Used effectively, social media can provide one of the most meaningful and powerful learning platforms available. Yet, in many cases, we don't have conversations about recommended practices and practices that teachers may want to reconsider. These conversations are important if we want to support others in dipping their toes (or diving) into these waters. Below are some conversation starters about social media use. These may be helpful for educators to discuss and consider how teachers are engaging where you work. As you review this list, know that this is not the same old do's and don'ts list. Times are changing. Out with "don't talk to strangers" and in with "considering ways to help students in engage responsibly with strangers online to build their learning network." Take a look at the advice below. Do you agree? Disagree? Why? What's missing?
Think Twice Before...
Interact with students on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Edmodo for academic purposes via groups, communities, pages, or a unique hashtag.
Friending or following students on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If you do, you must remember your role as a mandated reporter.
Take days without pay if you are going on vacation and don’t have vacation days.
Using sick days when you are going on vacation and posting pictures in social media such as Instagram or Facebook.
Praise publicly (with permission) when using social media.
Criticizing or writing negatively about students, staff, parents or others on social media. Even if you think it is private, it may not be.
Support students in engaging with “strangers on the internet” to build their learning network. Help them do so safely and responsibly.
Becoming involved in your student’s online activities that you aren’t involved in offline.
Dress in a professional manner in online spaces that you use as a part of your work.
Dressing differently than you would at school in online spaces you use as a part of your work.
Ensure your school principal or supervisor or a designee is aware of the online spaces you are using as a part of your work.
Engaging with students online without the knowledge of your supervisor.
Like, reply, and comment in social media related to student’s school-based activities.
Liking, replying, and commenting in social media unrelated to student’s school-based activities.
Connect with the world using tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Google to bring experts, authors, and others in your classroom.
Deciding not be a connected educator.
Set up a hashtag so parents and the school community can be aware of the amazing work happening in schools.
Keeping the work of students and staff hidden behind school walls.
Help students establish a digital footprint that will lead to academic, career, and citizen success.
Hiding who you are online and not being the you, you want the world to see.
When leaving a position, ensure there is a staff member in place to moderate any online spaces you have set up.
Staying in touch with students via social media spaces you set up as part of your job if you are no longer holding that position.
Join online communities like the NYC DOE Digital Literacy group to connect staff and better understand how to best interact via onlne spaces.
Staying disconnected from others who share your work-related passions, talents, and interests.
Attend professional development to understand the social media guidelines and related topics.
Figuring things out on your own without support.
Only use a professional email address for work related activity.
Using your personal email to contact students, parents, or create work-related accounts.
Notify parents of their children’s social media use.
Using social media with students without informing parents.
Ensure parents are aware they are responsible for:
Using social media with students without informing parents of their responsibilities.