How Social Media is Changing Education

CC Image from http://kexino.com

The title of this post is a bit misleading.  It is not social media that is changing education, it is the people involved in education who are collaborating by sharing great ideas and challenging others to continue to grow as learners.

Before social media, there were pockets of brilliance in every school, district, and education system but very few people knew about them.  In some countries education was (and still is) viewed as a “race to the top” in which you do not share ideas, you hoard them and hope that your ideas are better than others’.  Schools competing with each other do not share ideas and, as a result, they do not grow as effectively.  What social media has done is allowed the spreading of great ideas in more efficient manner.  Educators in British Columbia can connect and learn from practices taking place anywhere in the world; in addition, they can receive feedback on ideas from any people interested in education.   Good ideas not only become viral but these same ideas also grow to become even better.  I love stealing ideas (and giving credit) from other educators.  George Couros told me one time, “the more people I connect with on Twitter, the more ideas I can steal to make our school better.”

Yes, we still have rankings of schools and countries and these do create much harm and stress; however, as Chris Kennedy said, we can now connect with educators in the other countries to find out what they are doing well and how we can work together to bring those ideas into our own systems.  Let’s be honest, do we want ONLY our students to do well or do we want ALL students to do well?  Can we help create a better society if we are only helping students within our walls to be great?  We don’t hope to be the best by knocking everyone else down… we hope to be GREAT alongside those who we work and grow with.

On Saturday, I had another great edcamp experience at Edcamp Fraser Valley.  The Edcamp experience is highly promoted through Twitter and blogs and the actual day can almost be like a microcosm for Social Media.  We had sessions facilitated and participated by parents, teachers, professors, admin, and students (from elementary through university) and it was all about sharing great ideas and making them better.  People left the edcamp reflecting on how they are going to bring these to their school or learning community… and they left with connections to people that can help them to do this.  We meet people who have like interests that inspire us and we meet people who respectfully disagree and cause us to look at things through a different lens (in my opinion, this is what we need to see more of in social media – those intellectual collisions that help us grow). Edcamps and social media are driven by passionate participants who want to share a voice in education.

Social Media is a place  in which there is less hierarchy (I realize it still exists).  Prior to social media, the idea of me connecting with the author of the book I just read or the keynote speaker I just heard would have been absurd; now, I almost expect to be able to continue the discussions with others, including the speaker or author, through social media.  Also, when conversations are occurring on Twitter, I rarely know the formal position of the person I am chatting with as it is about the dialogue, not the position.  We purposely did not include position or affiliation on our name tags at EdcampFV for this reason… it is not about where you work or what you do but more about what ideas you bring to the discussion.

Gone are the days when we believed we should be trying to be the best by outdoing the school or country next door.  In today’s world we are starting to realize that in order to become great, we need to collaborate and help each other grow by sharing ideas and challenging mindsets.  Yes, policy changes need to take place but the people that can drive system change are those who work within the system; educators, including everyone that impacts education, can affect change by modeling and sharing great practices.

So, how is social media changing education?  It is not… but the people using it to continually connect are directly and indirectly affecting those ‘around’ them and thus, changing what we call education.

 Thank you to George for the chats that have inspired this post.  Just realized that George has already written on this topic so have added it here.

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Chris Wejr

Proud father of twin girls and a son. Currently working as the Principal of Shortreed Elementary School (K-5) in Aldergove, BC, Canada. Passionate about instruction, strengths-based education and leadership, reconciliation, assessment, and human motivation.


  1. As always, Chris, you blog makes me think! I have found social media an amazing tool to help me connect with other educators and parents. We just need to figure out how to let the greater community know about the discussions happening and how great the impact of that engagement is.

  2. Great points Chris. It was wonderful to meet you at EdcampFV, I just wish we had more of an opportunity to chat!
    It used to be that the ‘pockets of brilliance in every school’ went unnoticed beyond a few people in the school, but now they get to be shared around the globe… what an exciting time to be an educator!
    (Now if we can just get the strike over with, everyone can play together nicely!)

    • Was awesome to finally connect face to face! Have learned so much from you and other educators… love stealing your thoughts and ideas! Looking forward to connecting at Edcamp 43!

  3. Excellent post, Chris! I completely agree with you here. I know that connecting to other amazing educators, administrators, and parents on Twitter have helped me change my classroom practices for the better. I’m sharing more now, and I’m learning from others that are sharing more too.


  4. I really enjoyed reading your blog. It was the first “educational” blog I have ever read. As a Principal of a Midddle School, I have become very preoccupied with all things related to social media and how it is and should be intertwined in education. I found your comments insightful and very profound. Thanks!

    • Thanks Lorelei! Social media has had a huge impact on my learning… I see more and more educators embracing it as a learning tool so I look forward to seeing more greatness evolve by sharing ideas.

      • Hi Chris,
        Great blog. I share your thoughts that social media and the people who are using it are definitely helping me find great ideas, which I bring back to staff.
        I love that more and more educators are joining.

        • Hey Peter…. yes, it is exciting as I think social media is becoming an easier sell these days. One of our teachers recently signed up and then became hooked on #kinderchat. As a first year kindergarten teacher, it has helped her to feel supported and mentored. She brings up social media in the staff room too so hopefully it catches on with others in the school and district. Sure helps me to keep on sharing and growing…

  5. Hi Chris,

    Do I ever agree with the sentiments shared in this post. In my two of my recent blogs, “Borrowing: A PostDewey Top 10 List” (http://www.postdewey.ca/?p=59) and “Masterful Borrowing in the Tech World” (http://www.postdewey.ca/?p=73) I refer to the power of borrowing great ideas from education might think about borrowing from other sources of ideas. In two soon to be posted blogs, I look at how others can borrow from great things being done by educators.

  6. Hey Chris, as always a thoughtful post. What strikes me here is that we need to keep sharing great ideas, that’s the gold here. T is the tool but it’s the ideas that drive it all. See something? Share it out. Learn via inquiry? Same

    • Yup! It is amazing how greatness created in classrooms and schools in this province or elsewhere can now be shared (and stolen) in an instant! Thanks for the continued dialogue!

  7. Firstly, I’d like to thank you for using our image to illustrate your blog post.

    However, you should be made aware that our image usage terms state that attribution include a live “dofollow” backlink to http://kexino.com and not to the Flickr page, as you have it at the moment.

    The usage terms are outlined on the image’s Flickr page – see http://www.flickr.com/photos/kexino/6336663225/in/photostream

    Thanks in advance for modifying the attribution.

    Best Regards,

    Gee Ranasinha, 

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