Auburn has long had a pretty progressive social media policy. We didn’t block Facebook or Twitter, even thought nearly all the districts around us do. As you can imagine, it was pretty controversial, but it was based on the idea that effective communication through social media has become a job skill, that there are appropriate (even academic) uses for social media, and that we needed to teach young people appropriate use.
So, if leaving social media open was half of the approach, we certainly were struggling with the other half: teaching staff how to teach with it, figuring out how to integrate digital citizenship training, etc., etc.
Then, over the last 6 weeks or so, we had a couple high impact instances of bullying. Facebook was involved with both. One big one was student to student, but we also had one student to teacher.
It was time to do something.
So we blocked Facebook.
But the real problem is bullying, not Facebook.
So we put together a K-12 Social Media Design Team that will work as a study group, explore specific questions, do some fact finding, check in with parents, students, and educators for their perspective, and then make recommendations for social media policy.
So Facebook will remain blocked for now. But we’re going to collaborate toward a much more reasoned response.
We’re building our work around the lessons learned by veteran technology-using educators. When technology is viewed as a problem, blocking and banning (by itself) is usually not the answer. The answer usually is a combination four strategies:
- Some measure of blocking or banning
- Educating the students and adults
- Addressing the core issue (for social media, this is usually either bullying or student engagement)
- We’ll also look at some at the impact of social media in general (why we may or may not want social media at school)
The next couple blog posts (linked above) are going to be for the Social Media Design Team. We’re going to use them as a tool for collecting our evidence and resources. They will add these resources, ideas, data, etc., as comments to the posts.
Everyone is invited to use these posts as a resource. And if you are not a member of Auburn’s Social Media Design Team, you are welcome to post comments, too. But please limit/be thoughtful of the sharing of opinion and stay focused on the focus questions – we a trying to use these posts for fact-finding, identifying resources, identifying best practice, etc. Thanks!