Your Stories

Making submissions to Parliament

"During a unit on social sciences my class made a video submission to a Parliamentary select committee inquiry on digital learning."

Stephanie Thompson
Tawa Intermediate

Social media was used effectively to help my learners engage with the world

I used Social Media as a way to connect my Year 7/8 classroom with the world. During a unit on social sciences my class made a video submission to a Parliamentary select committee inquiry on digital learning.

I posted the submission up on the classroom blog and the class received some fantastic feedback from the MPs including the committee chairwoman.

For the second stage of the submission, the verbal submission, I organized virtual and real life visits for the students to Parliament and was able to secure a lobbyist to come and talk with my students about presenting to Parliament through twitter.

Ethical issues to consider

Rights of learners – the decision to post our learning up in public area brings up questions of the rights of my learners to privacy.

Moreover students being involved in the political process could be seen as a teacher using students to push his/her own agenda rather than a learning process.

Parents – might not be happy with their children using social media in this way.

School – The school has an image to maintain within the community. A class taking a stance on an issue

Dealing with the ethical issues

Learners – I asked my students if they would be interested in making the submission before we started the project and then asked if the video could be posted on online before it went out.

With regards to consent, all the children in my class who are featured on the video have permission from their parents to have their images posted online. This consent is given at enrolment.

I talked with my principal and showed her the content of the video before sharing the video online so there would be ‘no surprises’ if others commented on the presence of this particular video.

I have a separate social media accounts for the class and another one for me as a teacher. The class account helped me contact MPs

I made sure that the class stuck clearly to the terms of reference of the select committee.

The benefits of social media

Getting a positive response from MPs – the MPs were really happy to see students contributing to the inquiry and treated my students with dignity and respect through the process.

Being able to bring in outside experts – my social media presence helped get me in touch with a prominent Wellington lobbyist.

Seeing families come along to support the students when they gave a verbal submission.

What worked well for me and the learners I teach

I spent the early part of the year teaching my students about quality commenting and leaving a positive digital footprint.

Conversations about cyber-safety are on-going in the class rather than being a one-off

Let others know what you are doing! I think the most important thing for teachers, especially those new to the profession, to do when using social media is tell other people about what you are doing as critical friends can sometimes spot issues that you might not have thought about.

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.