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Articles: Social Media

Donald Leu (center) leads the team of the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut.

Today’s students may be skilled at texting and social media, but many are unable to perform online research and distinguish accurate information on the web, according to a new study.

Twitter has become the new education conference—and it’s in session all day, every day of the year, some educators now say.

Principals, teachers, tech experts and other educators have created dozens of robust, professional learning networks—also called Twitter chats—to connect with each other and share solutions to common challenges.

Mike Ribble is technology director of Manhattan-Ogden School District in Kansas. He is also an international author and speaker on digital citizenship.

Technology has provided administrators with some great opportunities for communication and data analysis, but for our students it means so much more.

To help our students, we need to show that with all these opportunities come responsibilities. All administrators have read, or lived through, instances of cyberbullying, sexting and even suicide that have come from the misuse of technology.

When a story goes viral, district leaders should Speak to the community as soon as possible.

At one point or another, school districts find themselves in the glare of a harsh media spotlight. Sometimes a well-intentioned decision backfires. In other cases, an employee’s inappropriate or illegal behavior sparks outrage. Within days, or even hours, the news goes viral and the whole world seems to know.

High schools in Connecticut and Texas have blocked a new social media app from school Wi-Fi servers after several reports of cyberbullying.

Kathy Cook is the director of educational technology and a faculty member for the College of Education at University of Phoenix.

A recent survey from the College of Education at University of Phoenix reveals that K12 teachers struggle to integrate social media into their classroom lessons, and also to connect with students and parents outside their classrooms.

Daisy Dyer Duerr, principal of St. Paul High School in Arkansas, created the educational twitter chat, #ArkEdChat.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) named three winners of its annual Digital Principals Award: Daisy Dyer Duerr, principal of St. Paul High School in Arkansas; Jason Markey, principal of East Leyden High School in Illinois; and Derek McCoy, principal of Spring Lake Middle School in North Carolina.

New Jersey middle schoolers next year may be assigned to tweet and post Facebook updates as part of new classes on social media and internet use.

In January, the state became the first in the nation to pass a law requiring students in grades six through eight to take a class that will teach the appropriate use of various social media sites. The curriculum also will cover cyberbullying, cyber safety and ethics.

Teachers are increasingly incorporating videos from YouTube’s education channel into classroom lessons.

Districts are dropping bans on YouTube and allowing students and teachers access to the site’s educational videos. Paving the way in this shift in policy are large districts like Chicago and Broward County, Fla.

Glendale USD in southern California has taken an unprecedented step in bullying and crime prevention by paying a company to analyze students’ public posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media.

Administrators in the Los Angeles USD may tap the skills of students who hacked school-purchased iPads to strengthen security on the mobile devices. A week after the iPads were distributed in September, about 340 students hacked the security system to browse websites like Facebook and Twitter.

School districts with social media policies unanimously prohibit the online sharing of student information and data, such as test scores, as well as information on other district personnel.

It probably won’t be long before you hear about the next disturbing incident of a teacher or other school employee contacting a student inappropriately on social media. It might involve inappropriate postings on a personal Facebook page, ill-advised texting with students, or a highly public verbal attack on colleagues or supervisors.

Here are some suggestions from districts that have created policies:

Located on the North Carolina border in eastern Tennessee, the rural Blount County school system has 20,000 students and four major high schools. The district is very socioeconomically diverse, and includes students living at the poverty level, some from wealthy households and many others in between. Tensions between these student populations can create a host of serious problems—including bullying, prescription drug abuse, and weapons possession.

Socializing with classmates online gets homework done faster.

I recently asked a group of middle school students to name their favorite use of technology for learning. An eager eighth-grade girl said, “My work has gotten so much better since we started using Facebook to do homework at night in my math class. We’re all online together, so if I have questions, I get them answered while doing my homework, instead of the next day or even later. Sometimes my friends even explain the math better than the teacher, and we send each other links to stuff online.” Wanting to learn more, I asked her which teacher had set up the group.

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