To friend, or not to friend: that is the new question. A discussion has recently emerged, in our school community, about the friending of students by teachers in social networks. While I make no claim to have having a clear bead on a communal consensus of any kind, I’d guess that most of the teachers I’ve chatted with see friending students on social networking sites as a practice they would (or do) avoid. Teen danah boyd (I read somewhere that she legally changed her name to all lowr case, though I haven’t verified that and I can’t remember where I read it), who researches and writes extensively about how “American teenagers socialize in networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube” over at the apophenia blog has some really insteresting questions about friending. Very much worth a good look!
when teachers and students connect outside school
May 27, 2009
In my last entry, I made a comment about the value of “cool” teachers interacting with students on social network sites. I received some push-back from non-educators. Most of the concerns revolved around teachers’ ethics and their responsibilities with respect to legal structures like the Federal Rights and Privacy Act. There were also concerns that teachers who would interact with students in these environments would be putting themselves at risk.
So here’s a question to the teachers out there: What do you think is the best advice for other teachers when it comes to interacting with students on social network sites? When should teachers interact with students outside of the classroom? What are appropriate protocols for doing so? How can teachers best protect themselves legally when interacting with students? How would you feel if you were told never to interact with a student outside of the classroom?