Social networking sites have become a big part of our lives. And while there are a large number of teachers who are social media savvy, there are still a few important things all teachers who use social media should be aware of.
1. Can I use the same social network account for both professional and personal use?
It is important for teachers to protect their professional reputations. You can use the same social networking account for both professional and personal use just by changing a few privacy settings. Every social networking website has an option where you can limit the visibility of your content like posts, updates, photographs and personal information.
If not that, you can have two social networking accounts because managing personal as well as professional information on the same account may lead to some confusion. Having a separate professional account allows you to connect to your students, their parents and other teachers without any hesitation.
2. Can I be friends with my students on social networking sites?
You can be friends with your students on social networking sites. However, accepting friend-requests from students on your personal account is not a good idea. By accepting requests and sharing personal content with students, you may be leaving yourself open to allegations of unwanted contacts. You can simply ignore their request or limit them from seeing your personal content even if you do ending up being friends with them or following them.
3. Can I allow social media in the classroom?
Many students use social media outside the classroom to communicate.
In fact some students are more comfortable communicating online than in the classroom. You can utilize this interest and create an online environment for your students where they can exchange ideas and information. By using social media in the classroom, you can identify and understand the portion of the lesson where students are facing problems.
4. Can I use social networking for educational purposes? If yes, then what are the different (and free) educational social media I can use?
You can use social media as an educational tool by sharing educational content online. You can also connect with your students and have one-on-one video sessions with them. Here are some educational social media platforms:
- Twiducate: Twiducate is a free social media platform for teachers and students. Here you can post assignments and share educational resources online with your students and with your fellow teachers. You can also administer your students’ accounts.
- Edmodo: Edmodo is a free social networking website that functions as a learning platform for students by allowing them to learn individually or as a group. Additionally, teachers can use this as a platform to create class videos, make assignments and make announcements.
- Flipped Learning Network: Flipped Learning Network is a free social media network that connects teachers engaged in flipped learning with each other as well as students.
5. What should I do if my students post any inappropriate content?
If you find your students posting inappropriate content on social networking sites, you should report this to the appropriate person in your school or contact them yourself and ask them to take it down.
Later on, you may talk to the student about the consequences of posting such inappropriate content and make him/her understand why it is wrong.
6. How should I settle online disputes?
If you find your students or colleagues involved in an online argument, ask them to take the argument offline. Contact the student or colleague and let them know that their conversation is publicly visible.
Unless they ask you to mediate, do not interfere in the dispute. However, the instances in which you can take action as a teacher are: cyber bullying, harassment, racism, vulgar and derogatory language etc.
How do you utilize social media? Do you have more questions to ask? Please share your opinions and ideas in the comment section below.