School Leadership, ICT and Social Media

There has been a lot of talk recently about the renewed ministerial interest in ‘computing’. As senior parliamentarians casually refer to the need for children to be involved in ‘coding’ programmes, not merely using programmes, we in the education world spend our time dealing with some of the realities of the proposed (unknown) new curriculum and the Great ICT Escape. I admit to some misgivings about political interference in subject specific content and I am uncertain as to the robust vision for ICT as currently politically evangelised in its ‘coding’ form. In future posts I will reflect on this double edged reprieve for ICT, but for now, if the aim of this shift in curriculum is to create an enthusiasm for coding and to nurture future programmers, then quite frankly teachers are a highly unlikely source of inspirational role models. So where do the Steve Wozniaks of the current school generation get their ideas? Well, the online community, of course. The groups with whom they socialise. Everybody under the age of 21 knows and understands this. Once again, the reality of how we might achieve the Government’s aims of producing an army of technically literate, artistic and creative workers will depend on how well school leaders face a more pressing matter: how to close the gap between ‘out of school’ and ‘in school’ encounters with technology. The way we handle social media in schools will be fundamental to our effectiveness in this endeavour. The video compilation presented above represent my thoughts on this matter, shared with Ewan Macintosh of No Tosh prior to speaking at the Pearson Centre for Policy and Learning conference on Tweeting for Teachers. The videos can be found in original form at


3 thoughts on “School Leadership, ICT and Social Media

  1. Interesting and important insights into the way that schools must respond to the way society and our pupils are changing. I think it is also important to anticipate the rate at which this change will happen. The instantaneous and global nature of 21st century collaboration means that many more people will consider the issues that arise and work smarter to solve them very much more quickly then perhaps we are used to. The potential for revolutionising change is therefore immense, yet so too is the risk of bein left behind. School leaders who do not grasp this fact quickly and enable and inspire their staff to embrace it meaningfully risk creating a gulf between themselves and their pupils. It is easy in education to roll one’s eyes and write off new initiatives, ideas, or techniques as ‘gimmicky’ or unlikely to last. To these nay Sayers I would say that the key difference here is to recognise social media for what it is, a fundamental shift in society at large, not a new idea from the DFE.

  2. Brilliant thoughts here Neil, social-media is a dirty word for some in education, but we need to look at it with a clear perspective. There will always be excuses for some not to embrace innovation, but this is the big shift of our time and we need to get on board. Having this blog is a little like still having you as my Head, but in cyberspace 🙂

  3. As the founder of the rapidly developing 100 Word Challenge, this reluctance to embrace social media and blogging in particular is very frustrating. The idea of the challenge is to provide an audience for the children’s work. I have a dedicated team to do this but we are constantly prevented form leaving constructive comments because of red tape and so many barriers that some give up.
    We need schools to fully understand what is needed as far as internet safety is concerned and not assume that more is best. For children to develop and grow they have to be part of the social world but in the real world and on line.

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