Is it time to review the lock-down on social media?

It’s that bristling question again. Should teachers be allowed to use social media during the day? And the corollary to this: should students have this option, too?

In the next few weeks, as part of a chapter for an upcoming book, I am conducting a survey on this topic, and would like to get input from readers.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Education Week just held a webinar on this, titled Tapping the Power of Social Networking for Education, featuring instructional tech specialist, Kyle Pace and Education Week‘s Digital Directions writer, Michelle R. Davis,. During the sessions, they conducted a poll on whether attendees’ schools blocked social media sites. The results were somewhat predictable: 64% : 36%  (Yes: No)

I must add a sidebar to all of this. When I worked in higher ed, in 2008, social media use by administrators was not exactly sanctioned. Then it roared in and was blended into all forms of marketing comms, student comms and media relations. Despite pockets of resistance (by those “who reads blogs, anyway?” folks). Take a look at this infographic, below. Some 84% of colleges were using it in 2012 –that number is probably in the nineties now.

How long more will there be a lock-down on middle and high schools? I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to manage it, but just like we don’t lock-down email anymore, just like the way we don’t block Wikipedia or blogs, we better be preparing for a time when our ‘content creators’ will be publishing their comments and home work, taking quizzes and collaborating on documents in cloud-based environments,  and even interacting with students in another country in real time.

By the end of the year some of my elementary school students will be doing the latter. Stay tuned on how I plan to make this happen


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