Draft Social Media Policy.


This week we had to examine the important topic of social media policy. The activity was informative, instructional and, in my case I hope, beneficial to our school. Our school does not currently have a policy and so what I have written will become the starting point for an actual policy. We have a new Director of E-Learning in the school and he was enthusiastic that the document that I created could be the starting point for a school document. In that respect, I have stuck to a format which will be easy to modify, edit and change –  and which also fits with current school policy structures.

I really wanted to finish it and use some kind of graphic program to make a cool looking poster, image. No reason, just my desire to create things which appeal to students. However, that would have been wasted time because the document will need to undergo a lot of changes. So I stuck to Google docs this time. When it is finished, I will ask if I can make it look appealing. This is important stuff and so I want all stakeholders to look at it and think, ‘yup, I’m gonna read that.’

I can’t say that creating the actual document was a lot of fun. Not because it was difficult or overwhelming – I have written numerous school policies over the last 16 years. . . but because I didn’t like doing it on my own. I feel that the initial creation of a policy is always better or stronger if it is done with others. You come to the table prepared and work collaboratively to shape the document. It is more difficult if the document you share for feedback is largely the work of one person. If I was to change anything about this assignment, I would have enjoyed doing it with perhaps one other person. Using social media to connect and share would have been a nice touch. That said, these feelings are totally personal to me and my style of learning and working.

I have created a pretty simple document because it will need to grow and change. I have phrased headings under positive, ‘Be’ statements to give some structure. There is a lot still to add, I am aware of that. However, I know that what I have started will hopefully grow into a strong, dynamic, school policy and ethos which will help to guide all members of our community in their online interactions and use of social media.

As always, comments are very much appreciated.

The link below is set to only be available to Bronco-mail users so as to maintain confidentiality and privacy until the policy is made public.

My draft Social Media Policy


Social Media as an Instructional Tool

Social Media in the Elementary classroom
Social Media in the Elementary classroom

This week I have been investigating how teachers are using different social media in elementary classrooms. What I found out was  practical, useful and I can say with a high degree of certainty that it will find its way into my classroom. After reading the activity through, I decided to focus my search on 4 tools which I already new about but had very limited experience with. There are many many tools out there but I wanted my research to have focus and a point. I knew that I could get sidetracked reading about new things for hours. I already wanted to use these tools but had not got round to it. To a certain extent I wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Research without a practical purpose is just . . . looking.

I chose, Skype, Kidblog, Edmodo and Twitter and found some wonderful teachers who are using these tools in a variety of ways. I chose to use Scoop.it to curate the articles and I have included a link at the bottom of the page to my curated articles. I didn’t use the built in search tools, I spent hours just searching for examples – I wanted the search to be more organic and to come from me. I was a little overwhelmed at first trying to find the right kind of reflective pieces but as I read more and more, I found some excellent pieces – mostly educators blogging about their experiences.

There were several key themes that kept coming up and that all the educators embraced in some explicit or implicit way. Firstly, the purpose of using these tools is clearly linked to learning – not just doing. All the educators spoke about connectivity and real-world preparedness. Educators are using these tools to help their pupils to connect with others, communicate more effectively and reflect upon the experience. The second clear theme was that these tools are not hard to use with any age of pupil. With a little planning, thoughtfulness and collaboration they can be adapted to work with pupils in any grade level.

I learned so many practical tips that I will have to revisit the sites numerous times to make sure I have it all down. I have set some goals for myself. Conduct a Mystery Skype as soon as possible, embrace Kidblog as a place for pupils to build portfolios and love writing, open an Edmodo account and change my attitude towards Twitter. I will now see it as a tool for all of us in my class, not just a tool for me.

Classes are social places – I firmly believe one of the most important things we do in schools is to help children learn to socialize and interact with others. The world that my current 5th graders live in is very different that mine was 30 years ago. I owe it to them to help them connect and understand that world and social media must play a part in that process. It will play a part in their lives. As I teach younger pupils, obviously care needs to be taken with how these tools are introduced and used. But that applies to all that I do as a teacher so it is not a barrier to success simply something to embrace. Look out for @Quitoclass coming soon (our class is called Quito).

Thanks Andrew


Social Media 543 – First Blog post. Thoughts and reflections

I have to say that I am honestly very positive and relaxed about joining the four social networks. I have been using Twitter for about a year and have had a personal Facebook page since 2007. I have experimented with blogging a couple of times using Blogger but never WordPress. Diigo was new to me and after figuring out the basics, I like it. I have already shared it with my Leadership team and will set up a group for our elementary team and lead some training on it later in the year.  We use a lot of internet resources and it is a simple way to share, annotate and get staff involved across our school.

My only reservations and biases were with Facebook, which I think is in decline in a number of ways. Their heavy advertising, profiling and the constant battle with privacy issues makes me more wary of how relevant it will be in a few years. Young people are already drifting away. That said, I do check it daily and post family pics on my personal page to share so I am a little inconsistent. I’m looking forward to having my biases challenged.

My experiences with social media for my own professional development have changed markedly in the last 12 months. I thought Twitter was for following celebrities –  so I stayed away. As an elementary teacher, Facebook is not really an option as all pupils are under 13 and our school has a system for parental communication in place. To be honest until 12 months ago Social Media to me was Facebook. I was lucky enough to attend a local training session and one of the speakers was Will Richardson, who was inspirational. The other educators there were more switched on than I was and I got fired up. I signed up for Twitter that afternoon and have embraced it. I have learned so much from so many people sharing their ideas and links. I organized and led a session with my staff on the use of twitter and it was successful. Staff embraced it and I saw ideas in their classes that came directly from connections they had made on Twitter.  However, I have realized how many other things are out there that I am clueless about and am excited to expand my understanding. I don’t believe the world will, ‘unconnect’ and so social media in all it’s ever changing and emerging forms is going to be pivotal in my professional life.

I have not used social media as an instructional strategy with pupils in my environment. As I mentioned above, I have embraced Twitter  and encouraged other staff to do the same but that is really the limit of my experience. I am looking forward to that changing.

My expectations for the course are really simple, I want to learn, to develop new knowledge, skills and understanding. I hope to be able to share, connect, share some more and hopefully laugh along the way.