The next time you are sitting with a group of educators, bring up the notion of social media in the classroom. Opinions on social media in education run the gamut from “life ruining platform” to “most transformative educational practice in the 21st century”.
Police officers have told me that there jobs would be so much easier if social media didn’t exist. Teachers have been fired over personal posts that were deemed inappropriate. Students have bullied other students to the point where they have taken their own lives. News outlets have pointed to social media as one of the places where cyber predators meet and entice children.
On the other hand, parents have praised our social media platform for having the opportunity to see their children in action. Grandparents have praised Facebook for allowing them to see their grandchildren in ways they never could before. Educators, including me, have had the opportunity to connect with classrooms all across the world. Twitter has allowed educators, authors, and professional speakers to gather and discuss best practices in education.
The positives and negative opinions regarding social media could continue. I believe that social media is a powerful tool. As with any powerful tool (power saw, sledgehammer, bulldozer), the user can inflict powerful damage or bring about incredible change. I believe social media can be used to transform our classroom, make connections across the world, and publicize the amazing things teachers are doing every day.
Kevin Honeycutt once said in his presentation at e3 Tech, “Not having a digital footprint is one of the worst things that educators can do.” Teaching students about their digital footprint and empowering them to use it effectively is the way educators should approach social media.
Let’s promote ethical and empowered users of social media. Until next time, continue being stewards of ALL learners.