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School ICT Policies Thread, Facebook - blanket block or educate? in School Administration; Can I ask what other high schools are doing in relation to access to Facebook via the school network? Do ...
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    Lippy's Avatar
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    Facebook - blanket block or educate?

    Can I ask what other high schools are doing in relation to access to Facebook via the school network?

    Do you ban it for everyone? Ban it for students but not staff? Allow everyone access but cover it on your AUP?

    What about using it to actually teach with (eg using its sociability features)? What about break/lunch times? What about teaching responsible use? What about other social sites and sites with social features? Who monitors student use? What sanctions are in place if inappropriate use is observed?

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    Start with the assumption that a blanket block means that your staff and students will use their phones. You have no jurisdiction over how those are used and never will.

    Then look at what your network exists for - the answer should be teaching and learning.

    Finally consider the 'cr@p' that comes associated with social networking sites with potential to infect your network.

    I am all for education all the way with social networking, it's essential, but that doesn't mean facebook has to be available to anyone 24/7.

    In the interests of helping the teachers to keep the little darlings on task, I suggest it is only available when needed for teaching purposes... and that school email accounts are never allowed to be associated with personal facebook accounts.

    Esafety lessons should be about more than teaching them how to get their privacy settings right, so facebook access shouldn't be needed constantly
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 9th April 2012 at 02:18 PM.

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    My nephews primary school have started using Edmodo its very similar in looks to facebook but a controlled enviroment for social networking (they are 10 year olds)

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    It's an interesting question. Schools should be educating, but the BGFL in Birmingham do block Facebook and Live Messenger for example.

    The problem however is what educational values do Facebook or Live Messenger really have? They're both tools for communicating or sharing information. There's nothing really significant to learn about this, but I think the dangers of the internet can still be taught in schools. What to do when messaged by someone you do not know or when they send you a genuine looking link to a website.

    I think the bigger issue is how parents can deal with this at home. I bet very few teenagers do not use Facebook or Live Messenger, simply because their mates use it. It's horrific to read of stories of young people losing their lives because they initially used Facebook or Live Messenger. Educating young people should be made mandatory as part of the ICT curriculum.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Now I'm on a 'proper computer' rather than an iPod touch, I can expand my answer a little

    With regard to AUPs, your AUP should be covering safe use of school email addresses and the consequences of abuse... the same should apply to social networking. Your AUP though only covers the use of IT facilities in school usually.

    More generally, you should have social networking covered in your staff Code of Conduct and the pupil one too. This is one for the SLT and Governing Body.

    It may be covered under general behaviour issues (typically in a staff document 'behaviour that could potentially bring the school, its students or any member of staff into disrepute') However, there are very real Safeguarding issues for both staff and students with internet use outside the school's boundaries and schools should be making it clear that ill-judged behaviour, on the internet or otherwise, could lead to the school investigating further and sanctions being made.

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    We were testing the use of facebook within the school as a contact and collaboration tool, unfortunately it was missused by one of the staff which has led to an investigation and the LA's HR have become involved with the disciplinary.

    You can educate and legislate as much as you want but it doesn't stop some individual bringing the schools name into disrepute and all that goes with it, my advice is to blanket ban with a solid legal AUP allowing staff to access social networking sites on their mobile devices as long as they use their own data connection and not the schools and in their own time meaning lunchtime and not PPA's. Anyone caught posting during teaching time will be disciplined under the term "Gross Misconduct" and "Unprofessional conduct" which could lead to dismissal.

    I know that some people on here would think that a little harsh but when a single individual could in fact bring the school into disrepute especially with parents then it may mean students being pulled out of the school and that could mean yours and my job.

    I am all for good teaching tools but there are good ones and potential bad ones. This is just advice mind others may offer different advice but this also has experience on the back of it.
    Last edited by bossman; 9th April 2012 at 08:45 PM.

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