To connect or not to connect? Teachers, is that the question?
By Morgan on April 13th, 2011
I came across two fascinating articles this week, both about teachers, social media, and the classroom. This one from Social Times talks about a new report out of Canada that outlines new guidelines for teachers on how they can — and can’t — interact with students online, while this one (interestingly, also by Social Times) announces that more than 80% of college faculty teach using social media.
Let’s talk about Canada first. The biggest takeaway from their new guidelines is that teachers should not friend their students on Facebook, either proactively or by accepting a request from a student. Social Times sees both the good and the bad in this: “social media is a record,” they write, and there are inherent risks in that; but on the other hand, “there are situations where a student might be more likely to interact with or reach out to a teacher – who could also be a mentor – online.”
Meanwhile, on college campuses, the numbers are pretty staggering. “In the classroom, 80% of respondents report using social media for some aspect of their course…Nearly two-thirds use social media within their class session, and 30% post content for students to view outside of class.” Perhaps even more interesting? “More than 40% of faculty say they require students to read or view social media as part of a course assignment, and 20% assign students to comment or post to social media sites.”
It’s easy to understand the differing viewpoints here — college students are, for the most part, legal adults. I’m interested in hearing from all you teachers out there, though: does your school have an official social media policy? Would if help you if it did?