You may have read that I recently reconsidered my stance on technology use in the classroom. I am encouraging students to live tweet my classes for the first time this semester. The effort is meant to make students more engaged with the content and create a learning community that extends outside of the classroom.
When making this decision I had to consider what, if any, restrictions I should attempt to place on this altered media usage. I decided that encouraging live tweeting of classes required me to have some formal policies for classroom Twitter use.
I had no ideas where to start, so I used these six steps to draft social media policies.
1. Read Existing Policies
I started by searching for social media policies used by other educators and businesses. I figured I shouldn’t reinvent the wheel if there were models I could use.
I didn’t find a lot of social media policies from educators. When I solicited such policies from Twitter, I received mostly negative feedback from educators who said they didn’t want students using social media in the classroom, so they saw no reason to create policies. Not much help there.
I found a great resource in the Online Database of Social Media Policies. Although I admittedly did not read them all, I found Intel’s social media policies to be especially well-written and relevant. I can see how many agencies could use them as a model.
2. Consider Your Clients
Think about who you are asking to read an adhere to your social media policies. What do they need to know? Furthermore, why would they go through the trouble to use social media under your suggested restrictions? This should answer the What’s In It for Me question for them. I, of course, thought about my students and readers of my blog.
3. Revisit Your Objectives
Think about the objectives you have for your clients’ social media usage. Outline your policies in a way that makes the benefits of usage apparent, as stated above. Consider what can be negative or distracting about social media usage. Draft your policies in a way that eliminates or minimizes these issues.
4. Just Write
At some point you just have to start writing. Don’t do the write three sentences and delete two thing. Write with the idea of revising and restructuring afterward. This was when I really felt like I was moving forward.
5. Link to Support
Give your policies weight by linking to relevant literature that supports your usage guidelines. This will give the reader insight into the motivation for your various decisions.
This was especially important for me because I did not want students to feel stifled by the policies. I wanted them to understand why the guidelines were necessary, but not to be discouraged by them.
6. Revise and revisit
Chances of you sitting down and writing a masterpiece the first time are slim. Review what you’ve written and revise it as needed. Then schedule a regular time to revisit the policies, making sure they still are applicable and sufficient. I plan to revise my blog’s policies at least once a year. The classroom policies will be reviewed each semester.
Writing social media policies was something I wasn’t comfortable doing because I hadn’t done it before. It would have been easy to put it off. In doing so, I would have given students permission to use a tool, but not provided guidelines for its usage. This seems counter to education and may have set them up for failure. In the end, I’m glad I took the time to draft the policies and plan to continue using them and revising them each semester.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
Do you have social media policies you’d like to share? Do you notice items missing or ideas you don’t support in my policies? I certainly would appreciate your input.