It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were only just being developed. Now, it’s hard to go a day without browsing any of these social networking sites or talking about them. With the prevalence of social media in our everyday lives, it is important to understand how it has changed our communities.
As a relatively new phenomenon, schools are one place in which administrations and teachers are trying to create policies around social media use. There are many times in which Facebooking has gone wrong in the education field. For instance, when teachers or students post inappropriate or questionable material that can ultimately get them fired or expelled.
The New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire is tackling the issue head on with a policy that deems what is and isn’t acceptable online. The first policy for them is that teachers are not to friend or follow any of their students on any social media channels. They reason that it’s important to establish good relationships with students offline, away from social media channels. Their next policy is for Facebook groups for sports teams. Coaches and players are not able to be Facebook friends, but may interact in a way that the sports team can have an online presence. Furthermore, the final policy for the school is to respect the students’ personal social media presences. With a one to one iPad policy, the school needs to keep a certain policy in light of the educational environment.
Other schools have been taking different approaches with looser policies. Teachers and students are allowed to have social media contact, but they are still cautioned not to discuss grades or performance and rather to use email. Whatever type of policy schools use, loose or strict, it is important to understand the growing popularity of social media in our academic lives and how to use it to be best benefit both students and teachers.