Schools consider policies for teachers, students on Facebook
Broward and Miami-Dade schools consider policies for teachers, students on Facebook and using smartphones
In the real world, students are expected to follow along with their teachers, and if they like them even better.
But in the virtual world of social media, should principals and school districts know when students "like" their teacher's profile page on Facebook, or "follow" them on Twitter?
The question is up for discussion as Miami-Dade and Broward lay the groundwork for social media policies that address its growing use among teachers and students.
Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado is proposing a measure to be discussed at Wednesday's board meeting that would require school staff to notify principals if they have accepted friend requests from students on social networking sites.
"If you're doing it in the capacity as a teacher, the school site administrator should know," Regalado said. " It's the same as if you were meeting after school with your students to help them; your school site administrator would know."
In Broward, a committee of parents, students and staff have been working to develop a social media policy that tackles cyberbullying, but also establishes guidelines for what's appropriate for discussion in virtual exchanges
"They're not any different than having good behavioral skills in person," said Jeanine Gendron, director of instructional technology for Broward County Public Schools. "What's appropriate in your face-to-face conversation with people, being respectful, and having good social etiquette, should also be followed online."
A Broward School Board workshop Tuesday focused on revamping the district's technology use policy to include tablets, social media and smartphones, tools that didn't exist when the policy was implemented in August 1996.
Gendron said the committee has not yet tackled whether to set any restrictions or reporting requirements for school staff using social media sites to communicate with students.
In her request to draw up a new social media policy for Miami-Dade, Regalado said she is not trying to limit interaction on the social networks, but thinks establishing a reporting policy would help the district collect data on how many pupils and teachers use websites like Facebook and Twitter for educational exchanges.
"We don't even have a full picture of how many students and employees are linked up on social media, that's part of the problem," Regalado said. "We need that information. If the results come back, and only 5 percent of our employees have these links on social media, it's not going to keep me up at night. If it's 78 percent, then we have to have a serious conversation about what they can post for students to see, how they're posting and assessing any other needs."
Read Full Article