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Social Media in Schools

Best practices and policies for utilizing social media in secondary educational institutions.

Elizabeth Field

on 30 April 2010

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Transcript of Social Media in Schools

Social Media in... Education What is social media? Social media is an open communication platform powered by computer networks. Examples of social media include sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where people can network, share, and communicate with each other through:

Blogs, Microblogs, and Video Blogs (Vlogs)
Video, Audio and Photo Sharing
Chats, IM and Message Boards
Social Gaming
Virtual Reality

A few statistics educators should know:
Given these statistics, it is crucial that educators understand how social media works in order to reach the people you are trying to teach. LEARN

First you want to learn as much as you
can about various social networking sites.

What is Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn,
and how do they work?

How can I connect with my students and engage them online?

What policies and practices should educators and students all be following?

Decide what it is you want to accomplish with social media.

Do you want to engage with your students? Share projects online? Connect with other school communities? Increase enrollment at your institution?

Social media can help you acheive these goals and more, but you have to understand that social media is more about building relationships than it is about advertising.

96% of Generation Y have joined a social networking site.

A 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction.

1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum. Once you decide to embrace social media, consider these steps as you implement it in your school:

Establish Presence
Expand Reach
Nurture Relationships
Properly Maintain Presence

Once you decide what you hope to accomplish with social media, it's time to build your presence online.

Facebook offers personal profiles, groups, causes and pages. Pages are suitable for businesses, non-profits, celebrities and other public profiles. Groups are good for any kind of group project or collaboration, while causes can be created in order to raise money.

YouTube enables people to upload videos up to ten minutes in length. These can be
student projects, promotional videos about your educational institution, and more.
YouTube video thumbnails can also be embedded in other social media sites such as blogs and facebook.

These are two good places to start and build a presence online.


One of the benefits of social media is the ability
to get the word out to hundreds or even thousands of
people in a very short amount of time.

Sites like facebook use "viral" networking to spread
information. For example, when one person becomes
a "fan" of a page on facebook, his or her friends can see
that in their newsfeeds. The more people become "fans"
the more it spreads.

There are numerous ways to use facebook and other sites
to promote your school. Each site offers detailed information
on getting the most out of the site.

Social media is not a one-way interaction, like an
advertisement. It is about building relationships.
It is equally as important to interact with your "fans"
as it is your real-life friends.

When someone posts a question, offers feedback, or
even criticizes you, it is important to respond in a timely
and professional manner.

If someone misrepresents your school or organization,
respond with accurate information. Of course, it is always
okay to delete spammers! PROPERLY MAINTAIN PRESENCE

In addition to responding to queries and criticism,
it's important to maintain your presence on the site,
otherwise people will stop paying attention to you.

You don't want to overwhelm people with irrelevent
posts. One or two posts every day or every other day, or
a few posts per week is enough.

Update your fans when you have news to share, when you have announcements to make, or when you have something to offer or are in need of something.

You can also share links to interesting blogs, news sites,
videos or anything you think your fans would like to see. MEASURE OUTCOMES

After you've established your online presence and
made a number of connections, take some time to
discover if it's working for you.

Have you met your goals? It might be best to set some
benchmarks in time--check yourself after 6 months,
9 months, and a year to see how social media is working
for your organization. Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2008) is also called Generation "I"

It is becoming increasingly common for businesses and other organizations to create social media policies for their staff, board, students and other people directly involved with the organization.

Who will be responsible for establishing your organization's online presence?

Who will maintain your online presence?

What sorts of policies do you want to set for your staff and students?

What, if any, types of boundaries should you impose between staff and students?

How will you deal with inappropriate online behavior (i.e. cyber-bullying, inapproriate comments or photos, etc)?

Developing a social media policy for staff, board and students helps set clear expectations for everyone involved and creates a more cohesive
and effective online community. For More Information:

Thank you :-)

Elizabeth Field
Multimedia Communications Specialist
Ithaca, NY

www.linkedin.com/in/lizlovesmusic How can schools utilize social media, both in the classroom and out? Many schools have banned the use of sites like facebook on school computers, yet students with mobile devices can easily access facebook, twitter and YouTube from their smart phones. Instead of banning social media altogether, smart educators will embrace this new technology and use it to engage students.
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