Social Media Policies in schools have fast become a necessity as social networking and social media continues to grow in popularity (Oxiem, n.d., slide 4). A clear social media policy will describe what is and isn’t appropriate for use at school in regards to social media, as well as expectations for allowed social media surrounding privacy, appropriate communications, use of school name, and consequences for policy violations among other things (Oxiem, n.d., slide 21). The policy is to keep everyone on the same page (students and teachers alike) for safety reasons, productivity reasons, and legal reasons (Zimmer, n.d., slide 16).
TASK: So, for this OLJ Task I decided to look at social media policies advice in regards teachers’ use of Web 2.0 tools and spaces for work and personal use while using a school’s computers/network and time. From the recommended reading I have come up with 5 key points I would advise to a Social Media Policy team in a school environment:
1. Ensure the policy states what, if any, social media sites (specifically by name and general site descriptions for as yet unknown sites) are allowed to be used by teachers for personal reason at school during and outside of work hours (Fleet, 2009, slide 3). Can teachers use social media sites at all for personal reasons at school on any device? Are they allowed but only after school hours? Can they access social media sites but only on their own devices not connected to the network? These questions respond to Zimmer’s (n.d.) productivity reasons for having an internal social media policy and are included to ensure work time is used appropriately.
2. Ensure the policy states what, if any, social media sites are allowed to be used by teachers for educational purposes at school (Fleet, 2009, slide 3). Is Twitter/Facebook allowed to be used by teachers if it is to connect with other educators for Professional Development? Can teachers keep and write a blog during school hours if it is to be used in class? Can teachers use a SM for classroom learning? This refers to safety reasons for having a social media policy as teachers mustn’t use sites that could put students in the path of online predators, or expose their privacy.
3. Explicitly state what cannot be posted online in terms of confidentiality of students and school matters (Lauby, 2009b; Society for New Communications Research, n.d.). Can photos of students participating in a school carnival be placed online by a teacher? Can incidents regarding the school be mentioned online, even if it is done outside of school hours and on personal devices not connected to the network? This, of course, refers to safety and legal reasons (Zimmer, n.d.) for needing a social media policy and should be reenforced often to teachers, and even other students.
4. Explicitly state boundaries in regards to communicating with students online (Fleet, 2009, slide 8;10). Can teacher befriend students on social networking sites? (Usually an easy No there, but what about Edmodo?). Can teachers and students communicate via email outside of school hours? This is again for safety and legal reasons. The lines have been blurred somewhat with the introduction of social media and communicating with students online, so policy must clearly state what is and isn’t appropriate.
5. Include consequences and action for any teacher violating the social media policy (Fleet, 2009, slide 8). What course of action will be taken on a first offense? What about after repeated offenses?
+ An another bonus one – make sure your teachers and staff know and clearly understand the social media policy after it is implemented!! (Lauby, 2009a; Society for New Communications Research, n.d.).
David Fleet’s Social Media Policies E-book (2009). Available http://www.slideshare.net/davefleet/social-media-policies-ebook
Lauby, S. (2009a) Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy? Mashable, 27 April [blog] http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/social-media-policy/
Lauby, S. (2009b) 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy, Mashable, 6 February [blog] http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/
Oxiem (n.d.). Welcome to the New Media World [Slideshare]. Retrieved Jan 20, 2014 from http://www.slideshare.net/oxiem/social-media-policy-for-school-districts
Society for New Communications Research. (n.d.) Best practices for developing a social media policy. Available http://www.socialmedia.biz/social-media-policies/best-practices-for-developing-a-social-media-policy/
Zimmer, L. (n.d.). Social Media Policies: Why and How [Slideshare]. Accessed Jan 20, 2014 from CSU INF506 Module 5 http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201390_W_D/page/7a1da37e-c46f-48e5-8015-bab41aae4b0a