Some classrooms have already made the move to include social media as part of their learning but others are more reluctant. There is, certainly, a fear factor that students photos and names will be published for all to see but there are also ways to allay these fears.
MediaSmarts in Canada and Common Sense Media in the United States are great sites to begin to look at digital citizenship, showing students how to create a responsible digital footprint. Both sites contain teacher and student resources to work through on-line scenarios appropriate to elementary, middle, and secondary students.
Take the idea to administrators in your school first for input on FOIP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) in Alberta and other policies they have already put in place. Start simply with a Twitter account in an elementary classroom where the rules are no student faces and single first names, no tagging of photos. Or use other platforms made for school environments that cater to closed social media domains. Look at Edmodo, Remind or SeeSaw to see if these apps and websites suit your needs.
Social media has a place in most classrooms to educate students about their digital profile, to connect globally with other classrooms and to meet parents where they spend at least some of their time. The best social media in classrooms creates conversation in homes connecting students and parents with classrooms.
One of the most inclusive uses of social media in the classroom comes from Kristen Wideen in Windsor, Ontario. She appears fearless in her use of educational technologies and, therefore, students seem to make good choices and showcase their learning using various media.
Start small in consultation with others on staff. Curate all the postings that come from your students and have the tough discussions about creating a student’s digital footprint.