Note: This is one in a series of blog posts to be used by Auburn’s Social Media Design Team to conduct a study group before making recommendations for social media policy. If unfamiliar with this series, you might find reading this post helpful.
Impact of Social Media Study Questions
- How many social media-related discipline issues have been logged?
- Of the logged social media-related discipline issues, what percent were about being distracted, what percent were about bullying, and what percent were about something else (and what was that)?
- What are the reasons we would not want access to social media at school?
- What are the reasons we would want social media at school?
Although intended as a tool for Auburn’s Social Media Design Team, 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!
Why would we not want social media in school?
I think the two big answers to that question are fairly obvious: we don’t want our students easily distracted and we don’t want to make it any easier for students to participate in any kind of bullying, including cyber bullying.
Why do we want social media at school? Reason 1: monitoring what’s going on with students
One reason we would want social media in school is so we (the caring adults) can stay in touch with our students and be able to monitor what’s going on in their lives.
Currently, with Facebook blocked, our teachers and administrators can’t check on reported inappropriate postings, let alone simply monitor the climate of postings of our students.
Ginger Blackmon, principal of a high school in Alaska (and one of our RISC trainers) requires her staff to have a professional Facebook account (separate from their personal account) and to friend their students. One of their major reasons, beyond simply facilitating communication about their classes (much like many of our coaches do now), is to be able to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s going on with their students. Ginger told me last summer that when she was doing training in Maine the summer before, her teachers and she were able to intervene and prevent two student suicides because of information they were able to get from Facebook.
Why would schools want social media? Reason 2: Using it to get the most from their classes.
Gary Stager would say, “Kids love social media, and we love kids, so we shouldn’t ban it.” Although I see some truth to that statement, I’m not sure it is sufficient.
I do believe, however, that if social media is a way that student regularly communicate, then maybe we should leverage that in our classes to get the most from our students.
In his article, Fifth Period Is Facebook: Why Schools Should Stop Blocking Social Network Sites, Nicholas Bramble says, “Educators should stop thinking about how to repress the huge amounts of intellectual and social energy kids devote to social media and start thinking about how to channel that energy away from causing trouble and toward getting more out of their classes.”
In The Social Classroom, Esther Shein describes teachers using Twitter in their teaching.
Why would schools want social media? Reason 3: So teachers can build a professional learning community.
More and more, educators are using a variety of social media for their own personal professional development. They are finding that by following blogs, twitter, Facebook, and other networks, they are connecting with educators that are dealing with issues and ideas that they find personally meaningful. I.e., they are building their own PLC, Professional Learning Community.
In fact, Auburn’s administrative team will be learning how to use Twitter, and will read these two articles:
Meet Your New PD Tool
No Twitter: To Follow or Not To Follow
This article isn’t directly related to social media, but I think that one of its core ideas, the notion of students leveraging a potentially global network of teachers and fellow learners, points to social media as an important tool in the kind of educational system it envisages.