There has been a lot of press lately about educators and their inappropriate use of social networking sites like facebook. The latest was an educator in Massachusetts who was asked to resign after posting negative comments about the school district she worked for. (She thought she was only sharing with ‘her friends’.) Also in Lee County Florida teachers will be returning back to school under a new policy, forbidding them to communicate and friend their students on social network sites.
I’m not debating here the possibilities of using social networks within our schools to promote communication, collaboration, and engagement of students. (If you are interested in Facebook as an Instructional Tool check out this post.) Instead I’d like to address the idea that as educators (school staff, teachers, teaching assistants, paraprofessionals, administrators: anyone who works in schools) we need to be professionals and model good behavior for our students. This behavior doesn’t end at the school building, or out in the community, but also extends to the digital world as well. The digital world not only is where most of our students spend a lot of their time, but also is a world that can be saved, shared, edited, and distributed around the world and can (and will) exist forever. The saying, ‘What happens in Vegas, stays on Youtube (or facebook),’ is true.
In order to address how to be professional in a digital world I have created a series of informational sheets, including this ‘Before you click send…’ resource for our teachers.
Being a Professional in a Digital World: Social Networks and Sharing Information –
With a new school year starting, we need to make sure that we are professional, positive, and productive in the digital world.
Other resources to check out:
Ten Commandments for Teachers on the Web for a great discussion about how teachers need to act on the web. The comments add a good follow-up and good thoughts from various educators.
Every Teacher’s Must Have Guide to Facebook Has some good dos and don’ts for teachers.
Should Educators be afraid of having a Facebook Profile? This addresses not only privacy settings and how to keep your profile safe, but also ways to use facebook educationally that won’t jeopardize your privacy.