A tale of TeachFirst and Twitter

Aug 12, 2015 2:43:02 PM

The power of social media – predominantly Twitter and the hashtag – has been highlighted by many when it comes to event marketing. But right here at cranberry towers, we were completely blown away by our guest panda’s recent achievement and the impact that social media had on it all. Before I say too much (#spoileralert), we’ll move on to Jessica’s blog post … 

Speaking out: an amazing achievement

I am currently a Year 12 student at the Skegness Grammar School studying; Philosophy and Ethics, History, English Literature and Politics. I am hoping to study International Relations and Politics at University and am looking into studying at an American college for a time of my degree. During the summer I attended the TeachFirst Impact conference at Leeds university and thought that this opportunity was worth writing about.

The TeachFirst Impact Conference

TeachFirst, an educational charity whose aim is to ensure that a child's educational success is not dependent on their socio-economic background, host the ‘Impact Conference’ at the First District Arena in Leeds at the end of the Summer Institute. With 3800 in the audience you can imagine my fear, as a seventeen year old in the midst of my A Levels, stepping onto that stage to speak alongside Javed Khan, the CEO of Barnardos and Ruth Hunt, The CEO of Stonewall. 

As a student myself, I understand the impact that teachers can have on us and not just in an academic sense- teachers are with us throughout our educational journey- their impact is inevitable and it is up to them to determine what their impact will be. Talking at the conference gave me the chance to speak to the next generation of teachers and deliver a message straight from a student’s perspective. This was primarily my reason to talk- ensuring that teachers had an opportunity to hear directly from a pupil, what a pupil needs from their teacher.

Tweets from the TeachFirst Impact Conference

My message was clear- do you know who you are teaching? I chose to focus on the relationships that are necessary to build in order to achieve a confident, rounded individual. My chosen topic originated from my personal experiences with teachers- as I said in my speech- I would not be in the position that I am in today if I had not had the teachers in my life that I have had.

For me, teachers have had a continual impact on me both positively and negatively whether they have realised it or not. My lack of enthusiasm when it comes to the sciences most probably stem from my teachers who failed to hide their own lack of enthusiasm when expecting us to memorise a whole topic in order to pass the hour quicker. Turning this on its head, my love of Politics and Literature has been encouraged by some inspirational and simply fantastic teachers. Whether this includes swapping our latest reads or taking us to political conferences and hearing from politicians directly- their passion is evident and reflects on us. 

Social sharing by industry influencers

The Impact Conference offered the 2014 and 2015 cohort of teachers the chance  to experience countless different workshops and sessions from a variety of different organisations and people. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a session run by The Girls Network who spoke about gender inequalities within the classroom and what the teachers can do to eliminate and understand this. This is just one example of the sessions that were running from the 80 organisations including business, government and the third sector. These all offered the delegates the opportunity to develop their understanding of classroom inequalities, whether it be gender, sexuality or socio-economic background and how they can tackle this in their coming year of teaching.

The power of the hashtag: trending on Twitter

The end of the first day at the Impact Conference saw the hashtag ‘#tfimpact15’ trending as the third most active trend on Twitter. These tweets included the 2014 and 2015 cohort of teachers along with alumni, guests, speakers and session facilitators. Twitter was absolutely buzzing! All those involved were talking about it together. This sense of involvement through social media was powerful to say the least. 

Influence and outreach

It was through the use of social media that perspective sponsors -Apple- decided to get involved and come to the second day of the Impact Conference.

The impact that Twitter had on the event as a whole was immense. Those who were not in Leeds for the Summer Institute were involved through the use of social media and specifically Twitter. This allowed delegates and alumni to interact with each other and network through the event. Those who didn’t get the chance to attend still found themselves involved at least in spirit.

People who were at the event had the chance to see the Opening Ceremony from different perspectives of the audience thus using multimedia to engage and further the involvement over social networking. Using Twitter, as well as other sites, allowed the delegates and all those involved to relive the conference long after it had finished. 

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