28 teachers of Marianville Secondary School, Bomana were present on 3rd February for the Social Media session entitled, ‘Using Social Media Rightly’. The in-service on Social Media was facilitated by Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb. The particular focus was on Understanding Media rightly in order to help and guide the students who are entrusted to the teachers’ care.
The session started with the introductory question, ‘What is Social Media?’ Some of the answers were as follows: ‘It is where everyone’s connected’. ‘It is an electronic platform to create online communities’. ‘It is where information, ideas and messages are generated’.
Right from the start it was an awareness to the teachers that Social Media is here to stay and that it has dramatically revolutionised the world. However, the big question posed to each teacher was, ‘How can I, help students with whom I am in contact with? How can I help them use Social Media in the right way?
Since quite a number of teachers in the school are Digital Immigrants, the session helped them understand the kind of students they are dealing with. It was also a challenge and interesting to see how the teachers could embrace and use technology. In doing so, they would equip themselves to understand their students and guide them to the wise use of technology.
The Digital Native’s, (the current students) language is new and different, their thinking patterns are different and so are their processing skills. The teachers were encouraged to learn their language in order to understand them. Some thought provoking questions were; ‘How can the digital immigrants (teachers) equip themselves with the ‘know how’ skills of this technology to connect with the students? How can teachers rid themselves of their fear of social media? How much of real content or opinions are there in Social Media? What policy does the school have to the guide students? These were thought provoking questions since as teachers are educators and shepherds.
The teachers were reminded to encourage the students to ensure that everything they post is positive and that they must be polite and respectful on line. The teachers were also cautioned to always keep the professional boundaries of a ‘student-teacher’ relationship.
It was indeed an informative session raising an awareness and offering guidelines on this technology. More so, identifying strategies on how best staff and students can work in collaboration with each other and use Social Media wisely and for the right purpose.