Education groups weigh in on digital media use policies

School policies should reflect technology’s potential for teaching and learning, a new report says.

A new report from a number of prominent education groups aims to guide school leaders as they revise their mobile technology and social media policies to better reflect how today’s students want to learn.

The report, “Making Progress: Rethinking State and School District Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media,” was produced by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the FrameWorks Institute.

It defines social media as “the set of applications for digital devices that enable the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Mobile technologies are “devices with internet connectivity that can be held easily in one’s hand.”…Read More

Developing sound social media policies for schools

Kimmel Farm Elementary School includes the teaching of social media in its school improvement plan.

In a world where three out of four teens have a cell phone, and roughly the same number have used a social networking website, it’s imperative that schools not only develop social media guidelines for their students and staff but also teach students about safe and responsible social media use, said a pair of education leaders.

Steven Anderson, instructional technologist for North Carolina’s Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WSFCS), and Sam Walker, a technology facilitator at the district’s Kimmel Farm Elementary School, presented a session called “Understanding and Creating Social Media Guidelines for Educators” during ASCD’s 67th annual conference March 25.

Anderson and Walker are leaders in bringing social media into the classroom and teaching students how to use social media safely and ethically. Under their guidance, Kimmel Farm reportedly became the first school in North Carolina to include the teaching of social media in its school improvement plan.…Read More

Schools grapple with social media policies

Dallas-area schools open their doors today to tech-savvy students who probably spent their summer texting their friends and updating their Facebook pages, reports the Dallas Morning News—but should that type of direct and somewhat personal communication extend to teachers and students? The concept is unexplored territory for some school districts and is gaining acceptance in others. Some coaches and extracurricular sponsors have been texting students for years with practice updates or cancellations. Others are more hesitant to break the invisible barrier between the classroom and after-school life. The situation has school districts perched on the precipice of a slippery slope: Now that this technology is commonplace, what is the proper use of it? The definition of proper electronic behavior with students is still being hammered out, as local school district policies are inconsistent and still evolving on this ever-changing issue. Districts are keenly aware of the potential pitfalls of teachers communicating with students via the internet and cell phones. On the other hand, school districts and teachers trying to reach and engage students and parents find that using the latest and most popular technology is faster, cost-effective, and meets students and parents in their communication comfort zones. Statewide, the Texas Education Agency does not have a policy about electronic or social media and does not provide direction about the issue. Districts are seeking guidance from local teacher groups and the Texas Association of School Boards. But even those messages can conflict…

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