Tag Archives: social media

EDTECH 543- My Life as a Reformed Lurker: A Final Reflection

Lurker

As I round the bend and head into the home stretch of my Masters at Boise State, I can’t help but look back and realize that it was social network learning that sparked my interest in Ed Tech in the first place.  I was excited by the prospect of reaching out to people around the world and learning from their experiences.  I was also amazed as some of my early contacts in the world of PLN’s would tweet out a message and receive a flurry of tweets back saying “Hello from Des Moines”, “Hey there from Sydney” and “How’s it going from Saturn.”  Pretty impressive stuff.  I was frustrated, however, when my early attempts at such a feat were met with silence.  Even now, I would get just a blip of response as compared to those bigwigs with their thousands of Twitter followers.

What’s the secret?  I’ve learned about PLN’s and the need to connect with like-minded people.  I recognize the importance of learning from others, no matter where they are.  Reaching out and seeking knowledge in its many forms can enrich my profession and my personal interests.

So what’s the secret to gaining that form of response?  Sharing.  That’s what I have taken away from this class.  In other classes, I have produced many artifacts.  I have made screencasts and animations, video lessons and lesson plans, webquests and presentations.  I enjoyed making most of these and gained something from each of them.  The difference I now see between those types of assignments and the work in Social Network Learning is that one is about “me” and the other is about “us.”  This class was about connection and building ideas in a coordinated, personalized and interactive way.  It forced me to come out from the shadows (a bit anyway) and to share my ideas and works with the world.  That’s a great thing.

Prior to this class, I saw social media as a way to get lessons others had created and to harvest resources in general.  Over time, however, the calls for “does anyone have a resource on…” go unanswered.  The world of the PLN and of social learning is a two-way street.  Those in it want the connections.  They want to learn from others.  They want to be inspired.  The shocking thing for me was that they want that from me,  Jon Freer.

If I truly want to grow a PLN and to learn how to help others to do so too, I have to share.  Share my work through Twitter.  Share my opinion through my blog or in the form of comments on others.  Offer my help where needed.

There were two big events that really brought this home for me.  One was watching the second presidential debate with my Twitter feed open.  I learned so much more about the issues discussed and answers given than I did when it was just me on my own.  Heck, I was seeing “Binders full of Women” memes before the debate was over.  The second event followed the live webinar assignment.  I took part in a Webinar on Inquiry Learning presented by David Truss.  I really enjoyed the experience and tried to express that in my reflection.  I also let seep through a bit of frustration I feel because I seem to understand the theory, but have trouble making it real.  The post wasn’t even a day old when David commented on it asking about what I felt was missing.  Wow.  This showed me that I need to express myself, but do so very thoughtfully and that people want to connect.

As I wrap this up, I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t always have time to really put into my work for this class.  My life is complicated by three kids 5 and under, a high energy dog, grad school, work, a wife that works and is in grad school, power-killing Superstorms and all the stuff that comes along with being alive.  I was so impressed with my classmates, especially Gretel and Fabio, and am excited to have them in my ever-expanding PLN.

Most of all, I am excited to reverse my web 2.0 experience.  I hope, in the near future, to be a regular blogger and to share ideas I have with the world.  My guess is that it is this element that those folks that inspired me early on all had in common.

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Ed Tech 543- Development of a Social Media Policy

While many teachers still choose to keep their head in the sand, the fact is that Social Media is in our schools.  Moreover, that’s where it should be.  There is no doubt that dealing with social media in a school setting is tricky business.  Fears about students safety, cyber-bullying, reputation management, distraction in school and the like are real issues that should be addressed by school communities.  More and more, this is being handled by the development of a Social Media Policy for the school or school district.  This is an important part of creating a culture where students learn to use social media,, something they are already doing in the personal lives, in the space they spend so much of their time.  By taking the approach of creating a policy that cultivates an understanding of the proper use of social media, schools not only protect themselves and their students, they also help students learn to better use such technology.

The following was developed as a guideline for developing such a social media policy in a school.  The original document can be found here.

Plan for Development of a Social Media Policy for Holmquist School

With the ever increasing presence of Social Media in the world of our students, it is important that the school take time to reflect upon what it deems to be “appropriate use” of social media in the school setting.  While it is important to ensure the safety of our students, it is equally important to help students develop skills for using social media and a sense of how to manage their online world.  To that end, this plan was developed as a guideline for developing a Social media policy that effectively meets the needs of our school.

Take a Social Media Inventory

Before developing a policy, it is important to first have an understanding of a great many factors.  The following topic/areas should be included in a questionnaire that may be shared with teachers, administrators, students and parents.  Gaining an understanding of the current use and impact of social media on the school is essential to craft an appropriate policy.

  • Definition of “Social Media”
  • Current Use
    • Teachers/Classes
    • Administration/School Communication
    • Student Use (Academic and Non-Academic)
    • Examples of Good Use
    • Concerns related to Social Media Use

Form a Social Media Policy Committee

A committee of representatives from each of the main areas of the school (teachers, administrators, students and parents) should be assembled with the purpose of working through the answers to the questionnaire and crafting the policy.  It is important to include those who are technology literate and those who are a bit more dubious of technology.  Having the spectrum of attitudes represented on the committee will help to build a policy that makes sense to all members ofthe community.

Research Existing Policies

While the goal of this process is to develop a policy that is crafted specifically for our school, the committee should certainly utilize existing policies to develop an understanding of what areas should be covered in such a policy and how schools similar to ours approach social media in their school.  Individuals with their own learning networks via Social Media may also reach out to find guidelines and ideas.  The following are areas that may be included:

  • Type of Usage
  • Web Access
  • Collaboration, Web 2.0 and Academic Policies
  • Personal Device Useage
  • Security
  • Downloads
  • Online Behavior and Etiquette
  • Personal Safety and Cyberbullying

Write a Draft of the Social Media Policy

With an understanding of the school’s current use of social media and policies of similar schools, the committee should turn their attention to crafting their own policy.  Once completed, this draft should be presented to some constituent groups within the school community (students, teachers, parents), school administrators, the school board and, if deemed necessary by the administration, the school’s attorney.  It is important to emphasize that this is a draft of the policy to reduce confusion and to open the way for feedback from those reviewing it.  Edits may be made based on the feedback received.

A policy may include the following sections (as needed):

 

  • Introduction
  • Rationale for Policy Development
  • Policy Guidelines (broken into sections)
  • Help/Questions Contact Information
  • Signature of Student and/or Parent

Introduction of the Social Media Policy to the School Community

Once reviewed and edited, the policy should be presented to the school community.  The members of the committee should play a central role in explaining the policy and answering any questions that may arise.  This could/should include:

  • Introduction to faculty
  • Introduction to student body
  • Introduction to parents
  • Posting of policy in accessible space

Review the Policy

As social media changes, policies may become somewhat outdated.  Regularly scheduled reviews of the policy should be scheduled to be sure it is up to date and still meets all the needs of the school community.

Resources Used:

Anderson, S. (2012). How to create social media guidelines for your school. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school

Dunn, J. (2012). It’s time to crowdsource your school’s social media policy. Edudemic. Retrieved from http://edudemic.com/2012/05/social-media-policy-crowdsource/

Johnson, S. (2010). How we used twitter to create our school’s social media guidelines. Ed Social Media. Retreived from: http://www.edsocialmedia.com/2010/08/how-we-used-twitter-to-create-our-schools-social-media-guidelines/

Schultz, J. (2012). Should we fear children accessing facebook? DMLcentral. Retrieved from: http://dmlcentral.net/blog/jason-schultz/should-we-fear-children-accessing-facebook

Smith, L.  (2012). Creating social media policies for school educators- a wise step for a better future. Solutions for Schools. Retrieved from http://solutions-for-schools.com/creating-social-media-policies-for-school-educators-a-wise-step-for-a-better-future/