So why not let the dedicated community of educators currently on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Edudemic create a crowdsourced social media policy that any school can adopt? It should be comprehensive but malleable to allow for different school districts to offer different levels of guidance. In other words, let’s build a framework social media policy for schools that don’t have one right now.
There are absolute geniuses on #edchat, the Tech in Education LinkedIn Group, and on Google+ right now. If just a few of those brilliant minds spent just a few minutes on crafting and refining a solid social media policy, we could have a terrific resource for all. Now, in the spirit of someone trying to urge a begrudging group of people right before the climactic battle scene in a movie… who’s with me?!
What’s A Social Media Policy?
It’s more than just a document telling you what not to do online. It’s actually a helpful tool that shares best practices, offers advice on how to use certain web 2.0 tools, and more. It’s basically a one-stop-shop for teachers young and old. If you’re a teacher that uses social media (that’s pretty much every reader of Edudemic!), then you should know about social media policies. What better way than to help build one right here?
Our goal is to create a compelling social media policy that teachers, students, and school administrators can feel comfortable using. It should be a policy that anyone can show to a principal and say ‘let’s use this as our social media policy.’After that, students, staff, and teachers alike will know exactly what’s expected in terms of their usage of social media. They’ll know what to say and what not to say on Twitter, what ‘over-sharing’ means, the best ways to use each tool, and more.
Why A Crowdsourced Policy?
Because the time it takes to properly research and develop a social media policy for each individual school is outrageous. Each school’s principal / administration has to spend weeks doing research, running meetings, surveying who in their school is already using social media, etc.
If there was a framework policy already created by us here, it’d be a terrific starting point for any school. After all, most schools don’t even have a social media policy yet many students and teachers are using social media. While most use it properly, it’s important that each school has a set of guidelines that its constituents can at least loosely follow.
Example #1: Teacher A is relatively new to Twitter and isn’t sure if it’s appropriate to post pictures of her students. Teacher B says it’s probably fine. Teacher C says no way. The principal isn’t sure. Where do you turn?
Example #2: Student A said something negative about another student or is cyber-bullying Student B. The administration finds out and isn’t sure what to do. Expell the student? Detention? Slap on the wrist? If this type of response was already written down in an official social media policy, this would be a relatively simple answer. Without one, it’s quite tough.
You can’t just make up rules as you come across them. It’s time to plan ahead.
How To Edit The Live Document
We’re doing this using web 2.0 tools of course. So in an effort to have a robust and free platform that anyone can use, I’ve chosen Google Docs. Ready to get started? Just click the big link below to view / edit the document.
Since this is a live document, it’ll never be finished. However, you are free to use and adapt the policy as you need. It holds a Creative Commons BY license which means you can distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the document, even commercially, as long as you credit the source for the original creation.