Schools should have Twitter – says Scots tech guru

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MORE schools have a Twitter account, according to a Scots tech guru.

William Jenkins- an educational tech blogger – is calling on Scots schools to step up and use Twitter to better communicate with parents and engage with pupils.

His research has found that only 600 of the 2,700 schools across Scotland use Twitter – and only 43 of these accounts have a significant number of followers.

Now Jenkins is calling on schools to tweet more – and realise the advantages of social media.

Jenkins suggests that “there may be a training issue with social media.”

He admitted that headteachers were wary of social networks, owing to “negative stories in the press” – but insists that the practice of Tweeting had real advantages.

Very few schools actively use Twitter
Very few schools actively use Twitter

 

According to the schools using Twitter there are many advantages to using the site.

Moray Primary’s Twitter account – which has 1,466 followers – allows older students to decide what to tweet.

10 children at the school have even been appointed “digital leaders” – responsible for live-tweeting student councils and other school meetings.

The account is also used to update parents.

The depute headteacher Lynda McDonald said: “It’s fast, efficient and parents love it.

“You know what it’s like when children go home and parents ask what they did at school, but now parents have something to go on.

St. Ninian’s High School in Giffnock has the highest number of followers of any school account in Scotland – and uses it as a rolling newsletter for parents.

The school also uses it to update anxious parents while children are away on trips, and even highlights the work of students who are neither highly academic nor sporting high-fliers in tweets.

Jenkins also said that the failure of schools to engage with the social networking site did not bode well for Scotland’s aim to grow into a nation of innovation.

He said: “If educators can’t get behind a tried and tested model like Twitter, which is free, has been around for nine years and has countless examples of success… then becoming a nation of innovation is going to be a struggle.”

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