The use of social media in schools has been a buzz-worthy topic. Parents, educators and students fall on both sides of the divide. Some argue that it’s a distraction and is inappropriate in the classroom, while others make the case that it’s become such a ubiquitous tool that classrooms need to prepare students to use social media. Some schools are enacting strict policies, though many districts are waiting to see how the social media debate shakes out. Whether your child’s school has a formal social media policy or not, there are a few things you need to know about social media and school.
Policies don’t fix everything
Social media policies are still relatively new. Some districts haven’t figured out how to enact policies that protect students while still allowing employees their right to use the communication tools. One major problem with social media policies is that the technology changes too fast for the policies to keep up. Teach your children basic common sense and internet safety. Your children should understand your policies for social media.
Social media as a teaching tool
Tech-savvy teachers have set up accounts on social media platforms to broadcast announcements. For example, some teachers set up a class account on Twitter and tweet out updates, additional resources and class announcements. Likewise, Facebook pages — not personal profiles — are being used in schools as a group-wide communication tool. Some class teachers use a blog or forum to disseminate information or to host discussions outside of class time.
Limit to academic information
Your kids need to understand the distinction between using social media for personal reasons and for academic reasons. If social media in school is limited to academic use, problems will be eliminated. For example, if your student participates in a group Facebook page for a school course, he or she should understand that doesn’t include “friending” the teacher. Keep social media use in school academic, and save the personal use for home.
An education in social media
The reality is that social media is here to stay. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or one of the innumerable other platforms, students need to understand how social media works and how to use it appropriately. Eventually, this technical literacy will help your kids be competitive in the workplace. Learning how to communicate in a group and how to navigate social channels will help them be tech-savvy learners.