Edtech 543 Social Media Policies

Social Media in the Classroom

The Reality
Social media is more than just sharing information; it is the way in which Millennials learn, and its usage is growing; therefore, teachers are finding ways in which to incorporate social media into their lesson plans. However, there are a lot of cautionary measures that need to be in place to protect both teachers and students. This means that districts need to come up with social media guidelines to add to their Acceptable Use Policies in order to protect all the stakeholders.

The Process
1. Form a team of innovators whose job it would be to research other school districts and come up with a list of best practices.
2. Create a survey to involve the stakeholders in the process; in fact, surveying the school board, parents, students, staff, administrators and community members is the best way to initially involve the stakeholders and to get the process started.
3. If the pool of stakeholders is too large, use a sampling method to collect data.
4. Invite stakeholders, perhaps two individuals from each group, to analyze the data. Consider inviting an individual from another school district (who has gone through the implementation of social media guidelines) to guide the process.
5. Narrow down the guidelines and clarify.
6. Train teachers, administrators, and students.
7. Pilot the guidelines in a select school.
8. Survey stakeholders.
9. Make necessary changes to the document.
10. Implement and revisit at a set time. Revise as necessary.

Clark County School District
Clark County is the 5th largest school district in the country; however, as of this year, there is no social media policy. Currently, using social media like Facebook and Twitter is discouraged, but the district has embraced Edmodo and teachers are allowed to integrate smartphone usage in the classroom. The new superintendent has a team of innovators working on a social media policy, but I do not expect any changes to take effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Therefore, I researched the other large school districts, including New York and Los Angeles to come up with 10 basic guidelines to use as a starting point. The policies that I researched are 8-9 pages long, and I think Clark County’s policy will have to be as inclusive as New York’s and Los Angeles’ policies in order to ensure safe and appropriate usage of professional social media.

Social Media Guidelines to Consider
1. When staff is using professional social media for their classroom, they need to maintain separate professional and personal email accounts. The professional social media presence should utilize a professional email address and it needs to be completely separate from any personal social media.
2. Staff is not permitted to communicate with students utilizing personal social media.
3. School based professional social media sites and non-school based professional social media sites must have a reasonable connection to the common core standards being addressed.
4. Teachers must notify parents as to what social media sites will be utilized in class and for what purposes. This should be done at the beginning of the school year.
5. The social media sites and the purpose for using the sites must be approved by an administrator.
6. Professional social media communication must follow all regulations set forth by the existing AUP.
7. Students cannot post any personal information regarding their identity.
8. Students may not post pictures of other students.
9. Administrators will monitor staff usage of professional social media sites.
10. Any employee who engages in inappropriate behavior on any social media site is subject to discipline.
11. Staff should have no expectation of privacy regarding their usage of district property, network and or Internet access to files, including email.

How to create social media guidelines for your school. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/social-media-guidelines-resource-guide

Michelle King , Senior Deputy Superintendent. (2012). Los angeles unified school district policy bulletin (Bull-5688.0). Retrieved from Social Media Policy website: http://www.lausd.net/lausd/offices/Office_of_Communications/BUL-5688.0_SOCIAL_MEDIA_POLICY.pdf

Price, G. (n.d.). New york city dept. of education releases social media guidelines for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.infodocket.com/2012/05/01/new-york-city-dept-of-education-releases-social-media-guidelines-for-teachers/


Social Networking Case Studies

Key Characteristics of My Curation

I set out researching for case studies that involved teachers or students using social media in the English classroom, specifically high school, and I was glad to find an array of resources. For the most part, I discovered that there is a huge push all across the country to allow teachers and students the access they need to utilize social media tools. I was envious that I was no longer in a district that was at least somewhat open to this; now, my students can’t even access their own email, at least on the school computers. However, my students have found a way around this by using their smartphones!

Project Description
One of the projects/case studies that I read about involving social media included a high school senior, Paige Woodard, whose mission/project is to collaborate with administrators and teachers “who encourage their students to use social media in the classroom because they believe technology and social media is a tool necessary for a beneficial education in preparation for the 21st century workforce.” This activist has even presented her results and future goals at Stanford University! Currently, Paige is working on a DVD project that not only promotes social media in the classroom, but also teaches students what NOT to do when using social media. She hopes to sell her DVD to school districts around the country.

How I will Use it in My Classroom
Paige’s work is an exemplary example of how educational projects using social media can teach and promote 21st century learning strategies. I definitely would like to share her project with my honors kids because they choose an honors project that can incorporate altruism, personal development or job shadowing, and Paige’s project seems to be a combination of both an altruistic endeavor and personal development. The purpose of the honors project is to challenge students to be resourceful, and Paige’s involvement is a perfect example of how social networking can aid in this. My students have to find a mentor, and they are all on Twitter; by demonstrating her maturity and professionalism my students will see that they can access resources from arenas that they may not have even considered.

Project Description
Another case study focused on how college professors are using social media in their classrooms; in fact, 41% of college professors use social media as a teaching tool. The problem that these professors are finding is that students really have no clue as to how to write meaningful, insightful posts.

How I will Use it in My Classroom
This hits home with me because I know I need to prepare my students by teaching them how to write and reflect on content.
I would love to have the opportunity to prepare my students and teach them this skill utilizing social media sites. It would be a more authentic experience than just sharing this case study with them and then incorporating an activity that requires this skill. However, I can be creative, and we can create posters for this that demonstrate examples of irresponsible or unprofessional feedback versus professional feedback. I saved a rubric I found while researching, so I can have my students score the responses.

Project Description
Finally, another case study involved a teacher whose passion is to have her students write a blog post every week. The key idea here is that blogging can really help students love and care about what they write and this is a great example of how one teacher realized how true this is. Students realized that they had an audience other than their teacher for their blogs, so they bought into the process on a whole new level. This educator also reported that she saw improvements in their mechanics because they cared enough to fix their mistakes before posting.

How I will Use it in My Classroom
Even though we cannot access blogging tools, we do have access to weebly.com. My idea here is to have my students set up an account (they might have to use their smartphones to get around the email issue I mentioned earlier), and write a weekly post, sharing their website with the entire class. In a way, this is better than a blog in terms of privacy because kids can’t reply directly onto the website, easing my stress of worrying about misconduct. To keep this organized and manageable, I can have them create categories of study; for example, right now we are studying Romanticism/Transcendentalism, so they can write their blog under the specified category. I am very excited about this because I have read their writing thus far, and I’m dying to see if I too will be pleasantly surprised about their adherence to sentence structure rules and paragraph development! My kids are already pretty insightful; they just don’t always apply the writing skills that I teach them. Finally, I’m going to have to create a permission slip and come up with an alternative assignment if a parent does not want their child to have a website.