Part of a Blog Series from the Emerging Technologies Committee Leveraging Technology for Improving School Wellness and Safety
Students’ use of social media has increased significantly, reaching nearly half of their day spent on these platforms. While many teachers use social media in the classroom, there are still concerns regarding its appropriate use inside and outside the classroom. To ensure proper usage, digital citizenship training can be implemented, such as partnering with Common Sense Education or developing in-house training programs. CoSN also has great resources, including Social Media & ED and Creating Effective Responsible Use Policies for Schools.
In recent years, schools have received an unprecedented amount of negative and positive comments on social media. One strategy that schools can use to focus attention on the positive is to think about their branding. Positive school branding promotes the achievements and work of teachers, students, and administrators. Schools can run campaigns, post updates, create video series to showcase their successes, and post them on various social media sites. Two examples of positive school branding that came up through interviews with school leaders are:
- Gwinnett County Public Schools’ community relations department runs campaigns to highlight best practices. Their current campaign SHINE involves schools and district offices nominating students and staff members to highlight their work. Each week they have a different featured person.
- An Orange County Public Schools superintendent created a YouTube series, “Mondays with Maria,” highlighting different resources and district happenings.
Positive school branding helps manage negative interactions and creates community within schools and school districts. To manage negative interactions, schools can dispel misinformation through social media and work with social media companies to remove inappropriate content. In a groundbreaking collaboration, follow NSPRA, CoSN, and other educational partners as they make headway on The Critical Need for Verification and Dedicated Reporting Processes for Schools. https://www.nspra.org/Schools-and-Social-Media
- Another solution for managing negative interactions is to use a unified internal communications system with social media-like qualities, like Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation’s system. Their system eliminates negative interactions by protecting the network from non-school members and simplifies communication for parents. One benefit of a system like this is that parents only need one login to access information from everyone in the school.
- All users (teachers, parents, administrators) are opted in automatically.
- Communications can be translated into over 100 languages
- It builds a true sense of community since parents, teachers, and administrators can see what is happening at all levels of the school on one platform.
In conclusion, social media in K-12 education presents both challenges and opportunities. By implementing digital citizenship training, utilizing social media for positive branding and messaging, and using a unified system for internal communications, schools can overcome these challenges and fully reap the benefits of social media in the classroom and in their districts.
Published on: February 8, 2023
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