Guide to using Facebook and Twitter with Students
For many of today’s teens, having a Facebook or Twitter account equates to having a mobile phone. It’s their primary vehicle for communicating with friends, family and a much larger learning and social network. Our high school students check their Facebook and Twitter news feeds before they have breakfast, before they go to bed, and likely dozens of times throughout the day.
What are the advantages of using Facebook or Twitter with students?
- Important information is pushed out to your students in a medium they prefer and are comfortable using. They don’t have to check a website to see if anything has been updated. The information comes to them directly as soon as you publish it.
- The high-quality content your students and parents receive is authentic, fresh and from an official representative of the district.
- Students can interact with your information. A student or parent who has a question or needs further clarification about the information you posted can post a comment.
- The information reaches your students and parents quickly. Students and parents who have mobile devices that they carry with them, like a cell phone or tablet PC, can receive your posts within minutes.
- By using Facebook and Twitter with your students, you’re preparing them for the types of communication practices commonly found in higher education and the workplace. Social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter allow for members of an organization to share and interact with information, communicate in real time, provide links to external web resources, and reach an audience in a timely, responsible, and authentic fashion.
- Your fan page or tweets are connected directly to you, the administrator, with rights that could never be transferred.
Below are a set of guidelines that teachers, coaches and club sponsors should follow when setting up and administering their official Facebook fan page or Twitter Account.
- Communicate your goals for using social media. Prior to setting up your Facebook Fan Page or Twitter account, discuss your goals with your immediate supervisor and encourage him/her to assist you in monitoring your feeds and provide regular feedback.
- Make your use of social media official. Use school logos and publish appropriate titles that clearly identify your posts as the official source of news and information for your class, team or club. Always use your school email address and school contact information when setting up your public profile. You should never provide personal information in your posts and never use your personal email account for contact purposes.
- Always remember that your use of this form of electronic communication constitutes a public record, must be transparent to all stakeholders, and always contain content reflective of a district professional. Inappropriate comments, language or links on a page that you are responsible for could quickly bring your professionalism into question.
- Notify ALL of the parents of your students that you are using Facebook or Twitter to share information, and encourage parents to also participate. Remember to always remain transparent about your use of electronic communications.
- Should your Facebook fan page allow others to post comments? This depends on your goals for the page. If your goal is simply to push out relevant, current information to your stakeholders, then prohibiting new posts to your wall is encouraged. This option keeps your page uncluttered and emphasizes only your information. If your goals are to provide an environment that promotes an exchange of information and encourages students and parents to ask questions, then allowing posts may be appropriate. This option will require you to monitor your page more frequently as removing comments, links or images that are not relevant or inappropriate may be necessary.
- The Facebook Fan Page or Twitter account should never be used as a medium for personal conversations. If a student or parent post a comment which you feel requires a more personal response, use your district email to communicate with them (or give them a phone call.)
- Never associate names or other personal information with a photo of district students on your Fan Page or tweet.
- Facebook Fan Pages or Twitter should not be the only means by which you communicate with students. Rather, it should supplement your other communication sources (class or team websites, Moodle, Google Apps, email or letters home.) Not every student may have a Facebook or Twitter account and we should always respect family decisions in this regard.
- D128 Employees should never “friend” any student currently attending LHS or VHHS when using Facebook. When you set up a Facebook Fan Page, your students become friends to your class, team or club, not you as an individual.
Always refer to the District 128 Expectations for Communicating Electronically With Students for guidance in the use of these types of practices.
For additional questions, please contact:
Mary Todoric, Director of Communications