Why Schools are Spooked by Social Media

I was pleased I was listening to ABC Radio Melbourne this morning when I heard the next segment was going to be about social media in schools.

While I braced myself for a flood of ill informed callers harping on the negatives of Facebook and the like I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Denis Masseni, a Monash university lecturer and a director of Sponsor-Ed was the guest on the topic. Denis has written a report called “Why Schools are spooked by social media”, which presents findings from a survey of 140 principals on the subject of social media.

Throughout the radio segment, Denis addressed many issues related to social media in schools and callers also provided interesting insights. The most compelling statement for me was when a caller said something like “hospitals and banks can no longer operate without computers but classrooms can.” This is so sad but true and really says it all to me about the change that is needed in schools.

I enjoyed the conversation that ensued and subsequently sought out Denis’s report.

This 34 page paper is well worth reading. It is a powerful document that illustrates how the commercial sector uses social media in many ways which could be imitated by schools. It also addresses the “blockers” that stop schools from utilising social media.

If you are having trouble accessing the embedded report, visit this link to download a copy.

Denis defines the term social media as accessing, sharing, commenting and collaborating online, and for the sake of the paper, as blogging, Twitter and email newsletters.

In summary, the premise of the report is “With over 9 million people in Australia accessing social media (46% of the population), including 43% of small businesses and over 70% of not for profits, why are schools under-represented in their use of this new communications device in connecting with their parent community?”

The following statement from the report rang very true with me, (evident by the fact that a large amount of parents at my recent parent-teacher interviews commented how much they enjoy our class blog and regular class e-newsletters).

“Simply delivering information in more contemporary mechanisms and allowing for two-way communications will lift parental involvement and promote engagement. Parents don’t connect in the school yard in the numbers they once did – the pace and pressure of modern life has seen to that”

Denis sums up the future of social media with this statement:

“The way forward is to find schools that are enthusiastic about extending social media to parents and support their activities technologically, strategically, tactically and philosophically. These schools will provide the benchmarking for those waiting for someone to go first. We need the early adopters.”

What do you think about Denis Masseni’s report?

Why are schools spooked by social media?

4 Replies to “Why Schools are Spooked by Social Media”

  1. it really is about time that those in charge who still have their heads in the sand sat up and took notice of reports like these. You are so right about parents loving to communicate via blogs and online newsletters. I think it is because it makes the work seems real and alive and of course they can compare without seeming nosy!

  2. @ Henrietta, those in charge really should look at reports like these. I am finding the more open and online I make my classroom, the more positive parent feedback I am getting. It is so nice to hear. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. I think that schools are so spooked because they don’t really understand it. They have heard the negative often in the form of a news special that looks at .001% of what is happening in the social media realm. This is a really great report, thank you for sharing it!

  4. @ Kelly – it is that lack of understanding that really does make schools spooked. Unfortunately ignorance = fear. Hopefully we can do something about spreading the word that social media is ok!

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