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Should your children be allowed to interact with their teachers through social networking web sites such as Facebook and MySpace?

A new policy is being considered by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education in North Carolina on Tuesday, Dec. 2. This policy strongly recommends that school-system employees not communicate with students through such sites.

The policy also strongly recommends that employees not list students as “friends” on their personal pages unless the student is a relative and warns that any communication between employees and students should be appropriate.

Some teachers say they see social networking as helpful for creating connections with struggling students who might be afraid to speak up in class or in person.  

So what do you think? Is there harm in students connecting with their teachers online? Should there be guildelines?



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Dec 1, 2008
    • Hi Bev. I just asked my husband this question and this is what he said. He has two teachers who use social networking as a tool with students. One posts a question and has the kids do live debates for extra credit. He listens in and moderates but allows the kids to do the work. Another teacher is online during certain times for any homework questions that come up. The time is structured. No one gets into any private conversations. And, honestly, private conversations online are really not totally private anyway.

      If a student has a problem and needs to talk with the teacher, they sit down with the teacher face to face to have the discussion or they go to our counselor.

      But he said that since we‘re in a highly technical world it’s important to utilize that platform since the students are preparing for college and beyond.

      He also added that if he got wind that a teacher was using the internet in a more personal way with students, they’d be gone in a heartbeat.

      Good question!
      Cynthia



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Dec 1, 2008
    • If the teacher is utilizing the contact strictly for the benefit of the student, then I believe it could actually be a valuable resource for the students and potentially the parents, too.

      Yes, guidelines are in order, but so often, social networking sites like those mentioned are abused. Even when there are guidelines in place, they become subjective and sometimes manipulated to serve member purposes.  

      When my son was in high school I had access to a website that would allow me to communicate with his teachers, review his grades, see upcoming assignments and the like. This particular site was designated for solely those purposes, and there was no room for misuse. I had to gain access through a personal visit to the administration office and provide identification. In return they provided me with a log-in and password.

      Along those lines, I think a strictly regulated site could be developed for parents, students and teachers only, eliminating the dangers of personal interpretation and misuse.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ssdelmar wrote Dec 1, 2008
    • I write books that help kids prepare for entering the workforce. - www.GetCareerWise.com. My background is in Human Resources and I can tell you one of the biggest problems employers have with new grads/new hires is that they spend way too much time socializing via text messages, twitters, IM and emails. So while social networking does help kids develop tech skills, they also need to learn the rules and etiquette around using it. Hopefully teachers are covering this aspect of social networking too so kids understand when it is completely inappropriate.



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