Social Media Policy — November 8, 2015

Social Media Policy

Social_networking_servicesSocial media has become an essential part of our students lives outside the classroom, but why can’t it be more essential in the classroom.  Currently, my district promotes sharing student work in digital spaces, allowing for authentic learning experiences.  The encourage students to create positive digital footprints while in school, and to continue the same when they are at home or with friends.  In addition, it promotes students to engage in 21st century skills, that will be important as they continue through school and enter the “real world.”  My district has some basic guidelines for posting online, which are positive and do promote the use of social media.  According to Steven Anderson, we want to create guidelines that won’t “handcuff” teachers, but instead provide them with some “best practices (April 11, 2012 ).”  It would be easy to create a do’s and don’ts list for teachers, but my research helped me to understand that it is more important to encourage use of social media, than to scare teachers and students away from social media in the classroom.  I have also learned that it is important to create these policies collaboratively.  Steven Anderson also notes that including both teachers who use social media and those who do not is important.  This allows for a more rich conversation regarding the guidelines being created.  

I sat down with my 8th grade team on Tuesday and asked if they had any ideas to share on social media use.  My team consists of one science teacher who uses social media, a math and english teacher who do not use social media, and then myself.  It was interesting conversation that helped lead me to some good ideas for my guidelines.

  1. Students and teachers should create school-based social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, etc.). It is important to keep personal and educational accounts separate.
  2. Students should create a positive digital footprint by posting examples of their work on school-based social media accounts.
  3. Students and teachers should use social media to communicate about classroom activities and assignments.  This communication should occur only using the school-based social media accounts.  
  4. Students and teachers should follow copyright laws when posting work online by providing appropriate attributions and citations.
  5. Students and teachers should not post personal information on their school-based social media accounts.  This will ensure the safety of our school community
  6. Students and teachers are encouraged to post pictures of students in the classroom, exemplifying the positive school culture we have at EMS.  Be sure to leave out any identifiable information.  
  7. Students and teachers should contribute to educational discussions using their school-based social media accounts.  Remember to use our P.R.I.D.E. Netiquette as a guideline.
  8. Students and teachers are encouraged to work collaboratively, with other classes, schools, experts, etc. using school-based social media accounts.  
  9. Students and teachers should report any abuse of social media accounts that affect the school culture at EMS.
  10. Remember using social media is a great tool to enhance the classroom environment and expand beyond our classroom walls, but what you post online can be permanent.  Double check your posts before you post them, consider having a friend or colleague check your post first!

I plan to share these guidelines with my 8th grade team on Monday.  Their feedback will be helpful in revising these policies.  In December, I will be participating in our second EMS Tech Summit to discuss technology in our school and its impact in the classroom.  I plan to present these policies/guidelines to the summit to receive feedback. My administrators and school board members will be at this summit so it will allow them a chance to review and provide feedback for these policies as well.  I hope to use those revision to polish up the policy and help prepare it to be included in our 2016-2017 handbook.  


Anderson, S. (April 11, 2012). Social media guidelines. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Ellington Middle School Handbook (2015). Student privacy and sharing and public work. Retrieved from

Owens, M. (2014, October 23). Using Social Media in the Classroom: There’s A Lot to Like. Retrieved from

Varlas, L. (2011, December 1). Policy Priorities:Can Social Media and School Policies be “Friends”? Retrieved from£Friends£¢.aspx



Social Networking for Teaching and Learning — November 1, 2015

Social Networking for Teaching and Learning

Social media is a big part of our student’s lives.  They want to feel connected with the world and share everything that they are doing.  So why don’t teachers utilize social media in the classroom?  If this is central to our student’s lives outside of schools, it would be easy for them to transfer these skills to the classroom.  I have to admit, I was hesitant to incorporate social media and networking tools into my classroom.  I felt like it was a big responsibility as a new teacher to take this on and ensure student safety.  But incorporating digital citizenship lessons, encouraging internet safety, and  modeling proper social media use, I am now more confident in integrating these tools into my classroom.  I have started with blogs and Diigo, but through my research in this project I can see the power of Twitter, Facebook, Padlet, Skype, and more.  I also have found even more ideas for tools I am already using.

I used PearlTrees to curate and annotate my materials, and separated my findings under their specific tool.


Social Media Tools for the History Classroom – Key Learnings

BackChannels or chat rooms to use during a lecture, video, or discussion give voice to students.  I can see how backchannels can enhance a movie shown in class.  Students can carry on a student led discussion while watching a movie.  For example, students watch Cinderella Man to learn more about the Great Depression, they could discuss the historical elements they find using something like Today’s Meet.

Twitter is a great tool for the classroom that many students are already using outside the classroom.  I really like the idea of a Twitter essay.  This will force students to find the most central idea of a topic to share with their classmates.  I also think it is great that there is a “peer review” concept to this.  It not only gets the students sharing, but also using social media to collaborate and give feedback.

I found a variety of ways to use Facebook in the classroom.  The use of fan pages and event pages is a great interactive activity for students.  Using Facebook as a timeline and place to collaborate with experts and other schools is something that is interesting and exciting for students.  I also think creating fan pages and having a “virtual salon” is a great way for students to uses 21st century skills and immerse themselves in the content area.

Diigo has been a huge addition to my classroom.  I have had my students share articles and comment on each others annotations, starting discussions that dive deeper into the article and content.  What I learned from the article on found on Diigo, is the use of the forum within Diigo groups.  This is a feature I have not tried yet, but can see how students can start a discussion, share a thought, ask a question and more.

Skype is a tool I have not used in my two years of teaching, but would like to begin using more.  Skype allows for conversations with experts, students, authors, survivors, all over the world.  It provides students to connect and ask questions they would normally have left unanswered.  The articles I clipped on Skype explain the power connecting, once with a survivor of the Holocaust, and once with a similar class in a different country.  Both experiences offered different perspectives for the students, beyond the classroom walls.

Blogging is an important piece of digital literacy, which also allows for student connections and sharing.  The projects I found helped students connect with authors, teachers, parents, and classmates.  The authentic audience, beyond the teacher, motivated the students to write more effectively and ask deeper questions.  I also see blogging as a way for students who may be timid or nervous to share in class, to voice their ideas and ask questions.

All of these tools can have immediate impact in the classroom.  Viewing all of these great ideas has helped me plan my lessons for this week using blogs and Twitter.  It is important to make sure the tool is being used to enhance and optimize the classroom experience and motivate students to grow as learners, preparing them as 21st century learners.