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.  

References

Anderson, S. (April 11, 2012). Social media guidelines. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/social-media-guidelines-steven-anderson.

Ellington Middle School Handbook (2015). Student privacy and sharing and public work. Retrieved from http://www.ellingtonpublicschools.org/page.cfm?p=1813.

Owens, M. (2014, October 23). Using Social Media in the Classroom: There’s A Lot to Like. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/using-social-media-classroom/

Varlas, L. (2011, December 1). Policy Priorities:Can Social Media and School Policies be “Friends”? Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/policy-priorities/vol17/num04/Can-Social-Media-and-School-Policies-be-£Friends£¢.aspx

 

 

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