Developing a social media policy for your staff
The spring 2012 issue of JEA’s magazine, Communication: Journalism Education Today, featured an in-depth packing of material on using Facebook in the classroom. As part of this package, Matthew Schott, CJE, included an edited draft of a social media policy for school districts included below along with dozens of online resources that students and advisers can use when considering how to use social media in the classroom.
Below is a draft model social media policy. It is a start. If you like what you see here, take it to your administrators and explain to them the need for social media education for our students, teachers and administrators. This is a social media document, designed to start a discussion about how better to reach and to educate our students.
In addition, JEA has included an extensive list of resources for teachers who want to make use of social media in the classroom. Click here for a pdf version of this file.
Social Media Policy
Our goal is to create a social media model policy for school districts in Missouri that will protect students and teachers and be respectful of all parties’ First Amendment rights as well as to encourage the use of technology in and out of the classroom. Instead of shunning and restricting this technology, which is often free, school districts should embrace it through increased training and sharing of best practices.
Districts will encourage social media use in English, social studies and business departments (or their equivalents) as well as in other departments. The curriculum should include materials about how to be a proper digital citizen and about the need to make sure students are aware that the laws of publishing apply when they distribute information and opinions on the Internet. Students definitely need to understand that publishing questionable content can impact them in the future. Additionally, districts should stress the positive uses for technology and social media, such as forceful writing, accurate statements, correct grammar, photography skills, marketing, networking and more. Districts should encourage teachers to incorporate social media into regular assignments.
Teacher and administrator training
Districts will regularly provide training to update teachers and administrators about the newest ways to use technology and social media in the classroom. Training will utilize techniques to improve writing, grammar, photography skills, marketing, networking, etc. They will use the techniques to further the learning mastery of students as documented by curriculum goals. Additionally, teachers will be strongly encouraged to use social media in a responsible way in their classrooms to model proper social media behaviors to their students.
Teachers and administrators who choose to post to their social media accounts should understand the perils of sharing with students on their social media accounts. Teachers who opt to utilize social media in their classroom will inform their department chairs, assistant principals of instruction and building principals of their intentions to do so.
As the social media landscape is constantly changing, each district shall designate an employee or employees within the district who will be responsible for finding materials to be distributed to administrators at both the district and building levels as well as to teachers and to students. The educator(s) should have a strong background both in technology and in technology usage in the classroom as well as extensive knowledge of free expression laws.
As part of the hiring process of teachers and administrators, the district shall conduct a background search that includes a search of the applicant’s social media history and activity. In addition, as part of new employee training, there shall be at least two hours of training on the district’s use of social media within the district. Also, the district shall provide new hires an extensive list of resources for using social media in the classroom.
The 21st century classroom does not end at the classroom door. It is expansive and incorporates varied forms of communication. Teachers and administrators should begin viewing their classrooms and social media as one in the same. In social media situations, all parties should view discussions online as important as they would discussions in classrooms.
School accounts will be monitored for questionable issues per district policy, but districts should empower their employees to use technology regularly. As they would in their classroom, when a teacher observes any inappropriate behavior via social media, that teacher should report it in accordance with the policy. Districts should incorporate appropriate standards and discipline procedures in their codes of conduct
Each school in the district shall maintain at least one social media account (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) to use for communicating school procedures and for promoting activities — all as part of a diligent effort to explain policies and to distribute information about the school to its community. In addition, the district shall encourage all of its student media (newspapers, websites, yearbooks, broadcast outlets), as well as other student organizations, to maintain social media presences. Finally, teachers employing social media in the classroom shall inform the building principal (or designated administrator) of their intent to use social media for educational purposes.
Administrators should be trained, as they are for other valid educational instruction methods, to evaluate the teachers’ usage of social media for instruction.
Social media in general
- “Legal Advice on Using Social Media from the California Teachers Association” by Brenda Sutton-Wills
- “Welcome to the Social Revolution”
- “Social Media Find a Place in the Classroom” by Greg Toppo, USA Today
- “100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teaching Students About Social Media” by Tara Miller
Facebook in the Classroom
- “100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom”
- “50 Reasons to Invite Facebook Into Your Classroom” by Tina Barseghian
- “Faculty on Facebook: Confirm or Deny” by Michael Sturgeon
- Facebook in Education
- “Schools Weigh Risk, Benefit of Facebook” from the Christian Science Monitor
- “The Why and How of Using Facebook For Educators – No Need to be Friends At All!” by Ronnie Burt
- “How Schools Can Use Facebook to Build an Online Community” by David Hartstein
- “50 Reasons to Invite Facebook Into Your Classroom” by Tina Barseghian
- “5 Best Practices for Educators on Facebook” by Sarah Kessler
- Facebook for Educators by Linda Fogg Phillips, Derek Baird and B.J. Fogg
- “Twitter for Teachers: A Collaborative Effort to Teach Teachers About Twitter”
- “The Ultimate Guide to Using Twitter in Education” by Jeff Dunn
- “Tweeting the Future of Scholastic Journalism”
- “Twitter in the Classroom: Watch This Teacher Engage Shy Students in Learning History” from CNN
- “Many Educators Find Twitter a Useful Tool” by Adrienne Lu, Philadelphia Inquirer
- “How One Teacher Uses Twitter in the Classroom” by Marshall Kirkpatrick
- “Preventing Cyberbullying: Top 10 Tips for Educators” by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin, Cyberbullying Research Center
- “Safe And Responsible Social Networking: Strategies For Keeping Yourself Safe Online” by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin, Cyberbullying Research Center
- Google applications for education
- Google for Educators
- Google Moderator
- “Mobile Journalism Reporting Tools Guide” from the Reynolds Journalism Institute
- The 21st Century Literacy Project
- “33 Interesting Ways to Use Mobile Phones in the Classroom” by Tom Barrett
- A Journalist’s Primer to Google+ by Jen Lee Reeves, PBS
- “7 Fantastic Free Social Media Tools for Teachers” by Sarah Kessler