Critically discuss the use of social media in my teaching or professional development.


I recently carried out a survey of my Year 8 students (2 classes) to ask them about social media and devices they use, and access online at school and at home.  Most students made use of Schoology which is our school’s main student portal. Some mentioned Google classroom and the use of one note.  Since the school denies access to Facebook, Twitter and most other social media sites, the students told me they were still able to find ways to access these sites at school .   The home situation is far different from school, although this varies from student to student, with internet access being monitored, or no access at all for a few. The students have access to multiple devices at home, (most use a tablet, Ipad or phone at school) as well as access to social media sites like Facebook, Skype, Instagram and Snapchat, for example.  Students also used a large number of Apps and most of the boys used X-box and other gaming devices.

Since being part of mind lab I have discovered life online and included online tools as part of my students learning (and my own).  This part has been fun but a real learning curve for me.  I am mindful that some students don’t have internet access at home so I provide them with devices to use in the classroom.  We have made use of Aurasma – so students can follow up on instructions of how to do things instead of waiting for me, or they can share ‘how to’ with their peers.  Schoology is ok, but is more like an electronic workbook where instructions are provided, resources, and assignments set up and submitted. Students can view a myriad of resources which have been set up by the subject teacher using this portal or others.  Students enjoy Seesaw, since it is a student driven app, where I am able to sketch and draw examples for them and they can modify or change templates. Instructions are given in my voice (as well as written), so they can review what they have to do online, or whenever they need to reflect.  Previous to Mindlab, when the Ipad was fairly new, my classes did access padlet which was something new at the time.   Students enjoy being hands on, working collaboratively in small groups, sharing ideas and making use of online resources.

I have set up a Twitter account with my year 12 and 13 students, which is used for sharing with other schools in Auckland and overseas.  The students are able to see what is happening in other places, although most of the senior students have independent access to resources, which is different from the access my year 8 students would have.

In my learning environment I feel that one of the main challenges is that of student privacy and student safety.  While we are unable to post to social media sites since access is denied, it may appear that no problems occur, however, students carry their own data on devices and while it is our school policy that devices are not used within certain hours, it is not always easy to monitor.  ‘Social media offers spaces for innovative teaching in classrooms. However they also pose a number of ethical dilemmas for teachers’ (Henderson et al 2014).

In terms of my own Professional development, since jumping on board with Mindlab, and joining along with my students, the learning has been incredible.  There is simply a lot of stuff online.  I feel more confident with using Twitter, Facebook groups and even blogging.  While I am still learning myself, being a part of the VLN, ELN, PBL, N4L Pond groups provides different elements of knowledge which have helped me in my professional learning so that I can learn, share and collaborate with other teachers and my students.  We also use Schoology for professional development and professional learning – a mahi ngatahi  group for teachers within our working environment which enables robust discussions to be had, resources to be shared and thinking to be put into practice.



Education Council New Zealand (n.d.) Guidelines on Ethical Use of Social Media. Retrieved from

Henderson, M., Auld, G., & Johnson, N. F. (2014). Ethics of Teaching with Social Media. Paper presented at the Australian Computers in Education Conference 2014, Adelaide, SA. Retrieved from

Melhuish, K.(2013). Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators’ professional learning. Master Thesis. The University of Waikato. Retrieved on 05 May, 2015 from

7 thoughts on “Critically discuss the use of social media in my teaching or professional development.”

  1. Kia Ora Prue
    I must say I was very envious of your confidence and ability to use such a variety of social media in your classroom. I too am a secondary school teacher, but my blog post was the opposite to yours in that I feel I am disadvantaging my students in many ways because although I have consistently used Class Notebook and Collaboration space with my year 13 class, I have not utilised social media like Facebook or Twitter. Our students are not allowed to access Facebook either. I was most interested in how you set up a Twitter account with your year 12 and 13 students. I see you are Head of Technology at your school so would you please be able to tell me what was it that you were sharing with other schools and what type of activities were you doing with your classes on Twitter exactly? After reading your post I feel this is something I would like to try with both my senior and junior health classes in particular. Kia kaha keep up the great work!


    1. Thank you for your comments Leigh. I will send you the link to our twitter page and even though I am not part of the students Facebook page which they set up for the cafe, i will send you some resources and ideas. I have been unwell these last two weeks and had not checked anything, although I did manage blogging. Even on our recent holiday to Kuala Lumpur I managed to write three blogs, which justified being in an airconned room because it was so hot outside. I’m all done now so its a big relief. Are you in Technology as well? I will be in touch again soon when I get my head around all the catch ups I need to do when I head back to school tomorrow. Not long now for the seniors to go and the term to end…9 Fridays to Christmas 🙂


  2. Kia ora Prue! Thank you for your reflection, it is always interesting to hear how other secondary teachers use Social Media in their classrooms. We are a Google School so we use a lot of Google Classroom with our classes, but I hadn’t considered it to be Social Media as you can only connect with the class and not with a greater community. It’s interesting to think that we’ve never used it for PD, which I think is a shame as we could easily share with each other if we set up a Teacher’s Classroom. How do you find using Twitter in class? I use it to find current issues and solutions to do with my PD which I find helpful. I look forward to hearing more! Nā mihi.


    1. Hi Shannon – gues what, Im all done now….yihaaa. We are a google school, a 360 school, a oneNote school, a Schoology school & use KAMAR – you name it and we seem to be on it, except of course, Twitter and Facebook… Twitter is used as a communication tool for me and my foodie students – also allows us to share what we have been doing, speakers who visit, industry people and so forth, so we do a lot a sharing, tweeting and receive instant tweets or feedback or more resources. It works pretty well. Facebook was set up by the senior students for the cafe – Compass Cafe, so they can remind people who is on duty, but also to share notes, show off their food pics, etc. This is the same group on Twitter. I’ve been off sick, back to work tomorrow, so will source some stuff and sent it to you. Hope all is going well at AO. Had a catchup with your Principal couple weeks back at a Lions Dinner – seems like a nice guy. Catch up soon x


  3. Kia ora Prue,
    It sounds like your school is using a really broad range of digital tools. Which would you say foster the most depth in their learning? And I’m really big on student voice at the moment, so which would you say offer the flexibility for the student to ‘shine’ through in their learning? I suppose it depends on how the teacher presents the tools and how the learning around it is designed. I’d be keen to hear more!


    1. Schoology is our main student-teacher portal, but different teachers choose to use different programmes from schoology, google classroom, one note. I use seesaw with my junior year 7/8 students, but use schoology with years 9, 10 and 11, but with seniors we have twitter & schoology options to use. We also use our appraisal system – Interlead Connector which has a student voice option. It is also great because we can review a specific part of our teaching and so questions we ask will focus on that aspect. Students receive a code and can then go online in their own time to respond. What systems are used in our school?


      1. We use Google suite, Hapara and Blogger. We’re a Toki Pounamu school (comes under the umbrella of Maniakalani if you know anything about what they get up to.)


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