Social Media Usage Plan – EdTech 543

The middle school Social Media Use plan that I created for EdTech 543 is a good example for meeting the policies and regulations substandards.  The purpose of the plan that I wrote for parents, students, and staff of fictional North Middle School was to advise them about the current social media use policies that the school had in place, and goals to broaden the scope of device use by students in the future.  A committee will be formed to look into how the school can safely and effectively increase how students use portable computers for educational purposes without increasing distractions they may cause.  The letter outlines a plan of who will be on the committee, tasks that the group will need to perform, policies that may need to be developed, and consequences for misuse of personal devices while at school.  For the institution of NMS to have success with increased use of personal devices and social media, a plan needs to be in place that will “govern the diffusion and use of instructional technology.”  By providing a structure for creating a committee to look at current and future issues, I feel the document helps NMS be proactive in its planning, and demonstrates my mastery of the substandard.

 

Social Media Usage Plan

To Parents, Students, and Staff; Concerning Social Media Use at North Middle School:

At the present time, students at the middle school are permitted to use the school’s wireless network to access online books to be read during their daily Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) time.  They must check in their wireless device at the front office and get a sticker showing their SSR teacher that their device is allowed.  It is prohibited for students to access the the internet for the purpose of using social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.) or email.  Some parents and teachers have expressed interest in allowing students access to these tools in the future.  Before this can take place the school will be creating a committee that will seek input from stakeholders to assess the implications of such a move.  The committee will survey teachers, parents, and students to see how they feel about this issue and about how our school should proceed.  A teacher from each grade level team, both of the school’s computer applications teachers, an administrator, and the school’s IT department representative will make up the committee.

Surveys for Stakeholders

A main task for the committee will be to see how teachers, parents, and students feel North should address the use of social media use at school.  Questions should address the needs and differences of each set of stakeholders.  Members of the committee will use Google Drive to create surveys that can be completed online, with results shared among committee members, North administration, and IT staff.

What social media sites could be helpful to students at North?

A primary task for committee members will be to determine what types of sites, for purposes of North M.S., will be considered social media under our new policies.  Twitter, facebook, blogs, wikis, photo sharing sites, etc., could all have value for students.  The committee will need to determine which have the best applications for academic uses.  In the survey process, stakeholders will be given a chance to suggest sites that they feel would have the most value.  IT staff will also be consulted to see which sites are most viable given infrastructure concerns.

How May Social Media Be Used

Policies will need to be developed that address social media use by both school staff and students.  The committee must try to plan for potential ways that sites can be used and misused by staff and students.  Questions to be addressed may include:

For what purpose can social media sites be accessed?

At what times during the day may social media sites be used?

Will personal accounts be approved for use during the school day?

Can teachers have some of their own guidelines regarding use in their classrooms?

While it would be impossible for the committee to foresee all things that could go wrong, it should make every effort to research what other districts/schools have done, which policies have been a success, and what problems have been encountered.

Consequences for Misuse

Since new policies will be adopted if social media sites are allowed at North, the committee will need to create steps to deal with misuse by students and staff.  Student guidelines will be posted in the handbook given to each student with their daily agenda, and accessible via a link on the school’s website.  As with other student behavior issues, graduated consequences are recommended.  The guidelines should not simply be punitive after the fact, but should try to be clear in helping students shape social media behaviors.

Teacher use of social media can also be a concern.  Again, it is suggested that the committee research ways that social media has caused problems for educators elsewhere.  Guidelines should recommend teachers follow a model of TAP (transparency, accessibility, professionalism) when using social media.

The administrators and staff at North Middle School appreciate the opportunities and challenges that new technologies present for the people we serve.  We would like to thank you in advance for your input, patience, and understanding as we work to come up with answers to challenging questions.  Feel free to contact us via the dedicated link provided on the homepage of North’s website with your concerns on this issue.  Once created, the committee’s first meeting will be held during during the third week of September.  Minutes of the meeting will be posted to the school’s website as well.

References:

Anderson, S. (2012, May 7). How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School. Retrieved from

http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school on July 20, 2013.

Brito, M. (2009, April 7). 5 Steps to build a Social Media team. Retrieved from

http://socialmediatoday.com/index.php?q=SMC/83910 on July 20, 2013.

O’Donovan, E. (2012, July/August). Social Media: Guidelines for School Administrators. Retrieved from

http://www.districtadministration.com/article/social-media-guidelines-school-administrators on July,

20, 2013.

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