Your Stories

Engaging through Facebook

"My students loved to know that I was working for them"

Alexandra Smith
Papatoetoe High School - Physical Education

Social media used effectively to support students

Social media provided my students with access to more support; they were able to ask me questions outside of class time. They posted practice paragraph answers, personal reflections, feedback. It became a way to connect with my students in a medium that they are all so comfortable with.

Ethical issues

At first, I didn’t want to set up a Facebook page for my class as I was worried about the ethical issues. My way around this was; I developed a Facebook account separate to my personal one, using my teacher code and school email address. As a class we set up a Facebook group so only students in our class could be part of it.

Processes to work around the ethical issues

As a class we set rules and disabled private chat to ensure everything was transparent. These rules were developed by the students and are very similar to any rules you would expect to see in a classroom. I also emailed all parents to ensure they were aware of the purpose of this group and showed this page during parent teacher interviews.

What were the positive outcomes?

Our class Facebook page has helped develop a culture of excellence; it is a way to strengthen and encourage the clear expectations I have of my students. My students loved to know that I was working for them, they could ask a question about homework tasks or something they didn’t understand from the day’s lesson and I could give them individual feedback when they wanted and needed it. They liked to know I was working for them outside of our timetable classes, just like I expect them to.

What worked well for you and/or your learners?

To my surprise the most active users of the Facebook group were the students who often seem disconnected during class discussions; this was a way for me to connect with them in a way that worked for them. After school and/or at night I would check in, post comments about the day’s lesson, share photos of practical lessons, give positive feedback about the assessments I was marking or pose a question.  It provided a forum for us to engage and reflect on the learning that was taking place.

Social media type

  • Learners

    Teachers have a professional obligation to develop and maintain professional relationships with learners based on the best interests of those learners.

  • Parents/Guardians and Family/Whānau

    Social media provides a great opportunity to collaborate and communicate with parents and whānau.

  • Society

    Teachers who model good social media use will grow learners who apply positive, respectful values in their interactions on social media platforms.

  • The Profession

    As a member of the profession you should seek and respond to opportunities to share knowledge and discuss concerns.