Monday, February 20, 2012

Social Media has a place in Education

10 resources for creating your District Social Media Policy

Opportunity vs Risk  is an assessment that every educator should take when considering the use of social media in education.

There are now many policies available online that Districts can use to frame their own policy.

Ottawa Catholic School Board Social Media Policy
Social Media Governance - database of over 195 policies
School AUP 2.0 policy resources
Ontario College of Teachers Professional Advisory
Thinking Machine - Social Media Guidelines
AZTEA resources for AUP and social media
Navigating Social Media Policies - Simple K12 Webinar
Mashable - 10 Must Haves for your social media policy
15 University Social Media Policies
NSW social media policy

The Ontario College of Teachers Professional Advisory is an interesting read.  The document highlights the risks that may be associated with social media use, but at the same time the document does allow for professional use of social media by educators.  The Board policy should clarify the "grey areas" of this advisory by clearly indicating the educational value of social media use by teachers and administrators.

Here is a good video clip from Australia with a common sense approach for employees to follow when using Social Media

The Ottawa Catholic School Board was one of the first districts in Ontario to implement a social media policy.  In short, the policy encourages employees to actively engage in appropriate use of social media to connect with students and parents.  Increased communication can result in increased engagement, which we believe will lead to increased student achievement.

In addition to the curriculum benefits that social media can serve when it is part of a teacher's instructional practice, a key benefit is the entry of an adult into a previously dominated youth environment.  Although some students won't like seeing their teachers or parents in this realm, adult role models on the appropriate use of social media is imperative for today's generation of learners.

Throughout our Board educators are now using social media as part of their professional learning network (Twitter, Edmodo, SimpleK12, Discovery Education Network (DEN), ScoopIT, and many many more).  Educators are using social media to enhance communication with parents and with students.  Within the classroom environment teachers are using social media to engage their students - this includes the use of cell phones and other mobile devices as an instructional tool to connect students.  Finally, students have been using social media to connect with one another in a social arena and now thanks to the involvement of their teachers, principals, educational assistants and others, they are using social media for social learning.

It would be naive to suggest that the majority of teachers in our District are using social media as noted above; however, for the increasing number of educators who are using social media, I say thank you - on behalf of the students and parents who now feel more connected to the learning process.

Our journey as a 21st Century Learning and Teaching community continues.

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