The UK’s further education (FE) sector is known for its capacity to adapt and innovate; its ability to morph in response to the changing demands on post-16 education. Which is perhaps why it so often finds a bedfellow in social media – flexible, ever-evolving, and for the most part free.
Since the days of early social media, the platforms themselves have always been evolving: pokes have gone extinct; walls became pages; favourites switched to likes; and threads have become home to any online interaction worth its salt.
How these changing functionalities are applied to achieve communication goals and interact with audiences, has only ever been limited by users’ creativity. And creativity is something FE has in spades. Which brings me to the Jisc social media superstars competition for FE.
How do you use social media in teaching?
We’re on the hunt for the best uses of social media by FE practitioners. That could be managing social media groups across a cohort, sharing resources on Twitter, or re-thinking how Instagram could be used as a learning aid. If you’re using social media for the good of teaching and learning, or education and the sector more broadly, we want to hear from you.
We will be compiling a list of the top ten social media superstars in FE to shine a spotlight on the innovative work that’s being done across the sector. What type of thing are we looking for? Anything and everything that makes effective use of social media to support your work in FE.
Which platforms do you use?
There are lots of great examples of course-level Facebook groups. One in particular I was involved with saw second-year students organically take on responsibility for supporting first years with ideas, reading suggestions and resources. The group became a really valuable space for both teachers and learners, evolving year-on-year as students progressed through the course.
Other platforms that are more restrictive, and which are more typically associated with social lives, such as Instagram, can require a more creative approach. But get it right and the rewards can be great. An excellent example of this was a winner in our HE social media superstars competition at the end of 2017. Vikas Shah’s innovative use of Instagram has enabled him to make radiology accessible to his tens of thousands of followers.
Similarly, Instagram stories, although not particularly the new kid on the block anymore, do present interesting new possibilities for creative educators connecting with 16 to 18-year-olds. As the platform has seized the monopoly on the temporary, instant-sharing market, it’s the place to be right now. And if your audience is there, why wouldn’t you be? So do you have learners or peers hanging off every one of your perfectly crafted stories?
Tell us about your success
Whether you’re taking on more alternative platforms, or mastering the mainstream options, we want to hear about your successes, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the problems social media has enabled you to solve.
Just fill out this short form before midnight on Thursday, 29 March, 2018, and you’ll be put forward for the Jisc top ten list of social media superstars. Each of our winners will receive a visit from Jisc’s Digi Lab to their class, complete with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), an Emotiv Insight EEG brain reader and a robot.