The recent banning of Facebook friendships between teachers and students in Missouri has raised questions about the pros and cons of using social media to engage students. But in an article for Mashable, Dan Klamm writes that the new law "shouldn't discourage the opportunities presented by social media in the classroom." To illustrate, he offers teachers tips on how they might effectively use Twitter, Facebook, and other online networks for classroom use, while establishing clear boundaries with students on what kind of engagement is appropriate.
Klamm, the marketing and communications coordinator for Syracuse University Career Services, suggests that educators survey their class before choosing a social media platform in which to hold class discussions. That way, students are communicating in a medium that they feel is the most comfortable for them. He also encourages the use of group pages to separate class discussions from personal social networking uses.
Once the platform is selected, writes Klamm, students should be told how they may engage with their teacher online:
For example, some teachers will welcome retweets or friend requests, while others might prefer privacy. This will reduce the chances for hurt feelings or misunderstandings down the line. You can even use this as an opportunity to educate students on the importance of being aware of one's privacy settings and their implications for one's career.