DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – With New York City’s Education Department recently releasing social media guidelines for teachers, Dobbs Ferry administrators said official policies will be coming to their district soon as well.
“Currently we do not address this specifically in our policy because we are not yet utilizing social networks in our classes,” said Dobbs Ferry superintendent Lisa Brady. “This will, however, be changing for next year and our revised Responsible Use Policies for Staff and Students will reflect Regulations and Guidelines approved by the Board of Education.”
While some parents may worry about potentially inappropriate contact between teachers and students, Brady said the district has ways to help avoid the issues
“There are certainly ways to utilize tools such as Facebook and Twitter that allow schools to leverage these powerful tools without crossing boundaries that should not be crossed,” she said. “There are also many educational closed social network environments that allow for controlled interactions. These include social networks such as Diigo, Edmodo, ScolaMates, Ning and many others.”
Limiting social media use is the last thing Dobbs Ferry High School principal John Falino said he wants to do as he feels it can be a strong asset in the classroom.
“Right now we’re really looking at in no way limiting students and our use of social media, but to actually use social media to further communication with parents and students and also to enhance what we do in the classroom,” he said.
Falino is even on Twitter himself, which he described as an “excellent professional development network,” where he interacts with teachers and provides updates to parents about the school from his personal account.
“I have a lot of teachers now who are following me and I’m following them as well,” Falino said. “It’s really a great place for us to share different articles to really keep up to date with what’s happening in the field.”
Brady said that tools such as Facebook and Twitter and other social networks are a vital tool for learning and students and teachers must utilize the technology.
“Technology is enabling all of us to create and expand our personal learning networks and it is important for students to do this as well,” she said. “Locking down, blocking and disabling technology in schools does a huge disservice to both teachers and students.”