Opinion: Teachers should use social networks to inform, not socialize

On the question of students, teachers, and social networking, CNN’s Schools of Thought blog posed this question on Jan. 20: Do you think there are more benefits or downsides to this kind of communication? As a public high school teacher, it’s a question I have pondered often, says Brad Boeker for Yahoo! News. How do schools make sure communication between students and teachers stays appropriate without placing outright bans on many useful, instant forms of communication? I think the answer lies in identifying the purpose of the communication and defining the word social in social networking. The easy approach would be for school boards to ban all communication outside of school between teachers and students. After all, isn’t the primary job of a school to look after the safety of its students? The problem with that knee-jerk solution is that it automatically cuts off many legitimate and creative uses of electronic communication. My former colleague, Joe Chianakas, now a professor at Illinois Central College, used a Twitter feed to deliver homework assignments and reminders about upcoming quizzes and tests. To me that is a terrific use of technology that helps engage students…

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