We’ve been talking to more people this week who ask what the social school logo is about on Facebook pages we’ve created and the answer is very simple. A Social School is one that takes to heart the philosophy of parental engagement by reaching out using social media. Simple as that.
“How do you know if you’re ready to be a social school?” is often the next question. We answer simply in the style of the late Steve Jobs who, when asked how he’d know when submitted iPhone apps ‘crossed the line’ and not get approved to go on the App store, he pretty much said “We’ll just know.”
It’s the same for you. It’s a gut thing that we find people, particularly Heads, just have. The list of ‘why they can’t’ shrinks to be replaced with a list of ‘why we should’.
The BETT Show at Olympia this year was really great for us. Lots of friends from all the years we’ve spent in the ICT ‘industry’ as a customer and now as a supplier. Brilliant and loved seeing both sides. The people we talked to ranged from Spanish Colleges through to Heads and leadership teams from UK primary, secondary, public & private sectors who all face the same challenge. They all had the same question:
“Do you do Facebook in schools?”
I heard that people don’t think the learning platform is dead quite recently too? Seems to me that this depends on how broad your definition is of these things and while there are lots of schools still with single BECTA spec platform systems out there, there are other people doing it differently.
My own view is that the learning platform in its original incarnation is deader than a dodo. The opportunities are much greater now to do this differently and the bloated beast of a learning platform that some schools still have will never be a place for parents to come into as well. Just my view.
Many years ago (before Facebook had captivated the masses) I don’t think I was along in buying into the dream that parents would log in to a VLE or suchlike and by osmosis we’d reach them with ‘great stuff’ and stimulate interaction and engagement but that was just a dream. The change management was too great and the costs – well don’t even go there.
Now it seems very simple to me. Go where your ‘customers’ are and if that’s Facebook you’ll want to be making your way down there soon. Yes – it’s their turf as much as it’s yours and yes you’ll feel like someone in fancy-dress at a formal dinner for a while but long term you’ll be glad you made the move.
Here’s some interesting stats about UK Facebook users. We were a bit surprised about the gender split and maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye. Our experience seems to indicate that it’s the ladies who engage more with our schools’ Facebook pages than the men.
To add to the mix, this report from All Facebook (2010) aims to shed some light on the differences between how men and women use Facebook. Are they right?
men do news
ladies do social & family
Do look at the report and maybe, cautiously, extrapolate the findings in the context of a school Facebook page. It’d be good to reach more Dads, right?
If you’re lucky enough to be able to get down to BETT this year then we’d love to see you on stand B100 thanks to our friends at Acer .
We’ll be around on Thursday afternoon from @2.30 pm for chats and Friday morning for a couple of talks to larger groups about Facebook and ‘fishing where the parents are‘. John Bidder will be the person to look out for; he will answer any questions on parental engagement with Facebook for schools. Have a great week if you’re at BETT (& even if you don’t get there have a super week too!)
Also, we just came across this issue of photos in Facebook and interestingly it’s one issue we seem to have cracked by collaborating with schools so if you want to see how come have a chat at BETT.