"To enter RT and reply telling us where on the GWR network you’d like to travel and why https://t.co/vLlAGFDu8J"
16 hours ago
"Introduce your pupils to #WrapSplatHat & teach them to have fun in the sun safely. Sign up for free pupil passports… https://t.co/pN2TNaRQ4k"
17 hours ago
"RT @EUMoneyWeek: European #MoneyWeek in 2016 reached >350.000 young people in 32 countries w/ 10.000+ activities #FinancialEducation #EMW1…"
18 hours ago
"Do you feel your school has unaddressed behaviour issues? https://t.co/cOsRattPvB"
18 hours ago
"RT @BBCCiN: Good luck to our friends @rednoseday @comicrelief tonight and everyone fundraising for #RedNoseDay"
3 days ago
"Sign-up for free primary teaching resources, including classroom posters, activity sheets & competition entry forms… https://t.co/ly6T8qW5Q7"
4 days ago
"RT @First_News: It's tempting to try to shield children from bad news. @FirstNewsEditor explains why it is important to talk to them inste…"
4 days ago
"Sending out emails on #NationalPuppyDay https://t.co/yTCoesDnoX"
4 days ago
"Keep primary pupils safe in the playground this summer, register for the free #WrapSplatHat programme here:… https://t.co/o9uOPVsY8Z"
4 days ago
"RT @TesResources: Celebrating #Shakespeare’s anniversary month in April? Explore our display packs, units of work & one-off lessons! 👉 http…"
5 days ago
"RT @theweekjunior: Today is @UN #WorldWaterDay – a time for us all to learn about water’s importance and how we can make sure everyone has…"
5 days ago
"Get your pupils #sunsmart ready for summer with @GarnierUK's #WrapSplatHat programme. Find out more:… https://t.co/xOXUwinJZI"
6 days ago
"RT @TheEconomist: To celebrate #WorldPoetryDay, we've taken a closer look at the word "poetry" https://t.co/QRTqb6HKvz"
6 days ago
"Teach #KS1 pupils about the life of fruit with Bonne Maman's engaging "From Seed to Table" programme -… https://t.co/1r22Yic2bZ"
7 days ago
"Register now to access the free #RunTheRailway game for KS2 with #STEM links: https://t.co/XHm6hh7rNK #ukedchat https://t.co/lHp9iGuXsd"
7 days ago
"A useful resource from @twinklresources for this week! #brexit https://t.co/B7ryY5Zqw8"
7 days ago
"RT @BSFcharity: Happy #StPatricksDay to all our Irish friends! https://t.co/QD6kv98B1G"
10 days ago
"RT @GuardianTeach: Partnerships in practice: the benefits of schools teaming up with researchers https://t.co/v1uKZi9KF6"
11 days ago
"Teach your primary pupils about the effects of the sun with @GarnierUK's #WrapSplatHat programme. Register for free… https://t.co/fKAwmbgdyv"
11 days ago
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Answering your questions

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

In each edition of The Channel we will answer readers’ questions on anything related to learning, education, young people or families. This month we hear from vInspired and Anglian Water who want to know about social media in schools and employability skills for young people.

Are schools using social media channels?

Communicating with the outside world has always been a challenge for schools nationally, with letters that never get home and newsletters that struggle to capture the essence of the many things schools do well. So how is social media being embraced, and to what extent is video adding another dimension to the content now accessible from anywhere, at any time?

It is fair to say that schools are often slow and reluctant to exploit social media for teaching and learning purposes, save for sporadic classroom innovators. However, this is changing with increasing numbers of schools communicating through Facebook pages and Pinterest boards, and removing mobile phone bans in favour of promoting Bring Your Own Device initiatives. The dawning realisation now is that they can actually help learning, complement assessment, and promote two way communication with home and the community.

Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham connects with both parents and students through social media. They have 1,400 people on their Faceook page and 600 Twitter followers. Facebook particularly is used for gauging parental opinions and for getting feedback following school events.

The 140 character limit of Twitter, and its education-specific cousin Edmodo, encourages discussion and clarity of argument, supporting sharper extended writing pieces often shared on blogging sites such as WordPress and Blogger. Pinterest is being increasingly used to showcase student work and develop skills around design and visual literacy with minimal use of words to convey meaning and enabling students and teachers to comment on work.

In five years’ time, every school will look back and wonder what the fuss was all about. So if you are currently developing or running an education programme, remember that social media use by schools is increasing year-on-year.

If you would like to talk to somebody further about social media and the education landscape, please feel free to contact us.

By Sanjesh Sharma, Digital Education Consultant


What are employability skills and where do they fit into the school environment?

When we talk about employability skills we are referring to both educational and vocational aptitudes. Employability skills include effective communication, persuading and influencing, using initiative, negotiation, managing conflict, and being proactive.

Employability skills undoubtedly need greater prominence within the curriculum. The education community must commit to investing more time and resource to this key area.

The topic of employability skills can currently fall under Careers Education, or be discussed during Business Studies or Economics classes, but is too often lacking in wider context.

The job market changes on a daily basis and our curriculum cannot adapt as quickly. Therefore we should look forward either to a future featuring dedicated Careers Staff within schools, or partnerships with corporate organisations, in order that students learn relevant employability skills reflecting the current employment climate.

Young people will learn best when the theory taught by their teachers is combined with contextual, up to date industry information. A partnership between content and context will benefit all stakeholders and make for a more prepared, and therefore more employable, future workforce.

By Darren Nixon, Education Consultant, Northern Ireland