As someone who is a big proponent of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. as tools to communicate, connect, and learn, I often get asked about the downside of social media use for educators. My honest answer is that I really don't see a downside for educators in using social media tools for the purposes I mention above. The two biggest reasons for educators to be using social media are as follows:
- Educators need to model the use of these online communication resources in a responsible manner.
- Social Media provides an avenue for educators to amplify their voices and share the great work happening in their classrooms at a time where teachers and schools are often viewed with disdain.
I was asked about this topic by Tanya Roscorla from the Center for Digital Education in her recent article How should educators act on social media? Here is my response:
"If people out themselves as intolerant, ignorant people on social media, I think it's a good thing, and they shouldn't be in those positions to begin with."
I really don't think the answer to the question about how educators should act on social media should be any different than the answer to the question - How should educators act? We should not be partaking in illegal behavior period. While the headlines and the negative PR that may come back to school districts due to the inappropriate online behavior of their employees is certainly unfortunate, the unveiling of individuals who seek to do harm to others with their words and/or actions is an unintended benefit.
Finally, let us be clear on the most important part of this topic. Social Media is not the cause of inappropriate behavior, it is a vehicle for communication that can highlight both the positive and the negative actions and comments of inidividuals. All we can really control is our own actions. That is nothing new.