Teaching at a conservative school could potentially prove to be difficult, fortunately the principal, teaching staff, parents, and students at the school where I teach thoroughly support the integration of technology in the classroom. Although I have the support of all stakeholders, I learned a year ago to tread lightly and introduce change carefully. Proposing the use of social media in the classroom will have to be done with caution and careful planning. Using social media in the classroom not only provides a larger, authentic audience for students to share their work, but also exposes students to new communities and groups to collaborate with. It is important to encourage the use of social media for anytime, anywhere learning (Anderson, 2012).
The classroom should not be the last place to embrace the use of social media. In fact, many schools and districts have opted for a very restrictive environment amid concerns about safety, privacy and confidentiality, and lack knowledge about how best to ensure appropriate use (School Principals, 2010). The concerns about social media are not completely unfounded but where better to introduce students on how to safely use this means of communication.
The social media policy listed below will submitted to the principal, teaching staff, and school board for review. Upon approval, this policy will be added to the student handbook and will be sent home at the same time as the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The document will be amended as necessary to best meet the needs of the students. The teachers will discuss both the AUP and social media policy with the students at the beginning of the school year. The students will be reminded periodically throughout the year of the importance adhering to the guidelines set out in both documents.
Social Media Policy
1. All students will sign and return the Acceptable Use Policy and the teachers will keep a copy of the document in the classroom.
2. Social media will be used for professional and educational purposes only. These purposes will include but are not limited to updates on school events, communication between staff and parents, and student assignments.
3. Social media is defined as but not limited to include blogs, microblogs (Twitter), social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Edmodo), video and photo sharing (YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, and Google Video), Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia), forums, discussion boards and groups (e.g. Google groups, Moodle).
4. Periodic spot checks will be conducted on student accounts to ensure no unauthorized changes have been made.
5. The principal and classroom teachers have the right to monitor all student communications created, sent, displayed, received or stored on any school computer or accounts used at school.
6. Students will be held responsible for their own actions when using social media. If a mistake or inappropriate behavior occurs, the student needs to notify the teacher immediately and correct the mistake, including a personal apology if necessary.
7. Respect and protect the privacy of others is a priority. Staff and students are reminded to not use another individual’s account, share passwords, distribute information about themselves or others, and not respond to unsolicited online contact. Should this occur, students are to notify their teacher immediately.
8. Understand the definition of copyright and plagiarism, making sure to give credit to the thoughts and ideas of others. All sources used other than personal work will be cited accordingly including a hyperlink if available.
9. The goal of social media is to increase knowledge, teach 21st century skills, assist in problem solving, and to provide educational resources.
10. All staff members will attend professional development annually regarding Internet safety and how to integrate social media in the classroom while keeping the students safe.
11. All users are reminded to always think before posting. Students need to ask themselves is what I am posting, true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind. If the answer is no to anyone of these, then you need to rethink your post.
12. Teachers will provide parents/guardians information regarding the purpose for the use of the selected social media.
Anderson, S. (2012). Social media guidelines. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/social-media-guidelines-steven-anderson
School Principals and Social Networking in Education: Practices, Policies, and Realities in 2010. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.edweb.net/fimages/op/principalsandsocialnetworkingreport.pdf