ohhhhh…..tweet me that:Blog 6 – Professional Online Social Networks


I don’t really use social media a lot in my teaching. I have found an awesome loophole though. If I really dislike a certain social media ‘thang’ that my students are doing or saying, I will use it in class, or in a post to them on our schools LMS (schoology). The resulting backlash of horrified, embarrassed disgust ensures that the offending behaviour is banished forever. For example, one poster with “cash me ousside, howbow dah?” means that I don’t have to put up with it anymore. It’s really quite remarkable. One of our staff members ‘dabbed’ at assembly and you could almost hear the crunching noises as a fad magically disappeared from the schools student-lexicon of approved actions or words.

Mindlab has opened my eyes to the possibility of blogging and reading the thoughts and stories of my fellow professionals. This online activity, mainly organised through google+, has made me think far more deeply about my own teaching. It’s opened up my classroom to the vicarious pleasures of the ways other people operate and I am sure that my teaching has improved as a result.

Mostly though, I have been thinking of ways to use social media for the benefit of the students. I canvassed my junior classes and they thought it would be fun (read ‘beneficial for engagement’) if we did a poetry unit that used all the elements of the many social media platforms. They came up with: Twitter poems – 140 characters exactly; Snapchat Pwith Haiku; Instagram picture with poem; Facebook “Found” poems; lots more……I guess the possibilities are only limited by our imaginations.

I include a Y9 haiku as an example…..she took a pic here at school then snapchatted it with her poem…all about the fleeting nature of spring. Kinda nice.


So the challenge for me is to use Professional Online Social Networks to further enhance my teaching and the experience my students enjoy in the classroom. I’ve got a Y10 student who is pretty exceptional, and she is some way ahead of her peers in producing work so I hooked her up (is that an expression?) with an online writers guild that reads, discusses, and critiques each others work. For the first few days I kept a wary eye on the postings, but so far it’s all been very positive and convivial. I will keep my eye on it though because it raises that question of what we are exposing our students to when we set them loose in the online world. The student, by the way, is loving it and she has stopped badgering me for constant feedback, and I can now spend more time with the strugglers….winner, winner, chicken dinner!





  1. Loved this blog and particularly the student ideas and poem which were so refreshing. This is Ako at its best isn’t it; them and you and now you and your professional colleagues all learning from each other and Social media allows us to do that. Your students have now made me reflect on my own teaching and thinking more broadly about creativity, and asking them for their ideas in creativity involving Social Media… and have now explored song writing sites for my students writing songs at level 2 – discovering a wealth of places and ideas for them. By helping your student to navigate an online critique site you are teaching her how to responsibly seek feedback using Social Media and how to give it too… perhaps that is what we have to see as our goal rather than worry too much about the fads in the way. Thanks


    • Thanks Catherine, I’d love to see the songs your students come up with! And the safe navigation of online sites is such a new area that we all are feeling our way through I think.


  2. Hi Greg another interesting read, thanks! I love the idea of using social media as a means of engagement with poetry! In your example, the extra layer of meaning is so clever. I do think as teachers we should embrace the opportunities social media offers us while at the same time investing in guidance around positive, safe digital citizenship.


  3. Oh chicken dinner! Loved the social influence of teachers ending the dab at your school. Don’t know if that approach would work with the nose pickers at my school.

    The use of twitter poem pages is great and certainly saves on feedback/feedforward teacher participation as girls are I suppose crowd sourcing responses. Does it create a competition base for most out-there poem?
    I am not sure about my year2s with twitter yet. Have been using adobe spark -which is open for commenting, dojo to communicate to home about proud moments.

    We created a ‘Classbook Page’ where we use post-it notes to comment. We are going to redo for our robot ideas… will introduce a heart for ‘like it’ and see what discussion comes from there.


  4. Greg blog Greg – I love the idea of using social media in a constructive and ‘authentic’ way to enhance the learning. I am a laggard when it comes to embracing social media – I seem to live it through my own children’s eyes – maybe I should be more proactive and more ‘early adopter’ when taking it on board in my classroom. Poetry is probably a great platform to get this started for me as well.


  5. I’m planning on gifting a figet spinners to every staff member – the one with the flashing reflective lights – in the hope that if the teachers have them it will kill the craze – thanks for the idea Greg – always inciteful!


  6. What a great idea using Snapchat, Twitter etc for your poetry? Did they only send these to each other, or were they able to post more freely? Did students take advantage of the use of these mediums and attempt to use them more freely in class after the fact? I also love the idea of the online writers guild, I wonder if there is potential for a MinEd based guild that has mediators to provide us with the safety for our students?

    Thanks for the great and entertaining post, you have a great way of processing the information and providing awesome practical activities to keep momentum in your classroom.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s