Social Media and Education

Social Media in Warsaw Schools Today

Posted on: March 20, 2010

As I explore various opinions and perspectives on social media and education, it is important to create a benchmark of where my own school district stands on the issues. It is also important to say that many of those in our leadership are forwarding-lookiing, possibility thinkers. It is also important to say that the safety of our students is of the utmost importance.

Currently, cell phones are absolutely forbidden in the High School. Multiple violations of the policy can and does result in expulsion. We subscribe to Fortigard, a web filtering company, for the purpose of blocking inappropriate web sites. Social media sites are among those that are blocked. Some of those sites include Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Skype, de.lic.ious, Digg, and more.

There is a review policy in place, but feedback is not immediate or always approved. I have been successful in getting Skype and Twitter unblocked for my “Teacher” computer but little else. I have another WordPress blog on digital literacy that is now unblocked to read, but I cannot access the editing page. This blog is not yet approved for viewing or editing at school.

But progress is being made! And for that, many of us are appreciative. Our Superintendent, Dr. Craig Hintz is now on Twitter. He and I are now following each other’s posts. Warsaw now has a podcast server with a wiki and blogging feature. Students are now able to make blog posts and comment on each other’s activities. Currently the blogs and such are only available on the school network, but within a few days, that access will be extended to the rest of the world. Teachers will be able to post information to parents and healthy learning interactions we be able to occur outside of the classroom. This is a huge step forward.

New initiatives have begun using iPod Touches in the classroom. This is opening the door for the phone policies to be revised as administrators are learning that these devices can also serve as responders and have other educational values in the classroom. Discussions about the educational opportunities of Twitter and Facebook are also afoot. I look forward to the discussions that uses of social media will bring to our schools.

Rick Glass

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