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Articles tagged with social networking

‘Tweet’ tips for board members to use social media to reach out

Just as the news media has learned to go online to alert readers when news breaks out, so too can school leaders use social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about the successes of their students and the decisions of boards and superintendents.

“Some folks get spooked by the Twitter because of its 140-character limit for messages,” said Brad Hughes of the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA). “But you are really just writing a headline for the rest of the story, which can be a full-length document that is linked to from the Twitter post. Put the document on a website, create a link and then you’re ready to tease with your Twitter post, and give all the information you need in the linked document.”

Hughes, who manages KSBA’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube services to members, offered a series of tips in a Sunday morning full workshop on social media, followed by an afternoon Learning Lounge abbreviated session. Among his recommendations:

# “Keep it professional. If you have a personal Facebook page (I do), fine, but on the board member or district Facebook page, it should be all business about education.”

# “Try to post something every day. People have almost limitless online resources to use to stay in the know, so you’ve got to give them fresh information on a regular basis.”

# “Promote the social media sites in your print materials, business cards, e-mail signature lines, primary websites — anywhere you may otherwise be driving people for information.”

# “Consider carefully the issue of allowing others to react and post to your social media site. Again, it’s one thing on a personal page you allow friends to read and respond. It’s another for you to create an official information tool and the open it up to critics for their two cents’ worth.”

Erin Walsh|April 22nd, 2012|Categories: NSBA Annual Conference 2012|Tags: , , |

Policing staff members online activity becoming a murkier proposition

1-1216221367ByEeOh, the examples I had for my December ASBJ story were bountiful — and disparate. After all, I’d come across a number of sordid tales of teachers soliciting and cultivating inappropriate relationships with students via cell phones and social networking sites. And while I thought it was a growing problem, what also inspired me to write a story about school employees and their online use, were the areas that weren’t so cut and dry.

For example, many school districts and even a 2007 report commissioned by our own NSBA, found social networking did have educational value and should be incorporated in classroom instruction. “Let’s face it, these are the tools students use to communicate with each other and if we want to engage them we’ve got to live in their world,” Ann Flynn, NSBA’s director of education technology programs told me.

Even trickier than establishing, even encouraging teachers to build connections with students and families through electronic means, however, was what to do about school employees and their online activity when it’s off-campus and off-hours. Commiserating about workplace conditions or job dissatisfication amongst co-workers is as old as time. But the Internet has moved these traditionally clandestine conversations, sometimes unknowingly, into the wide open public, causing embarrasment, job loss and lawsuits.

You’ll have to read my article for some of the doozies, but one truly bizarre example which I didn’t include in the print version involved a Catholic school teacher from Iowa, who was fired after answering in a Facebook survey that she didn’t believe in God. True, it’s a parochial school and while the rules that govern such systems are very much different, the episode shows that in cyberspace there is very little distinction between private and public.

Naomi Dillon, Senior Editor

Naomi Dillon|December 1st, 2010|Categories: Governance, Teachers, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Social networking a crucial communication tool for schools

Fullscreen_capture_4162010_112507_AMSocial media is huge. All of us are constantly plugged into more and more social networks every day. On an average day, we will tweet about our blogs, Digg a couple news articles and post YouTube videos to our Facebook pages. Facebook is the No. 2 website in America, according to research house, and its fastest-growing demographic is people over age 35. So why aren’t schools using more social media?

The easy answer is: because interactions between schools and social stockvault_9853_20080130[1]networking sites have not gone so smoothly in the past. Two court cases in different Pennsylvania school districts where students posted defamatory comments about their principals on social networking sites show how sticky the situation can become. What’s more, the decisions in the two cases (J.S. v Blue Mountain School District and Layshock v Hermitage School District) were at odds with one another, proving that we have a ways to go before we can come up with hard and fast rules about how to use and regulate social media in schools.

But let us imagine that instead of being used by a couple students with smartphones and grudges against the administration, these sites were being used in a professional manner by educators.

On his blog, Instructional Technology Specialist for Fairfax County Schools Tim Stahmer said that the district’s PR department is circulating a document that details how they would utilize new social media.

Naomi Dillon|April 16th, 2010|Categories: Educational Technology, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |

A different kind of buzz

A recent piece on caught our attention because it strikes a nerve with students, teachers, parents, and administrators. In recent months, BoardBuzz has spent a lot of time and attention on social networking sites and the value they provide to education in the 21st century. Therefore, you can understand how a story titled “Have Boozy Photos on Facebook?” would cause some consternation.

A group of 42 students in a Minnesota high school were questioned and 13 had a disciplinary action taken against them when they left school to protest the questioning by administrators. Photos of students with alcohol were posted on Facebook and since students are required to sign a pledge to be involved in extracurricular activities, and they broke this pledge, they were punished.

What seems like a routine disciplinary action has touched different people in different ways. Parents and students say that this is just average high school behavior. Some students claim everyone drinks in high school, so the school should stay out of their business. It’s no secret that Hollywood glorifies high school drinking in movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused, and Clueless, but does that make it okay? Is it the job of the administration to look at Facebook regularly and be the Internet police for the students in their school? It’s still unclear how the administration found out about the photos in the first place. Or is it a matter of free speech since the photos were taken off school property and parents should be aware of what their children are posting on Facebook and they should handle discipling their children for underage drinking? Perhaps the parents should follow the example of the “meanest mom in the world.”

Need help getting through the muddled mess of social networking? Check out our discussion on the educational benefits of social networking. Believe it or not (after reading a story like this), there are some!

Erin Walsh|January 11th, 2008|Categories: Governance, Educational Technology, Wellness, Student Achievement, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , |
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