At the end of last school year, we made a very serious push into making better use of social media school-wide, with an online class in social media USING social media as a highlight. The class didn't take off as planned, but has given plenty to think about as we move forward, as a class, department, and a school. At the very least, non-covert use of tools like Twitter and Facebook in the classroom was a refreshing change.
Fast forward a bit to two weeks ago, when we had an incident (not our first) of bullying on Facebook and our deans asked (ok, a little stronger than asked) that we block Facebook, especially since we were already telling parents involved that we dealt with the issue, in part, by blocking the site at school. Of course, we're not and can't block it on phones, 3G-enabled computers, and home computers. Which is where this probably happened.
It's funny how it's often the personal use of technology that drives someone's investment in it, but that's exactly how our director of curriculum came to find out that we suddenly started blocking Facebook. She had just gotten back from a conference where she (thankfully) was told all about the wonderful things you can do online and was horrified that we would block anything that could be used as an educational resource. We're in pretty solid agreement that we can't even begin to figure out what not to restrict until we at least experiment with it first and see what its uses are.
So now we have discipline vs. curriculum about to engage in debate on what the relative merits are of allowing increased use of social media tools in our school. Younger teachers don't know limits, older teachers don't know how to monitor classrooms… stuff that doesn't come up in anything but a technology discussion. At least we're about to have the discussion, I guess, but it's clear that we have a lot of teaching to do across our divisions, departments, and any other way you could look across a school.
Time to get to work, or more accurately keep at it. I'm confident that solid curriculum and good pedagogy will win out in the end. We'll deal with discipline issues as they come up, but it seems as simple as teaching and modeling the right behavior so that everyone, parents included, are all on the same page and have the same expectations.