Former MySpace marketer develops social media course for UK schools

LONDON - Andrew Davis, who worked on the launch of MySpace in the UK, is developing a social media course for secondary schools.

The course, entitled Social Media Fundamentals, aims to explain the rise and relevance of social media, while integrating it with core subjects such as mathematics and English.

It will be the first time a formal social media course will be taught in UK secondary schools.

Davis was a marketing and content producer and head of urban marketing at MySpace UK from 2006 to 2009.

He was diagnosed with repetitive strain injury in 2007, making it almost impossible for him to complete his day-to-day tasks.

After a major operation on his hands and weekly physiotherapy sessions he is under strict doctor's orders to avoid typing at all costs.

Forced to completely change his lifestyle, Davis developed the social media course as something he can deliver verbally.

London's Bishop Challoner Catholic School is the first school to book Davis' services.

Davis will deliver a four-week course from September 21 that will take place for two hours on Thursday afternoons, with additional one-day workshops starting this June.

Students will be required to submit a reason for wanting to get on the course, which will count as part of their GCSE coursework requirement. Only thirty students will be chosen.

Davis has worked alongside the heads of faculty to devise a course tailored specifically for the needs of the school.

In this case, the students will plan the school's end of year music event. Davis has developed lesson plans that look at planning an imaginary event, writing for the web, and learning fundamental social networking skills that will eventually be used on a real event.

As part of the course, Davis will invite former contacts from the music and media industries to share their experiences with the children.

James Chinery, head of boys' English at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School said: "Social networking is one of the major media phenomena of our time and could be a key factor in helping us to equip our pupils with the skills they'll need for the real world.

"Andrew, with his experience from MySpace, is well placed to explain how the internet and social networking sites can be used positively in their future careers.

"As a positive role model and someone who has achieved success in a field respected and idolised by teenage students, he is able to engage and work with the students in a way which is not available to teachers charged with managing multiple classes." 

Earlier this year the possibility that a government-commissioned report would recommend primary school pupils learn to use Twitter and other social media tools raised a fuss. However, the finished review of the primary school curriculum simply recommended that ICT become core alongside literacy and numeracy.


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