Ever wondered why the Department for Children, Schools and Families and its agencies use YouTube for their video communications but the majority of schools have banned, or are barred from, the service? Social media company Magic Studio was also puzzled, so it commissioned a survey.

Three quarters of the teachers who responded want to use UGS (user-generated content) websites like YouTube and 42 per cent want to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in class. However, 57 per cent of them are prevented from using UGS sites and 68 per cent from using social media sites.

“Kids are using social media all the time, every day in their home lives; then, when they get into school, they’re suddenly asked to forget all about that and go back 10 years in terms of the types of media they’re consuming," says Martyn Farrows, director of Magic Studio.

"How do we expect kids to really engage with learning if we’re talking to them in a way that has no relevance to their ordinary modes of communication? Some of these restrictions are in place because of outdated concerns over security. However there’s now a swathe of tools and services can bring the power of social media into the classroom in a safe and constructive way. Simply blocking these services is a blunt tool that’s killing off the massive potential of social media in an educational environment."

The survey, on the Schoolzone.co.uk website, found that the majority of teachers who responded (63 per cent) recognised the potential benefits of social media. They felt these technologies support pupil engagement: 50 per cent wanted to use YouTube; 17 per cent Facebook; 16 per cent Flickr; 10 per cent Bebo; 10 per cent Twitter.

More information

Magic Studio blog on the survey results