Social media and your learning community

Sharing information from your learning community generally happens through establish ways

Dec 10, 2019
 
Sharing information within your learning community generally happens through established ways. If you’re looking to reflect on and review the communication strategy of your service, you’ll need to consider its effectiveness and be open to new approaches. 
 
You and your team know your individual context best, so it’s vital to use this knowledge when making any decisions about using new means of communication. The diversity of families and their varying expectations around what and how information should be provided by the service or school make meeting the communication needs of your learning community something to consider with care.  
 
Means of communication

Most schools and services use established ways of information-sharing, such as newsletters, conversations (phone calls, face-to-face) and/or email.

Many already use social media platforms personally, and with the internet being so widely used, it  presents opportunities to use this mode of communication in your learning community.
 
It is up to you whether you 'do' social media in your service or school or not. If you’re looking to get online, do consider these points:
 
Why you would want to use social media in your learning community?
  • 2018 social media statistics show that Australians are very active online, with almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) people participating. So you’re likely to make connections with your learning community by participating in the platforms and conversations they're already engaged in.
  • You can use social media to have conversations with families, your community and other learning communities. You might use the platform to:
  • post children’s work to communicate with families
  • educate and raise awareness in your learning community about mental health, learning, or your service philosophy
  • promote events.
  • It's an opportunity to establish an online 'voice' for your service or school - to publicise what you're about as an organisation and what's happening day-to-day.
  • With the need to be cyber-safe, using social media offers an opportunity to educate your learning community on developing critical literacy about information accessed online, and about modelling safe usage in front of children and young people.
Why you wouldn’t want to use social media?
  • Members of your community might not have access to social media, leading to some inequity in terms of reach.
  • Literacy levels could create complications or obstacles. This can involve having difficulties with written English, accessing or using computers.
  • Educators and families may have concerns around confidentiality or privacy. All people have different comfort zones around what information about them is available online.
  • People may be concerned about individuals or services being portrayed in a negative way or about comments or conflict-laden conversations taking place online.
  • Social media may not be trusted as a source of reliable or reputable information.
Getting started
  1. Once you’ve made up your mind about using internet channels for communication, think about what platforms would suit your community: find out what people are already using.
  2. Check your policies and procedures: see if they need to be modified for online engagement  in social media, and follow protocols if you're part of a wider education system. 
Think about: 
  • privacy and permissions
  • who decides content
  • who posts and moderates
  • rules for interacting with others on social media.
 
As with any change, there are intended and unintended consequences. Be mindful of what's happening with your social media presence. Participating in social media is an ongoing process that needs constant attention.
 
If you want to read more about communicating within your unique learning community, consider these Be You Professional Learning modules: