1. Let Down the Filters, Cautiously
52% of schools said they prohibit any use of social networking sites on campus. Some districts are working toward making those sites more accessible to students, but they need an educational justification to do so while ensuring usage won’t be abused.
2. Add “Digital Citizenship” to the Curriculum
Susan Brooks Young, a former educator who is now a technology consultant for schools, likens children’s social media usage to driving; neither activities are going away. “We really guide them through the process of driving to make it as safe as we can. Social media in a lot of ways parallels that. You would never just give that child a set of car keys.”
3. Keep One Eye on Student Conduct, the Other on the Law
Many states have laws giving schools authority over off-campus conduct if it disrupts in-school instruction. Francine Ward, a California-based lawyer specializing in social media issues, expects the number of cases involving social media use and schools to climb in the next few years. The best way to get ahead of this is to amend every school’s “Code of Conduct” to include online activity, if only to have a policy in place when something does erupt. Adding social media policy to student handbooks sends a message that schools take online usage seriously.
4. Teach With Social Media
A 2009 survey commissioned by PBS shows digital and social media use by teachers is on the rise, but social media usage in classes lags behind other types of media. While 76% of American K-12 teachers say they use digital media in class, only 29% say they use a social networking site or social media community for instruction.
- How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement
- 3 Ways Educators Are Embracing Social Technology