The RSS feed on the right-hand side of our homepage has been aggregating lots of news stories and opinion pieces on the Vancouver Board of Education’s effort to create a policy codifying the appropriate use of social media by its teachers, staff, and students. The Board has found this initiative to be a challenge.
As Geoff Johnson writes: “The attempt by the Board to stuff the social media genie back in the lamp is well-intentioned and the policy, if successfully implemented in some form, may at least provide a platform on which disciplinary action can be considered if employees are unwise enough to misbehave on the Internet. The problem will be deciding what actually constitutes misbehaviour. There will be clear instances, fortunately very rarely, when adult-child relationships fostered on social media are clearly inappropriate. At least it will be possible to cite the policy and its consequences to the adults. The kids are less likely to pay attention to what school trustees think is appropriate and what is not.”
I believe the overall goal of social media governance policies in the classroom environment should be two-fold: (1) Teachers need to be able to use current digital platforms to deliver successful educational experiences for students, and (2) faculty, staff, and students have to be fully aware of – and protected from – the risks associated with web technology and social media use. To be aware of these evolving risks, all of these stakeholders need ongoing education that their communities should provide and pay for. That seems about right to me.