Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Social Media: Policy Trends

Social media is a term used to describe a lot of things. For many of us we associate it with Facebook or Twitter and we never think about the countless other ways we use social media technology in our professional and personal lives. Our most commonly used social media device is our phone, often called a "smart phone." Cell phones are no longer used for just making calls. They are now used for locating things on the Internet, sending short messages to friends or family, watching television shows or even movies, reading books, and locating a good restaurant or a nearby coffee shop. In other words, for many of us, our social media device (our cell phone) has become indispensable.

I work a lot with principals, superintendents and people who aspire to those roles. When I mention social media they often describe the perils of its availability and use in their schools. But more recently the tone of these conversations is changing from "how do I ban them" to "how do we use them effectively." That's a monumental shift and recognizes that social media technology and social media devices are just not going away. Some schools have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that encourage students to bring and use their social media devices for instructional activities.

As a school leader how do you manage social media technology among your students and your employees. What sort of policy might you consider? What type of policy would be appropriate given the prevalence of social media devices and the powerful tools that social media provides for communication, collaboration, and teaching and learning?

One of my favorite online journals is THE Journal, a publication about current and emerging issues involving technology. Ruth Reynard wrote a really insightful article discussing current policy trends that try to control social media. She offers really useful ideas about how to shape policy so that social media is used appropriately and not in a harmful way.

In The School Leader's Guide to Social Media Howard Johnston and I discuss many of the same issues and provide examples of tools and strategies for using social media in schools. We'd really enjoy hearing from you about how social media is shaping your school and its instructional program.

1 comment:

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