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e-Safety Thread, Twitter use in Departments in School Administration; ...
  1. #1
    Frut02's Avatar
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    Twitter use in Departments

    Hi,

    Our Music department wants to use twitter to update the children on rehearsal times, show times ect. Does anyone have a policy in place for the use of twitter by the school? Or does anyone see any problems with it. If you are able to turn off direct messaging, (which Iím sure you can) then the content is only one way from Teacher to student.

    Any thoughts?

    Nick

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    hardtailstar's Avatar
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    Has the school not got a text feature?

    Our school has one and got kids in groups to remind them of things

    You will have to be careful with twitter as its such a public thing.
    Last edited by hardtailstar; 25th May 2012 at 08:24 AM.

  3. #3

    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    If you do not follow a person, they cannot send you a direct message, so if the teacher account does not follow anyone, any direct message can only go from the teacher account to a pupil.

    This could still cause a liability for the teacher, as any private communication should be avoided, so the login credentials should be made available to SMT/IT support so that it is clear the account is not private to one teacher.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    We've been using twitter a bit in school. Each department has an account (SCHOOLArt, SCHOOLEnglish etc.) some use it a bit, some not at all.

    Our policy basically says that school accounts must not follow pupils.
    Staff must not DM pupils, parents or staff.
    We encourage departments to use widgets in our moodle site. Helping transmit the messages without pupils thinking they need to sign up for twitter.
    We encourage staff to quote tweets and comment, rather than just retweet.
    I also remind people that if they follow a school account, people are only two clicks away from seeing their tweets. So if there were any tweets you wouldn't want the school, pupils, parents or media looking at, do not follow!

    The policy builds on our professional conduct policy.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Building on what @AngryTechnician is saying, the policies are practically there already... it's all about extra guidance that schools may wish to add. Creating policy or guidance that helps teachers do their job, rather than lose their job!

    The Guidance for safer working practice for Adults working with Children and Young People in Education settings states Adults should ensure all communications are transparent and open to scrutiny. So DMs are basically already outlawed! Even if SLT have the password for the account, a DM can be deleted by the sender or receiver. It wouldn't be hard to send an inappropriate message when you know the user is online, and then delete it five minutes later.

    Also the Teaching Standards which every teacher must comply to from September 2012 state A teacher is expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct. So teachers must understand that their personal social media accounts need to be professional too!

    Both really important documents explaining how a teacher can and cannot communicate.

    I've recently run some training on digital footprint of staff, I created a prezi which I'll give you a link to if it's something that interests you? My twitter is also full of links to guidance for teachers / school staff use of social media.
    Last edited by IrritableTech; 25th May 2012 at 08:53 AM.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Just been passed this on twitter by the ever helpful @esafety_officer (definitely worth following).

    It's a nice guide to social media in education... http://irte.eu/4f

  7. 2 Thanks to IrritableTech:

    garethedmondson (26th May 2012), pcstru (31st May 2012)

  8. #7
    Marci's Avatar
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    Hmmm - iffy one. Twitter's terms state the users must be of an age to form a legally binding contract in their country of residence. Between the age of 7 and 17 inclusive you need parental consent for the contract to be binding in the UK (see Contract Law & Minors: Solicitors law firm in London UK discuss minors). Bear this in mind when approaching/promoting/encouraging the use of Twitter between staff and students in an educational environment.

    On a sidenote, Edmodo's terms state the same, whereas Facebook state that their site is for age 13 and over. So technically from a legal standpoint (or my interpretation of what legal info I can find), schools would be safer encouraging the use of Facebook(!) for students aged 13 or over than encouraging the use of Edmodo or Twitter... unless they intend to send a letter out to all parents notifying them that the school intends to use Twitter or Edmodo for communicating with students, outlining the risks etc, but pointing out that it won't be the sole method for such communications and that having or NOT having account will in no way affect a student's ability to learn / take part in a lesson / take advantage of an opportunity offered to still remain inclusive towards any students whose parents won't give consent.
    Last edited by Marci; 25th May 2012 at 10:58 AM.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    The difference between using twitter to read announcements and having an account on twitter are two different things. To some extent the announcement style of twitter can just be considered to be similar to an RSS feed (indeed you can build widgets for other RSS feeds to look similar to twitter, or pull your twitter feed into an RSS aggregator / publisher if you really needed to).

    The downside is that by using a particular service are you encouraging them to start using it? There is a legal position on this but to some extent you can counter-act that as part of education around the safe use of social media.

  10. #9
    esafety-adviser's Avatar
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    As with anything like this, there is very little in the way of what is right and wrong; only what is appropriate, and appropriate is subjective to the school and its own unique circumstances. That could be appropriate to education, to the school, to the child etc.

    On the point of law, policy isn't law, it's only a term and condition. Twitter and Facebook are being used for some really good things in schools these days (both primary and secondary), most notably as said above like a broadcast account where the school doesn't follow any account, but parents and students can follow the school (once checked and approved).

    In e-safety there is always 4 angles that must be considered - policy, liability, safe use, technology. If you think using the analogy of the fire triangle, i.e. if you have fuel, oxygen and heat you have a fire - so it is the same with e-safety, in other words if you have covered the school policy, the liability to the school (through misuse), empowered safe use, and using the right technology with the correct considerations, so you e-safety compliant.

    In the case of using Twitter:
    Policy - the school must have a social media policy (either separate or embedded within AUP) which states the controls for use.
    Liability - the school must consider the implications of misuse by the school, i.e. risk assessment and mitigate.
    Safe use - the school must empower ALL staff with good e-safety awareness, and include the students and parents
    Technology - (using Twitter as the example) - a dedicated school account, locked, used as a broadcast account only (in the context of this post), users can only follow once accepted.

    For the sake of being concise, that's a really quick description, but of course there are so many variables. As long as any school remembers the 4 principles and gives them due consideration any risk is mitigated.

  11. 2 Thanks to esafety-adviser:

    Frut02 (28th May 2012), pcstru (31st May 2012)

  12. #10
    Frut02's Avatar
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    Thanks all, i have written some stuff up about this. I have the Education ICT services coming in to talk about setting up a risk assessment for it and rewriting the e-safety/learning policy.

  13. #11
    esafety-adviser's Avatar
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    Good luck and let me know if you need any help.

    One last thing that I forgot to mention - I've written a small guide for schools that want to use Twitter. It's completely free for use and distribution.

    Alan

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