Many "families ‘like’ our Facebook page. This gives us a great tool to communicate quickly with a good portion of our parents," said one reader.

Smart phones might be getting the green light in more schools around the country, but social networking is still getting the yellow in many schools: Parents are worried about bullying, teacher-student online relationships are questioned, and school security can be compromised all too easily, some critics fear.

To understand how social media, an almost integral part of our current culture, can benefit K-12 schools and districts, we asked eSchool News readers: “Name one way you use social networking in your school/district. Or, if you can’t/don’t currently use social networking, how would you like to?”

From professional development to providing real-world examples of mathematics, readers say it’s time to make the best of what can be a valuable resource for education. Here are some of the top ways they’re using social networking in their schools.

How have social media enhanced your own district, school, or classroom environment? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

10. Professional development

“In my professional role, I’ve become very quickly reliant on Twitter and Facebook to inform me of trends and Web 2.0 tools I should be considering using with students/sharing with staff. For the most part, social networking is blocked in our district, and it’s frustrating to not have access to ed-tech blogs I’d like to check with on school time.” —Marcia Dressel, K-5 librarian, Osceola, Wis.