I had done some research for my INF506 project, so I re-looked into some of the news reports and blogs I found in relation to social media policy in BC schools – basically only a few school districts have one.
This article ‘Social media policy needed in BC schools‘ by Joanne Abshire back in May 2012, which isn’t that long ago, clearly states the need for school districts to have SM policies as more and more teachers are using SM in their classrooms. The popularity and wide spread use of social media is coming from the ground up – namely students and parents – and school districts need to hurry up and catch on to its popularity and develop policies. She suggests school districts collaborate to make these policies instead of ad hoc as it seems to be now.
This leads to the next article, ‘Vancouver school board mulls social media policy‘ (no author) published in May 2013! It seems it took this large school district a full year before they have even begun to “mull” the idea of the need for a social media policy. This article focused mostly around the issues of friending students online and what is appropriate for school employees to post online.
Here is another article from Maple Ridge, BC, from Nov 2013, about another school district, Maple Ridge, drafting a social media policy for implementation. I have been so surprised that school districts are still drafting or have not yet implemented a social media policy at the end of 2013. Is this a case of school districts thinking it was just a fad to be used by and between students only?
So how about a couple of policies already in place in school districts in British Columbia. School District 71 (Comox Valley) has a policy that is based around the FIPPA legislation that prevents most use of social media in public schools. Although the actual policy is short, the permission forms are important pieces of the puzzle for BC school districts. School District 23 (Central Okanagan)‘s policy could use some more detail I feel, but it is at least more than most school districts in the province.
So, what’s my role in all this as a teacher librarian? I see it as my job to be an advocate for drafting and implementation of a social media policy, or at the very least remind administration of the importance and need for SM policy in the online world of 2014.