There have been a number of discussions in the media about the use of Facebook & other communication technology in education and in the work place. A recent example:
Should schools have a Facebook page?
(by Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun, 9 Aug 2011)
Dialogue worth the risk
(by Cornelia Naylor, Chilliwack Times, 16 Aug 2011)
Your School Needs a Facebook Page
(by Chris Weir, Web: “The Wejr Board,” 5 Aug 2011)
Or from USA Today, 25 July 2011:
Social media find a place in classroom
In the revised Service Plan for the Ministry of Education (May 2011), the Honourable George Abbott (Minister of Education) states in his introductory message that:
“Technology is changing the school landscape and we need to harness the opportunities that technology provides so we can better meet the unique needs of individual students through a personalized approach to learning.”
From page 8 of the same document:
“Students are growing up in a world that is increasingly connected and reliant on technology. Communication is instantaneous and information is available from anywhere at any time. Many of today’s career opportunities did not even exist a decade ago. Students need to have the skills to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Today’s employers are looking for workers with well-developed skills in areas such as critical thinking, communication, innovation, problem solving, and teamwork.”
I strongly encourage parents to explore this web site, to become familiar with the tools your child will use in my classroom. Even if you have already done so, I recommend you re-visit your child’s personal use of social media and online tools. Discuss privacy, ethics and online identity. Together, go over the internet contract as well as the consent forms. I believe such discussions are the most effective when held both at home and at school, when parents are clearly familiar with the online environment in which students will be working.
Technology has increased the number of ways teachers can communicate with students and parents. Although students are free to post online at any time, I will be restricting my online responses to standard business hours (8 am – 5 pm), school days only (although occasionally, I may make informational tweets at other times). Listed below are the different ways I hope to communicate with students and parents this year:
District Email: For communication with parents/guardians only. Students must communicate in person only. Homework assignments must be uploaded as directed to Moodle or to GW Digital or handed in via the school network.
Facebook Page for Marketing Class: This particular page was created with a for school-only FB account. All posts and images are public and are available for viewing by parents/guardians. FB pages do not involve “Friending.” Students who use their personal FB account to “Like” the page will not show up on the site. Only marketing students will be allowed to post using accounts created specifically for the course (they will not be permitted to use their personal FB accounts). Posts by non-marketing students or members of the public will be deleted and discouraged for now.
GW Digital Blog: My homework site hosted outside the district. All posts and comments by students and teacher will be public. GWG administrators & interested staff will have access as well. No chat function. Only students & staff with login privileges will be able to post comments.
Moodle: Password protected district server. Access by district staff, administrators and students. Parents may also access Moodle (students will be instructed to give your their username & password) but will see only the work posted by their child. Group projects or discussions (that the student is a member of) will be visible as well.
School Telephone: Email is usually a faster method of communication for me but there’s nothing wrong with traditional methods.
Texting: None between teacher and students. However, secondary level students may be permitted to answer review questions via their cell phones. See the consent forms or click “Parents” in the horizontal menu above for more information.
Twitter: My for school-only Twitter account is lab_teacher. Only students in my secondary level courses may tweet public replies using accounts created specifically for class. No direct messages will be permitted and all unknown followers will be blocked (students will be directed to do the same). Parents may check all tweets via the Twitter Feed “View more…” link to the left of the screen or the most recent tweets from the pop out Twitter widget at the right side of the screen (students have also been instructed to give you their Twitter username). Twitter discussions, if any, will be held using a class-specific hashtag and all tweets will be projected onto the classroom screen. Students will be directed to delete stray or inappropriate tweets (if any).
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at the school. Any changes in this social media policy will be communicated to you immediately via email list and here at the web site.