Social Media Resources - Guest Blog post by Michelle Ainley

Over the last two years there has been significant changes and new policies for how computing, technology and online networks are explored and used in schools; however in July 2015 we saw the new revised version of Keeping Children Safe in Education.

This had me thinking - don’t get me wrong there are some excellent online e-safety activities out there, however none that fully address the issues with social media- both educationally, behaviourally and more specifically how to teach children real skills which keep them safe (and I don’t mean DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS)

Online expertise is a huge spectrum, you may well know of that child in year 2 who know more and can do more online than another child in Year 6, or those children who are left to fend for themselves on mobile devices as the technology has advanced their parents.

So, whilst I pause to breathe and enjoy the summer holiday (and I don’t normally work through my summer holidays I promise!) I began to think of a way to engage in some powerful learning about social media which is accessible for all phases - even EYFS - and here it is. https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/social-media-and-staying-safe-online-11088500






The sheets I have created are more a structure for questioning and activities to engage in as opposed to a prescriptive independent paper activity. I haven’t included a lesson plan as I’m sure you are fabulous teachers who can make it work for you and also, your school probably has its own planning format. I have however included links to the computing curriculum and the Keeping Safe in Education Document.

I began in my comfort zone with upper key stage 2 - possibly where children begin to explore their online presence more independently. Some of the case study scenarios are completely fictional however many I have taken from the media and real life events to make it more meaningful. The case studies are designed to challenge thinking, I want the children to realise that their actions may not affect them, or only themselves, the scenarios are thought provoking and deal with some deep issues, but I believe that exposure with opportunities to discuss issues are more meaningful than shying away and avoiding key issues.

The key stage one resources begin to teach the children about social media, what apps are, how they are used and how they can be used positively. In the EYFS resources it gives the children the opportunity to be surrounded by vocabulary and images of devices they may encounter every day (such as iPhones) to use in role play activities.

The resources refer to Windows and Apple operating systems as many children are switching between these systems when using mobile devices.

I haven’t included sexting references in my resources as this is something I want to add in at a later date. I also want to further research extremism before I develop a resource for primary to support that. Keep an eye on my TES account for those! (Https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440450/How_social_media_is_used_to_encourage_travel_to_Syria_and_Iraq.pdf)

Instead of using your working school Twitter account, you may also decide to set up a Facebook or twitter account purely for children to navigate around during these lessons, this makes the learning as real as it can be in a controlled environment, a simulation if you like.

Overall, the resources are designed to challenge the children, exposing them to applications, vocabulary and software which they may never have used or seen before.  There are extensive opportunities to discuss social media and how it is used and how to guide children to learn about the issues with online security.



- Thank you so much to Michelle for this! I try to really promote the use of Social Media on my training to engage parents but give children a real purpose for their learning. These resources are a great way to start discussing responsible use of different social media platforms. 

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