Social Media Policies

My school has a pretty generic acceptable use policy that was probably created many years ago when we first started using computers in the classroom and our lab.  It does not include any guidelines regarding social media.  Currently, the students and parents sign our acceptable use policy when they first enroll in the school, and it is never re-visited.  Furthermore, we have separate guidelines that are sent home with our junior high students for our 1:1 iPad program.  I’d like for our school to have one acceptable use policy that covers all technology in our school.  It should be listed on our school website with our student handbook, and it should be posted in each of our classrooms. I’d like for the policy to be reviewed and discussed with the teachers and students at the beginning of every school year, and parents, students, and teachers should sign a form stating that they have read and understand the policy annually.    

While working on this document, I combined items from our current acceptable use policy and the policies sent home with our junior high students when they receive their iPads.  I also spent time searching on the internet for the acceptable use policies at other Catholic elementary schools including schools in my diocese.  It was very hard to find any acceptable use policies in my diocese so I branched out to the diocese just north of us, other dioceses in the United States, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  I specifically looked to include guidelines for the use of social media because our current acceptable use policy makes no mention of this topic.  

The document that I put together can be found here or by reading below:

Mary, Queen of Heaven School

USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Technology is a valuable and real world educational tool.  Mary, Queen of Heaven School is committed to teaching its students, faculty, administrators, staff, and school community to work and to learn effectively with technology and to ensure responsible use of technology.

The internet is a powerful and resourceful tool that connects our students and staff with the rest of the world and vast amounts of information, both good and bad.  As an educational institution, we believe that our students need to learn how to use the internet appropriately.  

The policy outlined below applies to all technology use including but not limited to Internet use. The Acceptable Use Policy for Technology and Social Media applies to all students, faculty, administrators, staff, volunteers, or community members allowed access to school technology resources at Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Scope of Use

The digital world allows anytime, anywhere access. Uses mentioned in this policy apply to inside school use and may in certain instances apply to personal technology use and/or uses outside of school.  When personal outside use of technology causes significant disruption in school,  these activities may be viewed as a violation of the “Acceptable Use Policy” and may be subject to the disciplinary measure listed below. The types of electronic and digital communications referenced in this AUP include, but are not limited to, social networking sites, cell phones, digital cameras, text messaging, email, and chat rooms.

Responsibilities of User

Mary, Queen of Heaven School will make every effort to provide a safe environment for learning with technology including Internet filtering and safeguards. The students, faculty, administrators, staff, and school community are granted the privilege of using the computer hardware and software, and electronic communication tools including the Internet. With this privilege comes the responsibility for appropriate use.

The following are conditions for being a good digital citizen:

  • Respect for Self:
  • Users will select online names that are appropriate
  • Users will consider the information and images that are posted online before they are posted.
  • Respect Others:
  • Users will not use technologies to bully, tease, or harass other people
  • Protect Self and Others:
  • Users will protect themselves and others by reporting abuse and not forwarding inappropriate materials or communications.
  • Respect Intellectual Property:
  • Users will suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media, etc.
  • Protect Intellectual Property:
  • Users will request to use the software and media others produce and protect license agreements for all software and resources.

Acceptable Use

  • No student will be allowed to use the school technology until he or she completes annual digital citizenship training.
  • All students will be actively supervised by a teacher, librarian/media specialist, designated school aide, or administrator when using online resources.
  • E-mail is restricted for use by junior high students, faculty, and staff. Student email addresses and passwords will be given to the school administrator and technology coordinator.
  • The use of the Internet will be consistent with the educational objectives of the school.
  • When teachers are using a specific website, they will preview it for content before allowing students to access the site.
  • General rules and policies found in the school handbook apply to all students using the internet.
  • No personal information (names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) will be given out over the internet.
  • Pictures of minors may be posted on websites only with the parent’s permission and with minimal identification.  Minors should not be “tagged” or identified by name in the photograph.   
  • School social media sites will be controlled and monitored by at least two trained adults.  Parents must give consent before pictures of minors are posted.  Any information identifying minors is to be kept to a minimum.  
  • Electronic devices on school property used by students will be monitored by trained adults both while the student is using the device and by IT personnel who control access.

Unacceptable Uses

  • Use technology to harass, threaten, deceive, intimidate, offend, embarrass, or annoy any individual.
  • Post, publish, or display any defamatory, inaccurate, violent, abusive, profane or sexually oriented material.
  • Users must not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude or threatening language.
  • Users must not knowingly or recklessly post false information about any persons, students, staff or any other organization.
  • Attempt to circumvent system security or use another individual’s password.
  • Deliberately visit a site known for unacceptable material or any material that is not in support of educational objectives.
  • Students must not access social networking sites or gaming sites, except for educational purposes under teacher direction.
  • Violate license agreements, or copy other protected media.
  • Use technology for any illegal activity.
  • Breach confidentiality obligations of school employees.
  • Harm the goodwill and reputation of the school in the community.
  • Transmit any material in violation of any local, federal and state laws. This includes, but is not limited to: copyrighted material, licensed material and threatening or obscene material.

Use of Social Media

  • When teachers and students use personal or social media sites such as, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube they may not mention members of the school community without their consent unless the subject is of public concern and the speech falls under applicable constitutional protections.
  • If you are approved to represent the school, unless you are specifically authorized to speak on behalf of the school as a spokesperson, you should state that the views expressed in your postings, etc. are your own. Stick with discussing school-related matters that are within your area of responsibility.
  • Be open about your affiliation with the school and the role/position you hold.
  • Parents must have access to everything provided to their children. For example, parents should be made aware of how social media are being used, be told how to access the sites, and be given the opportunity to be copied on all material sent to their children via social networking.  
  • Friending of current students by teachers and vice versa is forbidden on a teacher’s personal social networking site.
  • Personal posts must use appropriately respectful speech, and refrain from harassing, defamatory, abusive, discriminatory, threatening or other inappropriate communications.
  • Regardless of your privacy settings, assume that all of the information you have shared on your social network is public information.
  • Encourage positive, constructive discussion if allowed to use communicative or collaborative technologies
  • Be responsive to others when conversing online. Provide answers, thank people for their comments, and ask for further feedback, etc.
  • NEVER give out or transmit personal information of students, parents, or school employees. It is also recommended that the “no tagging” option be set for photographs on social networking sites.  
  • Review content on links first before sharing them on social network posts.   

Communications

Electronic and/or Digital communications with students should be conducted for educationally appropriate purposes and employ only school sanctioned means of communication.

The school sanctioned communications methods include:

  • Teacher school web pages, wiki or LMS site like, but not limited to, Ascend.
  • Teacher school email address.
  • Teacher school phone number.
  • Teacher created, educationally focused networking sites.
  • No employee or volunteer is permitted to text message any student and likewise no student is permitted to text message any employee or volunteer.

Electronic and Mobile Devices, Cell phones:

Cell phones or other electronic devices not part of the instructional program are not allowed in classrooms during the regular school day. Students are allowed to keep these devices in their lockers/designated area and must have them turned off. Special permission to carry the devices to and from class may be granted by the principal on a case-by-case basis.

Administrative Rights

The administration of Mary, Queen of Heaven School has the right to monitor both student and employee use of school computers and computer accessed content. Due to the evolving nature of technology, the administration reserves the right to amend or add to this policy at any time without notice.

Policy Violations

Violation of the above rules will be dealt with by the administration of the school. Violation of these rules may result in any or all of the following:

  • Loss of use of the school network, computers and software, iPads, including Internet access.
  • Issuance of referrals /detentions, if applicable.
  • Disciplinary action including, but not limited to, dismissal and/or legal action by the school, civil authorities, or other involved parties.
Resources:
Anderson, S. (2012, May 7). How to create social media guidelines for your school. In edutopia. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school
Archdiocese of Cincinnati: Social media policy. (2010, May). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/social_media_policy.pdf
Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth: Social media policy. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://fwdioc.org/diocese-fw-social-media-policy-english.pdf
Catholic Diocese of Trenton Office of Communications . (2015, November 17). The Catholic Diocese of Trenton social media policy and resource guide. Retrieved from http://www.dioceseoftrenton.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Diocese_of_Trenton_Social_Media_Policy.pdf
Diocese of Covington: Creating a safe environment, policies and procedures for addressing sexual misconduct. (2015, September). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.covdio.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Policy2015.pdf
Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Safe Environment. (n.d.). Social media policy. In Social media policy. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.utahcatholicdiocese.org/images/safe%20environment/Social_Media_Policy.pdf
Mary, Queen of Heaven School. (n.d.). Student handbook. In Mary, Queen of Heaven School. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.mqhschool.com/images/school-information/StudentHandbook.pdf
Social media guidelines. (2014, June). In United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.usccb.org/about/communications/social-media-guidelines.cfm
Wise, J. (n.d.). The ultimate list of social media policies for churches & ministries. In thinkdigital. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://justinwise.net/social-media-policies-churches-ministries/

 

Social Media in Learning

Social media is a powerful tool and many teachers use it for personal reasons,  professional development, and communication with our school families, yet the thought of incorporating social media in our classroom seems to continue to be a touchy subject.  I think some worry that students will be distracted and spend more time communicating with each other rather than focusing on the assignment while others worry about cyber-bullying and student privacy and safety.  What I have found after curating website articles about schools using social media in the classroom is that all of these issues can be addressed and the use of social media engages students and extends their learning.  Social media is here to stay, the students are aware of it and use it at home so why not use it in the classroom.  At least then, we as teachers, can be involved in teaching our students the proper and safe way to interact with others on the internet.

I teach in a K-8 grade setting and I have often wondered how to safely incorporate social media in the classroom.  Many of my students are too young to set up accounts and those that are old enough may not be allowed to have them.  What I have found through my reading is that I can set up a classroom account with my younger students and we can work as a class to create posts.  It is also possible to set up individual accounts to blog, text, whiteboard, tag, post links, and create videos even for young students using educational sites like EduBlogs, Edmodo, and Fakebook.  Blogging and posting to social media helps students as young as kindergarten with their reading and writing skills and gives students the ability to share what is going on in the classroom through their eyes.    By using social media, students are able to connect and collaborate with other students in their school, district, state, country, and world.  Not only will students learn from others, but they will contribute to the learning of others and new cultures and knowledge will be brought into the classroom.

Using social media allows us to explore and educate our students on proper digital citizenship.  For example, students will learn the proper way to post and what types of information should be shared in a more controlled environment with teacher guidance.

Social media used in classrooms will not be a waste of time if managed effectively. Teaching students how to properly use social media will help prepare them for the future. After reading these articles, I have more confidence in how I can integrate the use of social medial in my classroom and I plan on incorporating it into my computer classroom in the next school year.

Click below to access my curated articles:

pearltrees for wordpress

Personal Learning Environments

Megan Apgar PLE

 

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) allow a learner to take control of and manage their learning by “navigating and organizing a stream of information and resources from a variety of different sources” (Ash, 2013, para. 1).  PLEs are created using a variety of technologies and tools that aid an individual in organizing the large amounts of information received daily.  PLEs  are unique to each individual based on interest and need (Ash, 2013, para 3 & 4).

When I started to create a diagram of my Personal Learning Environment, the first thing that I did was list out all the digital resources I use as a student, for personal use, and as an educator.  I knew that I wanted my diagram to be in a circular shape and that all the pieces had to be connected in some way with me in the middle as the central figure to show that it was unique for my needs and learning goals.  I liked the idea of using circles because they are never ending just as building our PLE is never ending and forever changing.  From the list of resources I created, I broke them up into four categories based on how I used them.  My categories include connecting socially and professionally, aggregating and annotating, working collaboratively, and creating content, connecting, and sharing.  Each category fit into a circle and I connected the circles because I feel that many of these tools are intertwined with each other and can be used for more than one purpose.  From creating this diagram, I learned that I use a lot of technological resources in my daily life that have had a great impact on my personal and professional growth.  There are probably more out that I could be using or some that I use that I forgot to list.  I also learned that I must not do a lot of collaborative work because this portion had the least amount of resources listed.

Even though PLEs are unique to each individual, I found some similarities between my diagram and those of my classmates.  The similarities I found are that many of us including Amy, Katie, Scott, and Brian put ourselves in the middle of the diagram and many of us like Amanda, Courtney, and Brian used the concept of a circle in some capacity with each resource interconnected in some way.  We also use many of the same resources and tools for professional, personal, and educational reasons. The amount of differences between our diagrams was greater than the similarities which indicated our uniqueness.  I noticed that our main differences involved our breakdowns of how we categorized our resources.  We all seemed to choose different labels to categorize them.  Courtney represented her resources as professional and personal and Amanda represented hers based on frequency of use. Kimmy seemed to only include social networks as her resources.  Despite our differences, the point of having a PLE is all about making it your own and blending your resources to develop your own personal learning space.

Resources:
Ash, K. (2013, May 20). ‘Personal learning environments’ Focus on the individual. In Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/22/32el-personallearning.h32.html
Personal Learning Environments. (n.d.). In IMAILE. Retrieved from http://www.imaile.eu/ple-personal-learning-environments/

Real Time & Virtual PD

Within the past month I have attended four webinars and four live Twitter chats.  Because I teach in the library and computer lab in a K-8 Catholic school, my goal was to attend a variety of sessions that would cover aspects of all these areas.  My Twitter chats discussed STEM, Learning Management Systems, technology, professional development, Makerspaces in the Catholic school, and blogging.  The webinars covered Makerspaces, using technology in the early childhood classroom, the library as a classroom, and connecting with school families through social media.

The topic of discussion for my Twitter chat on #edchat  was “How does an educator’s blog help the educator or his/her students? How does an admin’s blog help the admin or teachers?” We discussed these questions and many agreed that a blog is a good reflective piece used to share growth and model the importance of writing and communication to our students. We also discussed whether blogs should be made mandatory for the classroom teacher, whether blogs are becoming obsolete, and the different blog platforms available. I contributed my answer to the initial question, responded to others thoughts and ideas, expressed my frustrations with using WordPress, shared my classroom website, and ended up connecting with another K-8 computer teacher and corresponded back and forth with her after the chat regarding digital citizenship lessons. As nervous as I was about taking part in this discussion, I though it was fun and I was very excited to connect with someone who does the same work as me. I found it hard to keep up with the pace of the comments. I don’t think well on my feet so it was challenging to come up with a comment quick enough that wouldn’t go over the Twitter character limit. It was also distracting that other posts would come in through the feed during the discussion that weren’t related to our topic. It kind of interrupted the flow of conversation for me. I have included screen shots of some of the responses to my comments and my discussion with the computer teacher I met.

tweet1

On June 15th,  I took part in the online webinar, Library 2.016 Library as Classroom. This was like a seminar only online. It started with an address from five keynote speakers and then we broke out into half an hour information sessions. I attended three different sessions, “The LibraryMakerspace as Classroom, OERs at the Junction of Library and Classroom, and Incorporating Making Culture into the Curriculum.” In the Library Makerspaces as Classroom session, our speaker was a Libraries Fellow at NCSU. She shared information about their libraries’ makerspaces, the programs they offer, events they organized, and how they collaborate with course instructors to incorporate the use of their makerspaces in course instruction. I asked questions regarding their makerspaces and how to bring this down to a smaller level for the elementary library. I learned of resources and a blog to follow to get started. The OER session was presented by graduate students from the School of Information at San Jose State University. They created a website on California History for the fourth grade. On the site, teachers can submit lesson ideas, students can present projects, and resources are included including visuals, videos, and information resources. This site was designed for co-teaching among teachers and librarians. I contributed some of my thoughts on co-teaching. In the final session I attended, we learned how The University of LaVerne library system incorporated a making culture into their University’s curriculum through a Mini Maker Fair. The presenters discussed the process of planning, executing, and reflecting on their fair. I was impressed with the projects the students came up with for the mini maker fair and I liked the idea of a Shark Tank type contest they held where the students presented their projects to a panel of judges much like the Shark Tank television show. I loved that I could attend this conference from the comfort of my own home. At times the audio kicked out, though, and I couldn’t hear the speakers, but that is technology for you! Even though many of the sessions were based at the university level, they helped me formulate ideas for ways to scale it down to the elementary level. I have included files of the chat sessions for each:

Library 2.016 chat sessions

On June 16th,  I took part in the edWeb webinar “Social Media and Cell Phones-Today’s Tools to Connect with Families this Summer.” In this webinar we learned how to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Remind to better communicate with parents not only during the summer, but also during the school year. If you get the chance, I would watch the recording of this webinar. The speaker was excellent and many ideas were shared from the speaker and participants in the chat. I handle our school’s Facebook page and website so this was helpful. I learned about adding a Twitter feed to our website and also that parents can access Twitter via text message if they do not have a Twitter account. Remind was a new tool for me and one that I will explore more. The speaker made it very easy to participate in this webinar by providing polls for us to answer. I also contributed with ways I currently use these tools for our school and new ideas I may try this summer and in the upcoming school year.

Digital Classroom 06-16-16 Chat Log

I took part in the webinar through edWeb.net titled, “Using Technology to Bring Intentionality and Purpose in the Early Childhood Classroom.” This webinar on June 15th covered the guidelines for screen time for our younger students in pre-school and kindergarten, best practices for using technology, and digital literacy. In this webinar I learned that the American Academy of Pediatrics will be coming out with new guidelines in the Fall. I also learned ways to integrate technology with clear thought and intent. Some ways were to have students use devices to take pictures during nature walks, using Skype or Facetime to talk with parents during Circle Time, performing a digital show and tell, and going on virtual field trips. Basic digital literacy for this age included care of devices, modeling proper technological vocabulary, and modeling how to perform an internet search. The main goal of this webinar was to teach us how to use technology within our lessons and move away from the students singularly using the apps to play games during centers. I contributed to this webinar by talking about some of the technology tools we use in our kindergarten and providing examples of safe search engines for kids and appropriate websites that I use with my students. I have attached the file of the chat:

Classroom Management 06-15-2016 Chat Log

On June 17th,  I took part in the Twitter chat run by ‪#‎bfc530‬. The question was “How should districts/schools go about choosing and rolling out an LMS?” There weren’t many participants involved in the chat, but some ideas were selecting students, teachers, and people with different levels of experience to test different systems, asking for input from others, and exploring tech savvy chats for recommendations. Many of the people did not know what an LMS was and stated that in the chat. I am not sure I would have known except for the fact that we use Moodle in this program. We don’t use one in my school for classes. Our online system is for grade reporting and communication to the parents. An article provided in the chat was very helpful: http://bit.ly/1qdbk7x if you are interested in the topic. Here are some screen shots of my responses to the question.

twitterchat2

I took part in a Twitter chat with ‪#‎catholicedchat‬ on June 18th. The topics we discussed had to do with technology, professional development for teachers, and makerspaces. I acquired some more resources for starting a makerspace and also received some great resources to share with my principal regarding personalized professional development for teachers and technology integration. I mostly participated in the  conversation that had to do with Chromebooks and iPads. One participant was starting a 1:1 Chromebook initiative with the junior high so I shared thoughts and insights regarding our 1:1 iPad program and also asked questions regarding using Chromebooks since I am trying to decide on the best path for our school. 

twitterchat3

For my fourth Twitter chat, I joined the ‪#‎edtechchat‬ on STEM on Monday, June 20th. During the hour long session, the moderator posted 6 questions. We discussed the benefits of having a STEM curriculum in an elementary classroom, when it should be infused in the elementary school, the barriers to overcome, ways to involve parents, activities to share, and non traditional forms of assessment that could take place. Some benefits mentioned among the many responses were the promotion of inquiry and it allows students to be innovative and creative. The general consensus was that a STEM curriculum could be introduced as low as pre-school. Time, administrative support, and a willingness to let go and allow students to explore were barriers identified to integrating such a curriculum. I shared information about a STEM night we held with our students and parents last year when the chat was listing ways to involve parents and shared the types of activities we did with them. Some of the non traditional ways to assess the students included rubrics, blogs, journaling, and providing demonstrations to other classes. The participants in the chat provided a lot of great resources. 

tweet4

On Wed., June 22nd, I took part in the Webinar: A Year in the Life of a New Makerspace. Michelle Luhtala, head librarian for New Canaan High School in CT, was the presenter. She detailed the process her library took over the past few years to transform their school library into a makerspace. During the webinar I asked questions about the makerspace, gathered some great ideas, gave input on places to purchase supplies, and even helped explain what a PLC was to one of the members of the chat. This high school library was two times the size of my library and even bigger than some of the branches of my public library! Even though this was a large library and they clearly have more money to spend than I do, I was able to gather some great ideas and tailor them to my elementary library. Many of the people in the chat provided resources that I plan on checking out too. It was also nice to see how the classroom teachers got involved in the makerspace and learn how to create buy-in from the administration and staff. I have included a file of the chat log:

EmergingTech 06-22-16 ChatLog

When we first received this assignment, I have to admit that I was very nervous.  Like anyone, I am really good at being a passive observer during webinars and professional development sessions.  I have never really felt that I could be considered an expert or have anything of value to contribute to the discussion.  What I have learned from attending these virtual development sessions and actually participating in them is that you do not necessarily have to be an expert on a topic.  You can be helpful to someone and aid in their professional growth just by sharing the information you have and what you have experienced.  Taking part in the conversation opens up doors and adds to a more valuable learning experience.