Student Created School Social Media Guide (Policy)! Keeping it positive and Student Driven!

This blog post includes an infographic of a social media policy for schools, that has a student, school, and community collaboration.

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
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Idea: I developed, with student input,  a social media policy.  This is an elementary school example, but all school levels could implement a team of students, staff, and possibly community members, to create this social media policy within the school district.   After reviewing 10 policies online and the Internet Policy at my school, it has been determined that a social media policy should be in effect at our elementary school. I noticed that many school districts had policies for staff using social media but neglected to create a policy for students, utilizing student voice.  I also noted that many policies were negatively worded, meaning that is sounds that the school does not trust the student. I tried to ensure a positive approach to creating this policy, along with student input. I want the students to feel empowered to use social media for learning and feel responsible and trusted during social media learning.  This policy is meant to be guidelines rather than rules. Online interaction is a learning process, and good digital citizenship must be taught in order to be successful. This document should be read and taught in the classroom before allowing students to interact online. We must ensure that the students understand each strategy and feel safe and confident online. “Ultimately, kids have to know how to manage online usage both ethically and responsibly” (Developing Sound Social Media Policies for Schools, 2012). https://patriciasmeyers.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/elementary-school-social-media-policy/

Build: I chose a team of students to start discussing the role social media can play in the classroom.  For the build phase we are making a classroom social media policy.  (For a school wide policy, I suggest having a team of teachers, community members, parents, and students to create the official document.  The key aspect is to have student voice) The students have completed lessons on digital citizenship through my own Digital Dynamo modules and Google's "Be Internet Awesome" lessons and game. They are currently researching social media and learning. They will be creating a digital wall (using Padlet, which is basically digital sticky notes that are public is you choose) of why students should have access to social media tools in schools.  Once created I will post the results.  I chose Padlet since it is one method of social media that can enhance education for brainstorming, communicating, and sharing, etc, especially with younger learners.

Once ideas are created, we will meet to discuss collaborating on a document and use Piktochart infographic creator to create our social media policy. The example one is provided in the link before this phase in paragraph one.

Inspiration Credit to Boise State University M.E.T. Program, Social Learning Graduate Class.

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

The first step in creating this elementary social media policy is to organize a team. (Anderson, 2012) This team would consist of 5 students from grades 4 and 5, 5 teachers from each grade level, 5 parents, and 2 administrators, 2 community members and the school attorney. The school attorney will review the document to ensure that it is lawful, but the attorney will not be in charge of the process (Nielsen, 2012). The policy will be reviewed annually by the committee (Anderson, 2012).

Attachments (1)

Background Information for Social Media Policy Needed in Elementary Schools.docx

Why this necessary and who should be involved in it's creation. This really affects all levels of schooling, but my focus was on my fifth graders.

13 comments

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Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Hi Patricia,

First of all, thanks for participating in this collaboration between the Teachers Guild and ISTE. We really appreciate your contributions!

We’re in the last week of the build phase of the challenge on digital citizenship so it’s time to fine tune your idea before final voting begins next week.

Here are some things to consider as you continue to build on your idea:
- is your idea clear and will it inspire action from other teachers?
- would it be easy for a teacher to incorporate your idea about digital citizenship in their classroom?
- does your idea include some component of research and are there shareable resources?
- is your idea student-centered and does it promote agency?

Thanks,
Paul

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
Team

Thank you very much for your input and guidance. I will give all projects a good look over and add anything tested and adjust the lesson. Your input is very valuable during this process, since it was my first time contributing materials.

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
Team

Debating taking out the word Elementary, since this method of creating a policy should be completed at any level of schooling.

Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Patricia -- yes, I would say that removing the word "elementary" would be helpful. perhaps some tips on scaffolding for different age groups would be good as well. Thanks, Paul

Photo of Katherine Steffens
Team

Thank you for this wonderful presentation. You have me excited to work with my students. You must’ve done tons of research but I am grateful

Photo of Andrea Brenner
Team

I like your idea as it would teach students at a young age being positive on social media that would hopefully continue on as they get older!

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
Team

This really could be done at any age. But, you are correct!!! Elementary children, such as my fifth graders, are all on Snap Chat, Instagram, and You Tube, etc. It is imperative that we provide appropriate guidelines and teach digital citizenship at this young age, when they are beginning to use these tools, most of the time, without supervision. Would you put a child that age in a big city to fend for themselves. Well that is exactly what the Internet is, so they need to use it with someone holding their hand at first. That is why I do a lot of Google Classroom. I let them have discussions and practice their new skills learned through the curriculum. Blog commenting works great too, on Kidblog. Thank you for your comment, Andrea. I really appreciate the feedback.

Photo of Andrea Brenner
Team

Yes, this can be done with any age, I just believe that instilling the behavior when they are very young will hopefully stick with them. I am dealing with this in my personal life with my 9 year old and it would be great to have it all reiterated in her school enviornment and for young kids not to already have the technology that is wasting away braincells. It is reality however so we need to deal with it in a productive manner. Thanks for your work!!

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
Team

Andrea Brenner I believe it is mandatory curriculum now. This should be taught in elementary level classes. The problem is who teaches it. Administration would need to sort that out, but I think every class should touch upon it in various ways. The more they learn and practice their skills, the better and safer they become. Tell your school about "Be Internet Awesome" by Google. It is a great starting point and my students love the Interland game that reinforces the lessons. One child said, "This is fun, even though you learn at the same time!" I thought that was funny.

Photo of Alysha English
Team

Patricia, I love that your idea is policy oriented and developed with a wide range of school and community members. The co-creation of this policy is key to thoughtful development and implementation; excited to see how this unfolds! Great post!

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
Team

Thank you @Alysha English! I am sorry I missed this earlier. I had small groups of students make guidelines in my classroom, but never worked with a group of school and community members. The school usually issues these policies through lawyer input, which maybe important, but perhaps the first step is the community and student voice as a contribution. Student voice will help establish their accountability. Thank you for your kind comment.

Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Yes Patricia -- so important to start young and operate from a position of guidelines rather than rules. Hoping this will be a part of a build in the next phase so that teachers have access to comprehensive tools to build positive school culture around digital citizenship. Thanks!

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
Team

Thank you, Paul. Students need to learn at a young age with proper guidance. Otherwise, they are on Social Media without any knowledge of appropriate behavior, unless a parent really took the time to work with them. Schools are a great place to begin, and so much learning can evolve. We are using social media to talk with an astronaut. There are so many educational activities to go along with social media. In my Digital Dynamo post I also posted a link to Social Media Games Around the World Unit. This unit was made with a graduate student team so I cannot take all the credit. https://sites.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/games-around-the-world/home