With social media use on the rise in the general population one would expect it to have the same trend in education. However, this is not always the case, as the information below demonstrates.
Fact #1: Teenagers use the Internet on a regular basis.
According to Pew Research, in 2015:
- 92% of teens go on-line daily
- 71% of teens use Facebook account
- 52% of teens use Instagram
- 41% of teens use SnapChat (although this figure has increased since then)
- 33% use Twitter
Fact #2: Use of social media in the classroom has decreased!
- In 2013, 18% used SM in the classroom
(82% of teachers did not use social media in the classroom)
- In 2013, hesitancy to use social media in the classroom was 55%
- In 2015 only 13% of teachers use social media in the classroom
(87% of teachers do not use social media in the classroom)
- In 2015, hesitancy to use social media in the classroom was 62%
Why are teachers hesitant to bring social media into the classroom? What are the risks?
Although according to the same survey mentioned above, 46% of teachers believe social media “can enhance a student’s educational experience,” the hesitancy to actually use it stems from concern in regards to conflict that could arise with the students or parents.
As I mentioned in my last post regarding the use of Facebook, there are many benefits for both schools, as a whole, and educators to utilize social media.However, there are some hazards that should be addressed, so as to avoid them as much as possible.
Hazard #1: Boundaries!
Teachers must be aware of boundaries between professional and personal lives. All communication should remain professional; personal lives should remain personal. Teachers should have separate social media accounts for school and personal use, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, when communicating with students and families. Simply search the phrase “teachers getting in trouble on social media” and you will find a plethora of examples where a teacher has lost their job due to inappropriate social media posts. Here is just one example of what you will discover.
Hazard #2: Confidentiality!
The same confidentiality that is in place for teachers to abide by in the classroom and community is still in place on social media. Teachers must be aware of the right to privacy laws, as well as other district rules and regulations. Pictures of students cannot be posted without parents’ consent. Grades and other student information cannot be shared. Teachers should refer to their school employment handbook to make sure they follow the rules and laws.
Hazard #3: Distraction or Improper Use of SM in the Classroom!
Students may be distracted by social media during the lesson or post inappropriate images and content, especially if it’s difficult for the teacher to see what site they are on if they are using SMART phones. Who is responsible if this happens? What are the consequences? How does this impact student learning? These are valid concerns that should be addressed in a district social media policy.
Hazard #4: Cyber Bullying and Inappropriate Posts!
Cyber bullying via social media seems to be in the news on a regular basis. Here is just one result that appeared when I searched for “cyberbullying examples in schools.” Teachers are concerned that if social media use is allowed in the classroom these occurrences may increase. Monitoring every post by students is a challenge, if not impossible. How do schools currently handle cyber bullying? How should the current school policies be adjusted to help deter and stope these occurrences from happening?
With the majority of students already on social media and so many benefits that can be reaped when social media is used appropriately for collaboration, research, and social interaction, and preparing students for life outside of high school (this is for another post) it will be interesting to see where schools go with social media.
Please share any concerns you have with social media being used in the classroom…I would love to hear your thoughts!