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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School

Get the seven steps (and a roundup of valuable resources) you need to help bring social media in your classroom.
Steven Anderson
District Instructional Technologist/Independent Educational Consultant

Produced in collaboration with Facebook.

Social media is fast becoming as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. In recent months, many schools and districts around the country have taken steps to create social media policies and guidelines for their students and staff. In my work with several districts to draft these documents, I have seen many approaches that work well, and some that don't.

That said, there is no silver bullet for administrators; every school, district, and state has a different set of circumstances. With that in mind, here are some steps that will help you determine the best approach for your own community.

1. Examine Your School Culture

When setting out on this journey, it is important to understand the prevailing beliefs about social media in your community.

Questions for Reflection
  • How are social media products currently being used by students? By teachers? By administrators and parents? How can they be leveraged for better communication?
  • What are the fears around social media in school?
  • Are there any "bright spots" where social media is already being used successfully?
Resources and Case Studies

2. Organize a Team

This team should include educators who use social media in the classroom and those who do not. A district that I worked with recently chose to have a teacher and administrative representative from each grade level in the district, along with their heads of instruction and technology, school attorney, and two student representatives. You have to find a combination that works.

This team should be open and transparent in all their conversations and decision making, and be clear about their shared goal. Establish a website or webpage for the posting of notes, resources, and minutes from the meetings.

Questions for Reflection
  • Does everyone on the team share the same goal?
  • Is everyone committed to transparency?
  • What is your time frame?
Resources

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