To Friend or Not To Friend: A Guide for Teachers Using Social and Educational Networking Sites

Should you friend your students on your Facebook page? Will keeping a blog cost you your job? What expectations should you have of your students who discuss issues on your class Ning? Learn some practical guidelines for using both social and educational networking tools that will both improve your teaching and prevent possible problems with your administration.

Padlet (Wallwisher) page for this presentation

GoSoapBox for this workshop

Guidelines for Teachers Using Social and Educational Networks. Jen Hegna and Doug Johnso
Connections for Learning: a White Paper, Doug Johnson, Saywire, 2009
Blogging and a little common sense, Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog, January 2007.
471 - Employee Use of Social Media, School Board Policy Mankato Area Public Schools, 2011

Other resources


For each of the situations below,
  1. Discuss the possible ethical issues of the situation.
  2. Determine if the safety or well-being of anyone is at stake.
  3. What advice, strategy or policy would you recommend to individuals or schools based on this scenario.
  4. Share any real-life incidents related to the scenario.

Social Networking Scenario 1: Mr. Blake and Jennifer
High school social studies teacher Mr. Blake has been adding students as friends to his Facebook page, using the forum to answer questions and guiding classroom related discussions. Lately some students have begun asking personal questions about relationships and life choices. Jennifer's mother, who monitors Jennifer's Facebook page, feels uncomfortable about this and brings it to the attention of the principal.

Social Networking Scenario 2: Ms Olson's Camping Trip
Sixth grade teacher Ms Olson posted pictures of the camping trip she and her husband took to the Boundry Waters last summer on her Facebook page. In one of the photos, she is smoking what looks suspiciously like a marijuana cigarette. One of her students finds the photos and shows her friends.

Social Networking Scenario 3: Juan and Philip trade insults
The HHH Middle School is using GoogleDocs as a writing tool and as a means to do peer reviewing. Juan and Philip have used the platform to exchange messages that involve name calling and racial slurs. Philp's parents object when his account is suspended for two weeks, beleiving it will hurt is academic progress.

Social Networking Scenario 4: The social networking ban
After hearing a presentation at a conference, high school principal Miller has banned all "Web 2.0" tools including Facebook, Skype, YouTube, wikis, blogs and Flickr. A number of teachers and many students are upset with this decision but Mr. Miller cites CIPA as a legal reason for blocking the sites.

Social Networking Scenario 5: The blog about blobs
PE teacher Teng has created a widely read blog about teaching elementary physical education and health. In one post, he describes (but does not name) several students and teachers he sees as having poor eating habits that contribute to then having an unhealthy BMI score. One teacher thinks he is writing about her and brings the post to the attention of the principal.

**What are The Top Ten Social Learning and Educational Networking Competencies for K-12 Teachers?**
  1. Help students use educational networking tools to solve information problems and communicate digitally with experts, peers and instructors.
  2. Know the major Web 2.0 categories and tools that are useful in the K-12 setting. Know which tools are provided/supported by one's school.
  3. Use educational networking sites to communicate with teaching peers, students and parents.
  4. Navigate, evaluate and create professional content on networking sites.
  5. Use online networking to create, maintain and learn from a personal learning network - AND their students.
  6. Know the district networking guidelines, follow netiquette, conform to ethical standards and interact appropriately with others, especially students, online.
  7. Understand copyright, security and privacy issues on social media sites and share these understandings with students and professional colleagues.
  8. Understand the importance of identity and reputation management using social media and help students understand the long-term impact of personal information shared online.
  9. Create and follow a personal learning plan to stay informed about developing trends, tools and applications of social media.
  10. Participate in the formulation of school and district policies and guidelines related to educational networking and social learning.