Put students at the heart of social media policies to enhance learning
- With social media use fairly ubiquitous at this point, it's incumbent upon districts to have well-thought-out social media policies in place for all school, educator and student populations, Common Sense Education's Tanner Higgin writes for eSchool News.
- Higgin recommends that all social media policies include parent opt-out forms addressing social media usage, set base guidelines for student privacy protection, have teachers make their strategies transparent to students, and have student learning goals for social media.
- Additionally, Higgin recommends making social media policies part of the faculty handbook so they more easily move from policy into practice and can be readily updated to meet student learning needs as platforms and their usage evolves.
At this point, most districts likely have policies in place for how teachers and other employees post on social media, as their posts ultimately impact the image of their school or district. As organizations, they have to manage their liability, Higgin notes. Additionally, it's likely that most students are on some social media platform already, whether their parents know it or not. So in many cases, administrators may find themselves in a position of helping some parents play catch-up on the various platforms when it comes to potential opt-out conversations.
And that's not even getting into the murky waters of trying to discipline students for things they might post when they're beyond the school's walls and the hours of the normal school day.
Social media, however, offers the potential for so much more than district, school or teacher branding activities. Integrating it into lesson plans can teach students digital citizenship and how to behave ethically online in addition to teaching them how to use a rich resource more wisely for research and other educational purposes. At the end of the day, it's about turning a distraction into an opportunity.
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