Today we have released our list of the UK’s top 50 FE practitioners on social media.
The competition searched for people currently working for a college or learning provider in the UK who are using social media to improve learning and teaching or create positive change within their organisation.
The final line-up – taken from nominations and a panel of social media experts, including former principal education adviser and chair of the government’s computing expert group, Bob Harrison, Stephen Exley, further education editor at Times Education Supplement, and James Clay and Sarah Knight from Jisc – features everyone from college managers and leaders, to tutors and support staff, on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube.
A full list is below and on the #jisc50social Twitter list.
Browse the final 50
Julie Allan is head of humanities at Runshaw College and runs its Twitter feed for A-Level religious studies. She shares news stories, organises revision sessions for exams and passes on materials covered during lessons.
Her approach encourages students to ask questions, share revision materials they have made and engage with the subject online in a wider context.
Julie also promotes wider and charitable events the college is involved with, such as their popular ‘Cake Fridays’!@RS_Runshaw
Joe is a key member of the college management team in his role of head of learning support and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
He makes extensive use of multiple Twitter accounts to share, inform and update students and staff about learning support, as well as participating in SEN Tweetchats.@JosephBaldwin
If you want to know what is for lunch at Reading College’s industry standard training restaurant The Kitchen, then make sure you follow Neil Bardo and The Kitchen on Twitter! Neil regularly posts photographs of what the students are conjuring up in the training restaurant, and shares his experience of his students’ work with top chefs across Berkshire.
He also uses Twitter to share news and reviews of food and restaurants.@NeilBardo
Becky has been a stalwart of the Moodle community in FE for many years and is currently head of e-learning and innovation at the Cornwall College Group.
She uses a range of social media to connect with staff across other colleges to share effective practice and new ideas on how to use the latest, and most effective, technology in learning.@BBarrington
Kate is a college chaplain at North Notts College who uses social media to support students and colleagues in her chaplaincy work, as well as maintaining a bustling online presence as part of her role as a vicar of three rural Nottinghamshire churches.
Previously an RE teacher in secondary schools, Kate’s enthusiasm for education and passion for a down-to-earth approach to her ministry mean she offers open, honest and accessible student support by using the channels her students are most at home with.
Mark is a carpentry lecturer at Moulton College. He informs and updates his learners through Twitter and WAMedu, using a variety of media, images and video to create engaging content and inspire and involve the people he teaches and works with. His approach to using digital tools is a great example of how FE lecturers can enrich teaching and learning online.@MarkBradshaw84
Rachel is e-learning manager at Loughborough College and an avid and well respected user of social networks for learning and education.
The e-learning team run their own blog and information feed to share with students.@RKChallen
Charlotte engages learners and works with them on digital projects, using a range of social media tools to support learners who are working in partnership with staff on digital projects at Harlow College.
Through the use of Twitter and other tools Charlotte encourages their digital ambassadors to develop their own digital and employability skills.@CharlotteCreag1
Becky is the learning technology co-ordinator at Swindon College.
She uses Twitter to engage and share her experiences of embedding learning technologies at the college, and to amplify the many events she runs at the college. She manages @TheZone_SC to communicate with learners and college staff about technology in education.@Bex83
Cathy provides relevant and insightful tweets around digital technologies and e-learning.
As an IT director, Cathy's tweets on emerging practice in teaching and learning and assessment help colleagues with their strategic thinking and the development of direction for other colleges.
She is also part of the Learning Futures Lab team.@CathyEllis121
Fern works at the National Star College, a specialist college for people with disabilities, as their ILT coordinator. She uses Twitter to update staff and others on her work in embedding the use of learning technologies in their college.
The college makes extensive use of a range of innovative and exciting technologies, and these are disseminated through channels such as Twitter.
Fern writes her own blog, reflecting on technology in learning for people with disabilities in her ‘Thinking Space’.@FernFaux
Warwickshire College Group is made of many dispersed colleges, supporting over 10,000 students in every curriculum area in FE. Yousef established a system within its institutions to encourage collaboration and informal communication across colleges.
Using Google Plus, he set up a network for staff that is now used by 1,100 users daily to share achievements, ask questions, share good practice and support their colleagues online, without having to invest in an expensive intranet.
The content staff share now underpins the college’s marketing and its external social media channels, for example through Instagram. Yousef’s staff-led approach has facilitated new international links and promoted a culture of openness and collaboration.@YFouda
Nikki is head of learning – landbased at Chichester College. Her Twitter feed offers a fascinating and entertaining insight into life at a landbased college. She writes and blogs about leadership issues, and is open about her ambition to be a principal of the future.
Nikki is also a regular #ukfechat participant.@gillersn
David piloted using Google Plus for communicating with his students. Departing from the college’s standard use of Blackboard, he created a closed, ‘invite only’ community where students were members and lecturers were moderators. All lessons and items became posts and, with the help of Google Apps, the community soon came to life.
Middlesbrough College now have many thriving communities of learning on Google Plus, where students contribute, add comments, ask for guidance, display their work for peer feedback and share materials.
Students and lecturers also now use Google Hangouts for notifications, news and administration.Middlesbrough College on Google Plus
Scott teaches media studies at Basingstoke College of Technology and provides students with first class vocational experience of media for learning.
He emphasises the importance of students building their digital reputation through developing their digital literacy, encouraging them to connect, publicise, and share video, audio, and blog/website work with industry contacts.
Scott shares his practice with teachers in college, at conferences, through book contributions, guest speaking, and online in blogs, the #ukfechat community.
His students use their own and shared technology to work on projects with real-life clients in the community, experts and fellow students, using set hashtags. This year they are creating and promoting documentary content for the upcoming local TV channel about local charities and support groups.@bcot
Edinburgh College and Delhi University have worked together on a British Council (UKIERI) funded project, Digital Literacy for Tomorrow’s Education (DLITE), and developed a digital literacy programme for teachers in the UK and India. David introduces this in this short YouTube interview.
The team used Twitter to disseminate the impact of the project globally. Its flexible learning model allowed learners to learn at a distance, experiencing an enriched blended learning/delivery methods including Moodle, Web 2.0 tools – Skype, Prezi, Twitter, Facebook and Wikis. The D-LITE project has provided sustainable approach for staff and learners using digital tools such as Twitter and several workshops are being organised in different colleges of University of Delhi to promote the idea of digital literacy.@DavidHiddleston
Hull College hair, beauty and catering staff
Hull College’s hair, beauty and catering department now use Twitter and Moodle to help create interest in their work, and to convert interest in their courses into enrolments.
Nicola Allison owns @hcukhbc and all the staff use it to share links with students at the point of enquiry and interview letters, maintaining contact and interest through the enrolment process and on into college life. Staff regularly tweet about what’s going on in classes, celebrations, open events, achievements, new courses and link to Moodle for students who might want more information.@hcukhbc
As Coleg Cambria expanded, the need for more cloud-based technology was inevitable – Angharad’s solution was to embrace the roll-out of Google Apps for Education.@jarvisa25
Recognised for recent work at Prospects College of Advanced Technology
Katharine is extremely active online and in social media, openly sharing all her findings, work and projects, including video animations and other multimedia content. Her digital ambassadors at Prospect (where she worked until a very recent move to lecturing part time at OU, among other projects) used this content to empower staff, learners and their employers to employ digital skills and tools effectively.
She uses Twitter as a way to link people to her website and provides links to resources that they can download, and established #PROCATDigital as a way to encourage online participation in events and discussions.
She has created a digital community of practice, using Padlet to create, share and promote resources on a chosen theme each month.@KatharineJewitt
Part of Becky’s role as operations manager of the newly constructed iSTEM facility at Preston's College is to be a focal point for communications and has used Twitter to impressive ends, building up networks, creating new links and contacts and getting the local community excited about, and engaged with, the centre to great effect.
She acts as advocate and ambassador for STEM, and women in STEM particularly.@iSTEMopsmanager
James maintains a regular blog, with information on a wide range of digital and online learning tools for colleagues to explore.
He’s an active user of Twitter to share new ideas and methodologies and employs Google Plus to share his knowledge and provide accessible, insightful material about the new tools, software and ideas he’s discovered.@james_kieft
Martin is generous with his time and knowledge, promoting colleagues' experiences of using free technology on his YouTube channel to encourage others to take up on the best ideas in digital education.@timekord
Long Road Sixth Form College
The whole LRSFC Support team use Twitter to communicate with students and their four accounts are embedded within their VLE using Moodle.
Julie Lindsay uses @LRSFCHub to cover guidance issues, with Tweets appearing at the top of the home page. Julie regularly re-tweets from each of the other accounts to give them an equally high profile and has started to investigate Periscope (she is in contact with an ex-student currently cycling around the world and ‘periscoping’ along the route!).
Jolene Barrett uses @LongRoadCareers to promote careers. Local organisations and employers who send her tweets to advertise jobs, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities.
Georgina Willmot and Alice Harrison, use @LongRoadLRC to advertise displays publicising new stock at the Learning Resource Centre, to promote literacy (e.g. ‘Book of the Week’, ‘Six Book Challenge’) and to commemorate events like Black History Month and Holocaust Memorial Day.
Chloe Beeton set up @LongRoadActive as part of the ‘Active Students’ initiative; it appears on the Moodle Enrichment page and encourages sports leaders to pass on messages to a greater number of students than she could using other media.@LRSFCHub
Colin and his department were amongst the first to use Facebook in their photography teaching. It quickly became their favoured means of communication with students, to post reminders for assignments, and to allow students to share their work and critique each other’s photographs.
Other areas of the curriculum soon followed their lead. Colin was instrumental in organising and holding online classes, through Facebook, when Fife College was shut for two weeks during the winter of 2010. Following this success, staff have continued to advocate for the use of social media in learning through events, presentations and online discussion.Fife College’s Facebook page
Deb founded and curates the Learning Wheel, a collaborative online movement to support staff in FE to implement technological tools and use social media. Its visual model of digital pedagogy uses content created by teachers for teachers, to show ideas on how to use technology within contexts relevant to them.@learningwheel
Patrice is a GCSE and functional skills English teacher at Barking and Dagenham College.@patricemiller_
She has contributed to three of the UKFEChat guide books, met with Ofsted as part of the UKFEChat team and joined the debating panel at the first UKFE conference.
Carolyn uses Facebook and LinkedIn to share the latest thinking in FE and uses her blog to discuss issues relating to FE, linking to other social media platforms for maximum reach.
She has tackled mental health, disability, childcare and depression in her posts in an attempt to highlight the issues faced by older students.@clyn40
Claire makes excellent use of Facebook within her teaching and has developed this approach from initially gathering feedback via social media to using Facebook as a personal tutor tool: she runs a secret group that tutees are invited to join for notifications of absence, uploading evidence, reminders of deadlines, and to share relevant online material.
Her students regularly use the group to ask questions, allowing Claire to answer and also facilitating peer-to-peer support.
Cheryl's campaign to promote digital learning in further education has resulted in Reading College becoming a beacon of good practice for using technology for learning in further education.
Cheryl uses of her position as a leader to model positive and effective use of social media through using Twitter and Google Plus. She is part of Activate Learning team and contributes to the Pass It On blog.@penncheryl
Paula uses a range of social media to support staff development activities at SERC. Her focus is on pedagogy and what enhancements the use of technology will bring to learners and their learning experience.@edtech7
Edd Powell runs the creative media production course using digital and social media platforms, engaging his students with innovative, industry-style projects.
Briefs for their annual film projects are created in Google Docs, then shared with the group on their private Facebook page. Students then design a social media strategy that engages with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in a bid to raise the funds they need.
Witty viral films, hashtag campaigns and appeal films feature, as well as work through crowdfunding sites. Edd also communicates with his learners through Facebook pages set up for each group of media students, Students are encouraged to showcase their content on blogs and tag content to the relevant lecture or unit, meaning this content is available to awarding bodies for moderation.
Ian is the principal of Bedford College and uses Twitter to great effect, with deliberately upbeat tweets to hold people's attention, draw people outside of education into a deeper understanding of college matters, and to develop a positive view of Bedford and its college.
He leads thinking in areas such as subcontracting, maths and English, local schools performance, and UTCs - his commentary on performance tables shifted local debate and helped pave the way for the college’s local council to move from 3 tier to 2 tier schooling.
His tweets have been picked up by local, sector and national papers, influential thinkers and politicians, and he has attracted over 1000 followers.@ipryce
Simon’s recent PhD study focused on plumbing training, revealing a discontinuity in the craft curriculum between theory and practice. To address this problem with his own students, he established ‘closed’ Facebook accounts for each group, to facilitate spontaneity in the curriculum. Apprentices provided pictures and videos, using smart phones to shape their own learning curriculum and share and solve problems.
There is now an evolving Facebook library of plumbing knowledge, grounded in the reality of the work context, for students to critically analyse and discuss.
He has enthused his apprentices to show their own work, highlighting and discussing their own, and their peers’, mistakes and poor workmanship to improve understanding.@reddyplumbing
Amanda teaches theatrics, media and special effects make up at Hull College.
As make-up artistry is mainly freelance, she uses Instagram and Twitter with her students – past and present – to showcase their achievements. She also encourages them to share pictures and short videos of day-to-day creations within college, as well as encouraging local employers to follow her page to facilitate work experience and sometimes employment opportunities.
Not many IT directors engage with social media, but Paul Rolfe, director of IT and innovation at Highbury College, makes the most of Twitter to showcase the outstanding and excellent work staff at the college are doing with learning technologies.
Sharing and engaging with others across Twitter ensures the successes of the college are seen by a much wider audience.@psrolfe
Seb is a governor of The Sheffield College, and blogs and tweets regularly about developments in online learning. He is the brains and driving force behind Citizen Maths, a popular, innovative free online learning resource for adults to learn maths, using Twitter and Facebook.@sebschmoller
Beckie Senior and Charlee Rowton
Askham Bryan College has a specialist market for its land-based courses at centres across the north of England, as well as their main campus in York.
Close collaboration between Beckie and Charlee (in the marketing team), and academic staff means the college can use real-life stories, social media champions and information from departments to improve and facilitate online engagement.@AskhamBryan
University Centre at Blackburn College
Peter runs Blackburn College’s ICT project module within its BA in education studies, encompassing social media and learning. His course sets out to push the boundaries of conventional learning and challenge how his students can use technology that is already widely used for social activities and put it into an educational setting.
Peter encourages his students, some of whom may be reluctant to use technology in teaching, to participate online, for example, by blogging and collaborating to find and use digital materials.@ShukieOne
Sarah established #ukfechat, the largest network of FE practitioners, and has facilitated hundreds of weekly discussions.
The group have written three books, held face-to-face meetings and recently held their first conference, led by Sarah. Hundreds of professionals benefit from this sharing of best practice, and the group continues to grow and influence the FE sector.@theukfechat
His own Twitter feed keeps his followers up to date with developments in educational technology.
Paul uses WAMedu, a private social media platform, to showcase students’ displays, share formative assessments, promote college events and provide video feedback.@edtechpaul
Jean is campus librarian at Coleg Sir Gâr Pibwrlwyd and acts as an unofficial ‘social media champion’ in her role, successfully encouraging users to access library resources more informally.
She set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library, posting regular contributions from colleagues and information about current developments in the world of libraries.
She uses social media as an effective way to distribute information, promote resources and inform learners of the wider range of support available to them, such as help with funding, careers, UCAS applications and wellbeing.
As the college is based in Carmarthenshire, a strong Welsh speaking area, Jean developed a mechanism enabling her to post all notices on Facebook and Twitter bilingually requiring very little assistance with translation.Coleg Sir Gâr library’s Facebook page
Diana facilitates workshops to help vocational tutors and maths and English specialists use ICT to improve their teaching and learning in the classroom, and as a blended learning tool for both FE and HE learners and staff.
She specialises in supporting ESOL learners and learners with special educational needs, using online learning tools to help them develop employability and life skills.
Diana introduced the use of Edmodo to encourage online safety among the Calderdale College’s learners with special educational needs, uses flipped learning, is active on Twitter to stimulate thinking around learning and CPD, contributes to forums and online networks and discussions, and works with NATECLA.@dianatremayne
By means of her highly rated blog on her ‘teaching and learning adventures’, Hannah has been able to use social media to promote CPD in the FE and skills sector.
Hannah uses her online expertise and presence to present insightful content about FE, and to promote effective, innovative ways for staff to develop their skills.@hannahtyreman
Bianca uses social media to encourage students to develop and share their opinions and celebrate their achievements, motivating them and others.
They debate topics such as disabilities, passion, interviewing styles and the importance of books and reading on Facebook through #RuTCDebates posts.
She helped set up the RuTC Tutors and Careers Facebook group that allows tutors and the careers department to reach more students with updates and information, and recently launched a new writer's blog and writing competition.Richmond upon Thames Facebook page
Simon’s regular Teachability blog contains articles and posts primarily concerned with out-of-classroom collaborative activities for language learners.
Some of his posts look into how to integrate mobile devices into language classes. Simon uses Twitter to broadcast Vine and YouTube videos in his work with language students.
He’s currently teaching at Central College Nottingham where he’s the course leader for business English, supporting academic staff to use the latest technology in their lessons.@NottinghamColle
Paul uses social media to promote the FELTAG agenda, scanning social networks and attending events to identify and share best practice amongst colleagues across FE and HE sectors. He then showcases individuals and their practice, aligning it to the FELTAG agenda via his accessible and inclusive videos on his YouTube channel and Twitter. His videos suggest ways in which FE teacher educators can incorporate online and digital approaches for trainee teachers.@paulw_learn
Dan runs a regular, well-regarded blog to contribute to the development of excellence in education, with a particular emphasis on learning and teaching, especially for maths and English, teacher training and the importance of good CPD for FE staff. He is also well known for his contributions to #ukfechat.
He uses his own teaching experience to bring the work of educational theorists to life, examining their work against the reality of a classroom environment. This is a useful resource for newly qualified staff, and encourages a revitalised approach to views that may be long-held but not frequently examined.@FurtherEdagogy