In a previous post, I outlined how we could harness social media for learning in order to:
- account for professional development
in order to promote our schools.
I recently saw my district’s "GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYEE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS" and was quite disheartened because it did virtually nothing to encourage social media for learning! I am concerned about the UNintended consequences of the “tone” of these guidelines which are so defensive! I am aware of the sensitive position in which school districts find themselves these days, but there must be a way to achieve a more “balanced’ tone which would ENCOURAGE the use of social networks to promote innovation and to generate positive stories! For example, innovative teachers share best practices by building Personal Learning Networks based on social media services such as Twitter. Without an active social media ecosystem, social media efforts such as school Facebook Pages will likely be doomed to failure as an empty public relations gesture withOUT robust content to encourage engagement with parents, legislators, and other constituents. Any doubts about the need to ENCOURAGE teachers to use social media for learning are quickly dispelled by posts such as this one.
The power of social media leverages USER-generated content! WithOUT the active participation of teachers, I fear schools will have relatively little meaningful content to convey the sense of excitement about learning which ought to be the outcome of their social media efforts! Instead, I urge that we recognize teachers as:
In my previous post, I already made the point of how we ought to use social media to encourage constituents to advocate for our schools. Of course, teachers are among those constituents and are in the best position to advocate on behalf of our schools because they know what is going on!
Teachers have gotten a bad rap so our best teachers are disheartened because they feel their hands are tied because they are discouraged to innovate. They aren’t seen as assets whose creative efforts could be harnessed to motivate the creation of CONTENT to fuel our efforts to advocate. Rather than merely evaluating teachers based on students’ test scores, let’s create a culture where teachers are more like artisans or craftsmen! We needn’t fear their social media activities because the ones who would participate are thoughtful and caring people!
I’m going to share this post with MY school board…how about YOU?
In addition to the comments below, here’s more conversation about this post at Google+.