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Saint Patrick's College and Social Media

As one of the top performing schools in the Banbridge Area, and in fact Northern Ireland, we work hard to continuously ensure that the learning experiences of our pupils are as enjoyable and meaningful as possible!  Our social media site provides just a ‘little’ insight into the type of experiences our pupils have access to when in school!

Here at Saint Patrick’s College, we educate all our pupils on how to use social media responsibly.Internet Safety is reinforced to all year groups during Internet Safety Week and Anti-Bullying Week focussing on ‘cyberbullying’. We all recognise how online technology has advanced and changed the way people communicate and interact on a daily basis. Online social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram enable interaction between lots of people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and interests; and inevitably is a playing field for students in our schools.

Facebook is a fact of modern life but one implication and the simple fact is, that most students and young people put little thought into what they are posting online. They don’t realise the consequences that a post may have on themselves, their family, and their future and this is the purpose of Internet Week and this campaign.

Miss Aisling McKay, our Learning Support teacher workswith pupils that havecomplex and multiple learning needs; from speech impairment, ADHD, Autism to Downes Syndrome. She dedicates a lot of time planning her lessons using ‘real life’ experiences to enable her pupils to see real value in what they learn in her classroom and this social media experiment is no different.  Tomake the children aware of the dangers of Social Media, Miss Mc Kay came up with the idea to create a simple poster and put it on the schools’ Facebook page and watch what happens, to illustrate to her pupils how many people can see it and the impact it can have. ‘The idea behind the post was to make the students in our school and local area conscious of the how fast posts can spread online.’

Miss Mc Kay decided to get her class involved and they created a simple poster with this message “We are a class from St. Patrick’s College, Banbridge, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and we want to see how far this will go!!!”. It went online on Friday 12th February at 2.30pm. The response to the post was unimaginable, and the speed at which it went viral was incredible. By 6pm, the post had reached 28,000 people, with 456 likes and 237 comments; and by 11pm, this figure had doubled having reached 58,000 people and 898 likes. We were astonished! The post had gone viral within a 10 hour period.

One week later the post has reached 180K people; and reached the length and breadth of five continents (Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia). We have had posts from people from all four corners of Ireland, from Co. Antrim to Wexford, Kerry to Donegal; from places all over England, Scotland and Wales, and had comments from people in Finland, Germany, Malta, Spain, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, Wisconsin, Ottawa, Virgina, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennesee, North and South Carolina, San Diego, Vancouver, California, Kansas, Tasmania, Ruaititi (New Zealand), Canada, Quebec, Toronto and the list goes on!

Many past pupils and friends of the school who are now living in various places across the world have commented on their fond memories of the school, and wished us well. People who now are living in America, who had cousins in the school, also got in touch.

St. Patrick’s College take Internet Safety extremely seriously.  Our Year 8 Programme embeds a unit of Work on Internet Safety into the scheme of Work and is delivered in November and December.  Video clips, activities and information sheets are created on MS Publisher and showcased.  Internet Safety is reinforced to all year groups during Internet Safety day/Week and Anti-Bullying week focussing on ‘cyberbullying’. We created eye catching wall displays on ‘cyber bullying’ which is exhibited in the main foyer and throughout some of our classrooms. During these significant dates in the calendar assemblies on Internet Safety are delivered by our Year Tutors and guest speakers.  The IT team also deliver further activities during these dates focussing on Internet Safety to all year group during IT lessons.

On 11th March 2015 a parents evening was organised and the presentation was delivered by REIM Solutions where they spoke to parents on ‘staying safe online’ and explained the strategies parents can put in place on their home computers and phones.   REIM Solutions were invited back to the school in October 2015 and once again delivered a presentation on ‘online safety’ during our KS3 and KS4 induction evenings.

The following organisations currently keep us to date with current and realistic activities to engage students, parents and staff on how to remain responsible online. E-safety Support This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2016/education-packs/secondary.

To mark the success of Miss Mc Kay’s Internet Awareness Campaign, we are now using this experiment as a mechanism for ‘connected learning’. The pupils and staff from the Technology, Geography, ICT departments are organising a map of the world mounted on a wooden platform, and with the use of lights, track the progress of the post as it travels the World Wide Web!

The initial aim of this post was designed to alert young people to the risks of over-sharing information, photographs and video material online; to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.Internet safety is a shared responsibility and it is important to empower parents and all generations in a family to talk to children about staying safe online, providing all young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to make their online activity safer and protect our children. We believe it's only by working together, and supporting initiatives like Safer Internet Day which encourage this sort of collaborative approach, that we can educate young people to make smart decisions online.




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