are useful for helping to teach this. Ollie Bray has shared a useful image that could be used in an assemble on the digital footprint on the GTN resources section. Along the same lines is a great infographic on Edudemic about how different generations leave a digital footprint. The UK Safer Internet Centre website has a great section on professional reputation. It has some great information about online reputation including research as well as tips and advice. Which can certainly be included in lessons or for assemblies.

One great set of resources on online reputation and digital footprint can be found on the LifeSkills website. Once registered teachers can download free lessons and workshops. These contain plans, presentations, worksheets and interactive games for students to engage with. They cover everything from the effective use of social media to online reputation lessons. This will help our students for the future and help them understand how digital technology can help them in further education as well as for finding employment.

The importance of a positive online reputation cannot be underestimated. When our students apply for a job the potential employer will more than likely search for them online. If our students are able to do some of the things I have written in this article, they will be much more desirable to the employer as rather than come across some questionable posts on social media they will find work experience, blogs posts, online CV, a portfolio of work or constructive online discussions. The same works for universities or colleges searching for students who have applied for their institutions.

Students can use the internet and social media to their advantage, we just need to show them how.

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Professionalising The Use Of Social Media: Research in Practice (Presentation)

This is the presentation I gave at the Research in Practice annual meeting about Professionalising the use of social media. It was a great morning and I met some amazing people who are really interested in using social media.

Getting Savvy With Social Media: EdExec Live

On June 18th I will be speaking at EdExec live about social media. My talk is entitled “Getting Savvy With Social Media”.

To help promote my talk I wrote a short blog post on social media, giving a taste of what my talk will be about. You can have a read below.

Head over to the EdExec live website to read the original post and click HERE for tickets.

Using social media is a scary prospect for many schools and teachers. There are a lot of schools who don’t fully understand social media and what a powerful tool it can be for teaching and learning as well as for marketing.  It’s hard to relate to social media if you don’t use it yourself which is why it’s so important to have an expert in your school. This expert can help train members of staff, write an expectable use policy as well as mange and lead you social media strategy.

There are a number of options when considering social media, which include Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, but my personal favourite would be Twitter. It’s easy to understand and manage; it’s uncomplicated and gives short bursts of teaching and learning as well as marketing.

Using social media enables schools to broadcast information including achievements, open days, school trips, sporting results and anything else that promotes the school in a positive way. This is fantastic not only for current students and parents but for prospective parents too.

Teaching and learning can also benefit greatly from the use of social media. Having used Twitter and Facebook for these purposes I’ve really been able to see the value of it. Not only is this great for students and teachers but it shows current and prospective parents the impressive things that departments are doing.

When using social media, schools need to be aware of some of the pitfalls. Common mistakes are tweeting from a work account instead of a personal account by mistake, posting images of students whose parent have requested not to be photographed, spelling mistakes, sharing links to articles that have not been checked and sharing incorrect information.

Matt Britland is director of ICT at The Lady Eleanor Holles School. He’s also an ed tech consultant, an avid tweeter and blogs for the GuardianIf you want to learn more about social media, don’t miss Matt’s seminar at EdExec LIVE 2014. 

Use Facebook in School: Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators

A couple of months ago Facebook published ‘Facebook Guide for Educators’ which I was lucky enough to contribute to. Here is a taste:

“Schools are beginning to use Facebook Groups to communicate with students. This is a very powerful tool for sharing information and collaborating with students from a safe distance. Facebook Groups do not require members to be friends with each other. Members of the Groups can exchange files, links, information, polls and videos very quickly. Anytime someone contributes to the group its member will receive a notification. If you have the Facebook smartphone app these can be pushed to your device. Facebook Pages can also be used to create a central Page for students and teachers to share information”

Matt Britland,

Head of ICT at Kingston Grammar School

This is a fantastic document for those who are thinking about using Facebook in their institution or even those who are already using it.

The document includes lots of information about how Facebook can be used, case studies, guidance on privacy settings as well as how you can introduce Facebook at your school.

You can download the guide below:

Facebook Guide for Educators

I have recently completed a trial of Facebook use in my school which you can read below:

Using Facebook Groups in School

You can also read a guide to social media in schools below:

Social Networks in School

If you would like more advice on social media or would like me to come and speak at your school, head over to Realise Learning and get in touch.

Top 5 Tips on Using Social Media in Education (Presentation)

I have just finished a webinar for Optimus Education entitled ‘5 Top Tips to Safely and Effectively Utilise Social Media as a Tool to Support Learning’ and I wanted to share the slides. Have a look and feel free to download if you like it.

On the 15th October I am also speaking at ‘Design and Deliver an Outstanding Secondary Computing Curriculum‘, again, for Optimus Education. It will a great day and you can sign up using the link.

If you would like a speaker at a school, conference or webinar head over to www.realiselearning.co.uk.

Using Facebook Groups in School – A Brief Report/Evaluation

For the past year I have been trialing the use of Facebook groups in school, to see if they improved communication with some of our students.

I have finally written a brief report on my findings. These include surveys given to teachers and students, as well as some recommendations for next year.

Click on the link below to download the report.

FACEBOOK REPORT

You may also be interested in more of my posts on Social Networks:

JISC Inform – Social Media, Who Needs It?

E-Safety Presentation for Parents – Part 2: Social Networks

Facebook Privacy Settings – Teach Your Students

Social Media for Schools

Social Networks in Schools: How to Make it Work