In this digital age, many companies have implemented internal social media policies that serve as social media best practice guidelines for employees. Doing so ensures effective stakeholder communication and helps avoid any unfortunate situations. However, now the trend is beginning to appear in schools across the country, as many school officials have begun drawing up rules regarding social networking — electronic communication between teachers and students.
School officials said electronic social networking has become a useful tool in connecting teachers with students and parents. But the officials said due to the very nature of electronic communication, there is a risk of blurring the lines between a teacher’s professional life and personal life.
Several schools across the nation have already implemented a social media policy for employees. On May 8, the nonprofit Edutopia released “How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School.” The free guide, released during Teacher Appreciation Week, is part of a collaboration with Facebook.
“Without having a plan and a focus on how you’re going to go about incorporating social media, you’re potentially going to find that you’re not able to reap the benefits,” says Cindy Johanson, executive director of The George Lucas Educational Foundation, which produces Edutopia
The Edutopia primer includes examples from various schools, such as Minnesota‘s Minnetonka Public Schools social media policy, which explains how teachers should protect confidential information, ensure the safety of students online, and more.
Social media in the classroom appeals to teachers, as it provides a medium for students to share ideas and collaborate with peers from other classes on
projects. It also allows teachers to spread ideas beyond their classroom. Social media also facilitates parent engagement, which is essential for an effective school.
“It’s much more motivating for students at all levels—especially in high school—to be able to create work, get feedback, and share their work,” Johanson says. “So many educators on the front line are seeing this great opportunity where kids are no longer just creating work for an audience of one—which might have been, in the past, a teacher—but they’re able to produce work that can be shared in a much broader way.”