Saturday, July 20, 2013

E-activity 2.2: Essay plan

Is social media and effective means for schools to engage with students and their families?

Abstract Prepare an abstract of 350 words summarising the topic, key findings and conclusion
To be prepared once essay has been written.

Introduction: Describe your context of change and research question including:
The nature and characteristics of the technology innovation (i.e. the what?)
This will focus around introducing the two primary social media programmes, Facebook and Twitter; what are the benefits?  What will they be used for?  What am I hoping to achieve?.  I will cover my previous experiences in introducing and implementing the programmes at another school.  I will also discuss the implementation of Google Plus at my previous school, and why it didn’t work.  Finally, I will comment how it was done in an ad-hoc trial and error way, without any use of a change model guide.
An explanation of the importance and significance of the change for teachers and learners (i.e. the why?).
Here I will focus on what has happened in the past re engaging with students and families for all purposes around communication of information, content and ideas.  This will include the likes of parent interviews and newsletters for parents.  For students the focus will be on traditional in class face to face teaching.  In regards to teachers, both of the above statements will be taken into account in regards to how they engage with parents and students.  This is where I will introduce the limitations of what has traditionally been done; how the school has not taken advantage of available resources to effectively engage with members of the school community..  
The thesis / or problem statement or research question What is the main idea, point of view or central question you will address in your review of the change model(s)
Is social media and effective means for schools to engage with students and their families?

Body: This is the main part of the essay which should cover:
A description of the change model(s) Identify an appropriate model of change which informs your thesis or problem. Summarise the relevant model with appropriate connections to your topic / context.
Awareness of teachers, students and parents;
Knowledge of teachers, students and parents;
Use by parents, teachers and students;
Management by parents, teachers and students;
Analysis by teachers;
Collaboration with other resources and programmes by teachers;
Modifications and changes by teachers, based on what has taken place so far; how can it be improved? How can it be more effective?
A review of the implications of the change model for your own context. You should cover both strengths and shortcomings or pros and cons of the model(s).
For the next two sections I will use de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats model to review the implications:
Red:  Gut feeling, has the change model been effective?  
Yellow:  What are the strengths?
Black:  What are the limitations?

Conclusion: Including for example, recommendations for the future or lessons learned.
White:  What has been the result of the implementation?  What are the facts?
Green Hat:  What needs to be changed / modified?  Does anything need to be changed or modified?


  1. Hi Tim
    I like the way you plan to balance things out with a personal perspective of previous implantation of change that was not as effective and why. It is an interesting topic especially with the taboo of facebook being used (by some) as a educational tool.

  2. Thanks Aaron. Like most things, Facebook can be used for good and bad purposes. I think that it's a great connection tool for schools and their communities; you just need to focus on the positive.

    By the way; how's life in Brunei? I would love to do some teaching there at some stage, it looks like a great place for families.



  3. Hi Tim,

    This is the first time we are connecting and I was glad to hear that your first term as principal went really well.

    I am looking to following your research and am excited to read the findings and compare it to what I find here in an international school setting. My research is based more on using FB and Wordpress for project planning and fundraising , so has a slightly different take on it but I am sure I will still come up with the similar prejudices against social media in an educational context.

    Your essay plan is extremely well laid out.



    1. Hi Aleta

      Thanks for your feedback. It will be interesting to compare our research at the end of the course. I'm a real fan of social media as a tool for schools to connect with students, families and the wider community.

      Please contact me if you want to share ideas, etc on our projects.



  4. Tim, A well structured essay plan. Thanks for sharing. My only question: de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is not usually associated with change in digital technology. Will you incorporate a justification of de Bono's thinking hats as a theory of change?

    1. Hi Wayne

      Thanks for your feedback. I'm probably trying to be a little too clever incorporating de Bono's Hats; they just seemed to fit so well when I was preparing my plan. I'll have a think about how I can incorporate a justification of de Bono's thinking hats as a theory of change.



  5. Hi Tim,

    What an interesting topic! As I read about the change models, I can see how crucial adopting a change model/plan is for schools. There seems to be far too much trial and error happening at schools in changing/adopting new technologies, and I will be interested in reading your experiences with your previous school.

    Have a great week,


    1. Hi Sarah

      There sure was a lot of trial and error at my previous school! I do sometimes 'throw a lot of mud against a wall to see what sticks'. However, at St Mary's I'm trying to be a little more structured in what I do, which this course has helped with a lot.



  6. Hi,

    Very interesting research going on here, My son's school uses social media to connect with the parents and I didn't really think much of it until I read your plan.
    I am finding that as I am reading the blogs of others I am intrigued about their research and what the results are going to be. Lots of interesting questions amongst the group!