Social media has transformed the way we communicate.

In fact, some social media gurus believe this is the most significant revolution in the history of human communication – possibly exceeding the seismic shifts to society following the invention of the printing press, telephone and recorded media such as radio, film and TV.

We know that our lives are being transformed. We are now able to make powerful new connections easily, collect and disseminate data cheaply and effectively, and tackle age-old problems in new ways. Yet this comes at a cost.

Sometimes we do not know if the changes are for better or for worse. What we do know is that we are only at the beginning of this journey – and there is no going back.

The Social Media Module is broken down into the following:

Part One: Tools for change gives an overview of the history of the internet, how social media is evolving and reviews the key social media platforms in a citizen journalist or activist's arsenal.  We look specifically at Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, blogging and online petitions to see how these platforms help NGOs or formerly marginalized groups of people connect to protect their rights and advance their causes.

Part Two: Not all cool selfies and free wifi  is focused on the possibilities and dangers inherent in the use of social media. On the one hand, access to the internet has changed access to health advice, education and job options especially in the developing world. The flip side is that this also facilitates the danger of disseminating inaccuracies.  GPS enabled technology including the use of drones, satellites and surveillance has been used in conjunction with social media platforms both for positive uses - in emergency relief and crime prevention for example, while on the other hand, it has been used to invade privacy and conduct arguably illegitimate warfare.  The session discusses the wonders and perils of "clicktivism";  the empowerment of citizen journalists to reach audiences while also putting them at risk by inadvertently provoking backlash from those exposed. Of course criminal or extremist groups can use the same tools to coordinate harm - as we have seen with Islamic State, among others.  Discussion of the intersection between social media and growing nationalism in developed democracies is also touched upon. We introduce digital disruption affecting employment opportunities, the breakdown of longstanding business models and the acceleration of innovation.  Phew.
Examination of these (and more) will develop students' understanding about the evolving power of social media - bringing home that social media is a double-edged sword which must be used with care.  


Age: This Module is suitable for students aged 14 - 16 years with some moderation by teachers to make sure discussion and research and suggested supplementary documentary viewing is pitched at the right level.  The content is streamed so students need access to a decent Internet connection and a laptop or Ipad.

Running time: If all external documentaries and research options were explored, the session could comfortably run over a 12 hours of classroom periods. You can shorten or lengthen this with the amount of research students engage in.

Subjects: Teachers could use the module in a number of classes - English EAL, Social Studies, Global Perspectives; International Relations; Humanities; Media Studies; History - even a Theory of Knowledge class.

The module presents exciting opportunities for collaborative cross-curricular teaching and learning.  The expertise of librarians may be harnessed both in planning and delivery.  Integrated Information Literacy teaching, including research and critical thinking skills, support effective learning and deep understanding.  

These resources support a constructivist student-centred approach to learning.  Students will discover their own perspectives, beliefs and assumptions - leading to raised awareness of multiple perspectives.

For more details on the session and to contact us for a test drive, please click here.