The article was published in 2017 within the framework of the NADIA project.
The European Theatre Convention, in collaboration with five theatres from five European countries set up a social media project to complement the play Nadia. Below you will find a blueprint for the project as we have executed it. To emphasize, this is one way of conducting an online project like this, and in what follows you will find the execution plan, advantages and pitfalls of our approach.
Set-up of the international exchange groups
1. The first step is to formulate assignments and a manual for teachers to serve as a guideline for the participating classes. This manual consists of explanations for the teachers about the procedures, the in-class assignments and the online tasks students need to complete. We recommend conducting the programme over a period of four weeks, to maintain the students’ attention and focus on the assignments at hand. The teacher’s manual needs to be sent out at least four weeks before the start of the project. Each teacher appoints a student as Facebook contact person or takes on this role themselves:
2. To ensure a successful project implementation, a designated social media coordinator should be responsible for the international online exchange. The hereinafter called Facebook moderator sets up the project groups and monitors the Facebook communication between the participating school classes, teachers and contact persons from the theatres.The theatres provide the Facebook moderator with information about the participating classes. The following information is crucial: number of students, names of the students, the Facebook account names of the students, and the name of the Facebook contact person. Especially the last point is of utmost importance to make sure there is one contact person for each class.
3. The Facebook moderator creates a Facebook account, which is easy to find for the students and teachers.
4. The Facebook contact person per class adds the Facebook moderator on Facebook. If they are unable to find the profile, the teacher needs to contact the theatre who contacts the Facebook moderator. I recommend the Facebook moderator always also tries to find each classes’ contact person on Facebook.
5. The Facebook moderator creates Facebook groups and allocates the Facebook contact persons according to their class’ size and nationality. The aim is to at least have two different nationalities in each Facebook group.
6. As soon as the Facebook contact person is added to a Facebook group they can add their classmates. In this phase the Facebook moderator needs tokeep an eye on the inclusion of all students in the closed group.
7. Once all the students are added, the Facebook project can start.
During the project
• During the project, the responsibility of the Facebook moderator is to post the weekly assignments from the teacher’s manual in each group.
• They keep an eye on all activity in the groups to avoid any negative comments and ensure a pleasant atmosphere for the students to post their assignments in. It is important that all students post and comment in English to ensure opportunities for all students to participate.
• The Facebook moderator reads each post and picks out the most compelling, interesting, amusing, engaging or fascinating posts. After asking the permission of the posts’ author, an assignment can be posted online to showcase the students’ work.
After the project
• The Facebook moderator writes an evaluation report.
• Teachers can be asked to give their feedback on the project.
• The Facebook groups give the students the opportunity to communicate with each other and get to know each other.
• The assignments give students new insights and stimulate their imagination and creativity. Assignments involving so-called social experiments and introduction videos can be particularly creative and
• Enthusiasm from one group or person sparks enthusiasm across the board.
Notes of Caution
• Responsabilities need to be clear from the start. I recommend having both teachers and contact persons from the theatres in the Facebook groups to oversee the project. Yet, the Facebook moderator needs to be in charge of the groups and should be consulted if teachers and contact persons have questions about posts and procedures within the Facebook groups.
• To ensure a pleasant environment, the Facebook moderator needs to have all information and add all groups on time. If classes are not added in time, the classes which are already part of a Facebook group might wonder about the absence of other classes and start posting in their native language and get discouraged by the lack of participation of the others. All classes need to start the project in the same week.
• The Facebook moderator needs to create a balance between the students posts and their interaction with students from other classes. Posts among students are fine and encouraged, yet they need to stay civilized and respectful. When in doubt, the Facebook moderator needs to contact the teacher and/or the theatre contact person.
• Posting videos as part of an assignment can be a pitfall due to privacy concerns. Make sure to provide the students with different options. For example, instead of posting a video or picture of oneself as introduction assignment, the student can post a picture of their shoes or a video in which their face is not necessarily shown. Try to encourage the students to be as creative as possible.
• Some students can be unaware of the link between the Nadia performance and the project. Teachers need to ensure that students are aware of the link between the performance and the project to achieve the goals of the project.
• Teachers and project leaders can influence the students greatly. As Facebook moderator, be aware of the responsibilities of the teachers and other school activities which might intervene with the project. Inspire teachers to participate and complete the project. Teachers and contact persons from the theatres need to be motivated and set an example for the students. Be encouraging and hospitable to ensure the students participation in and motivation for the project.
© Picture: Arno Declair