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Category: Social Media

Unlimited Access

Should unlimited access between teachers and students through social media be restricted?

School administrators acknowledge that the vast majority of teachers use social media appropriately. But they also say they are increasingly finding compelling reasons to limit teacher-student contact. School boards in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia have updated or are revising their social media policies this fall.

These interactions could result in more bad press for teachers and schools


these interactions could change students’ lives.

How did that get started?

As I share my family Christmas traditions with others, I am often met with a confusing look and the question, “Now how did that get started?”

You don’t think about how different your family traditions of beliefs sound to others until you try to start explaining it.

I’ve had the same feeling in trying to explain the connection I see between affiliate marketing and education. Most people think the two are unrelated and independent of each other, but as crazy and out of order as it sounds, they do.

And they will.



You don’t own your blog, Google does.

If you are continuing to use Blogger as your blogging platform, you should consider that you don’t own your own blog.

If you try to customize by using html coding, you’ll run into this:

If you take a look at your code, you’ll notice that it looks somewhat like regular HTML and CSS, but also includes lots of custom tags that make it compatible with our drag-and-drop layout editor and font and color picker.

That’s straight from:


Blogger doesn’t even have it’s own support page! It goes through Google.

You don’t own your own blog.

Google does.

You’re Already Behind

In my church history class last night, we were discussing the Council of Chalcedon. The 27 tenets that the council concluded were important were all in response to what had already happened.

They were already behind and their decisions were already out dated.

If you are trying to implement internet policies and acceptable use policies at your school, you are already behind.

Students are using social media and using the internet daily. Your policy is already out dated.

If you aren’t looking ahead rather than looking behind, you won’t be able to keep up.

Mobile Mystery

Many teachers (and professors from my experience!) are troubled and paralyzed by the mobile mystery.

What do we do with all of these students who have cell phones?

Do we demand that they keep them in their locker?

Do we put a basket out in our classes and take them up?

Do we confiscate them if we hear them or see them and make parents come and pick them up?

Students are learning and playing and communicating with their mobile devices throughout the school day. No school has figured out how to stop that from occurring even with the strictest cell phone policy.

We are playing catch up to the social interactions and learning that takes place in this mysterious mobile realm that schools and teachers can’t access.

And still almost none of the discussions that we are having in schools have to do with how we can include mobiles into the classroom.

It’s time to unlock the mystery and let mobile learning take place in the classroom.


Mobiles are Game Changers

Sam Harrelson has been blogging about the way that mobile devices impacted Cyber Monday sales.

Turns out that mobile devices aren’t only impacting the world of marketing. They are also increasing literacy development in children:

The research, to be published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning next month, found evidence of a “significant contribution of textism use to the children’s spelling development during the study”.

This study, which took account of individual differences in IQ, found higher results in test scores recorded by children using mobile phones after 10 weeks compared with the start of the study.

Maybe it’s time to agree that mobiles are game changes.

Owning Up

Learning to use online forums, be they social network services like MySpace and Facebook, blogs, or wikis is not a sexily contemporary add-on to the curriculum – it’s an essential part of the literacy today’s youth require for the world they inhabit.

I hear teachers and parents complain about receiving emails and text message that sound “mean” or “harsh.” I have received the same time of communication, but rather than jumping to thinking that the person is upset with me, I consider that maybe it’s because they haven’t been taught or haven’t discussed the genre expectations of digital literacy.

We can’t complain about students that don’t know how to use social media and communicate effectively online if we aren’t willing to allow the conversation about digital literacy and the unique genre expectations into our classroom. We are holding students to a standard that they don’t know and frankly that is a little fuzzy to most of us.

I started teaching social media to Berkeley and Stanford students five years ago when I realized that the answer to the question I’ve been asked by readers, critics, and scholars about my own work over the last 20 years – “are personal computers and Internet-based communications good for us as individuals, communities, democracies?” – is “it depends on what people know about how to use these tools.” Whether digital media will be beneficial or destructive in the long run doesn’t depend on the technologies, but on the literacy of those who use them.

As Harold Rheingold stepped back and questioned whether he was asking the right question, he realized that the answer to whether students are going to be able to communicate effectively through social media and online was largely dependent on whether he was willing to open his classroom to those discussions.

So rather than blaming students for online blubbers, maybe we need to take the blame.


As a Twitter user, I find myself hoping to be retweetable.

I hope that I say something or find a resource that someone might find interesting enough to retweet.

You might say that’s not the reason to use Twitter and that’s not my main reason for using Twitter by any means. Twitter provides instant, free professional development for me as a teacher everyday and that’s what keeps me coming back to it; however, there is a sense that I hope that I’m contributing to that learning community productively.

This wanting to be repeated isn’t a new idea. We all desire to say something funny enough, interesting enough or challenging enough to have people repeat what we’ve said.

As a teacher, one of the biggest compliments (or panic attacks) you experience is when a parent starts a conversation with, “Last night at dinner, George said that you were talking about the Egyptians in class and . . .” That conversation can go two ways with major different outcomes, but what I always clinged to was that my students were talking about what they were learning in class at home. Our conversation, our discussion didn’t just bounce of the classroom walls and fall to the floor. They heard (granted sometimes incorrectly) something worth sharing.

They retweeted.

We’re not ostriches

Actually, that’s a myth: ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand! When an ostrich senses danger and cannot run away, it flops to the ground and remains still, with its head and neck flat on the ground in front of it.

The ostrich, the largest and heaviest bird, are powerful creatures and yet when they sense danger, they hit the deck and try to blend in with their surroundings.

Is that we are doing as teachers?

Have we hit the deck looking to blend in with all of the other teachers so that our jobs aren’t threatened?

Are we teaching our students to do the same?

I was in a teaching class this summer through SWP talking about technology integration. Most of the teachers in the room, responded by saying:

Sounds great, but there’s no way that my principal would let us do that. He would fire me if my class were on Twitter.

So hit the deck and tremble in fear about what could happen.

Is that really the best response that we’ve thought up?

We’re not ostriches, so let’s not act like them.