It is clear that social media will continue to have a profound impact on our society, and the lives of our students. More and more, teachers are turning to social media to foster learning opportunities both in the class and beyond the walls of the classroom.
Recently, the Ontario College of Teachers released their Professional Advisory for the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media. If you have not read it already, you can find it on the web here.
In the advisory, the College address the importance of maintaining a professional relationship with students in all forms of electronic communication. It also provides a list of guidelines that all teachers are expected to follow. At first glace, it would seem that the OCT is prohibiting the use of social media because of the tone of the document, however this is not the case. In fact, the OCT is a stong proponent of the appropriate use of social media in the classroom. The OCT produced a video as a companion to the professional advisory. It is about 6 minutes and well worth watching.
I was pleased when the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario released their own response to the OCT professional advisory. ECOO exists to share and disseminate information and to advocate and promote the effective use of computers and associated technologies in the education process. Their press release is also worth reading.
As a final word, I would encourage all teachers to think about the possible benefits of leveraging more social media in your classes. There is no question in my mind that it has had a tremendous impact on my classroom. More than anything, we need to be discussing the pros and cons of social media, and finding ways to maximize the benefits and minimize (or eliminate the risks). After all, we need to meet our students where they are!