Many schools seem to have an issue with social media use by students. They fear what students are putting out there and are afraid of what might happen if they are allowed to use social media during the day. Their answer – block it using the school internet filters. This does nothing really since most students have a constant cellular connection that allows them to use social media at all times. Of course this might cause the school to try to ban cell phones but then it seems we are falling down the rabbit hole and are moving ever farther away from our true intentions as teachers to actually teach students.
Some schools, like Leyden High School (https://twitter.com/LeydenPride) have found a great way to actually teach students how to use social media by using it as a teaching tool as well as a way to share all that is great that they are doing. All schools should be following their lead and using social media as the powerful tool it can be to help our students learn. We can not try to avoid doing our duty just because some people are uncomfortable with social media. Last night the #iaedchat topic was about being a connected educator and everyone involved was there because they understand how social media can be used to help us learn.
The other positive to developing a hashtag to use to share out positives about your school is that you become your own voice out in the world. As many people who are smarter than I have said, if we do not tell our story then who will? We should be the ones that are telling what is happening, who will be the one? This can also be the tool that we need to help students understand how they can be a positive member of the online communities. The students can learn a lot about using social media for positive gains by having a way for that topic to be introduced across the school.
My plan for the upcoming year is to help promote our own hashtag to help teachers and students share out the great things that are going on in our school. We have so much that we can be sharing but yet no one knows about it. My initial idea is #ameshighpride since that was used for a bit during the football season last year, but only for a short while. This will be a top 5 goal for the year as we make a more concentrated effort about helping students understand how to be good digital citizens.