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.

References
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/

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