Editor’s Note: The Perils of Posting
Will the fear mongering over social media in
schools never cease? Last month, middle school
math teacher Melissa Cairns, from Buchtel
Community Learning Center in Ohio, became
the latest victim. She was put on unpaid leave
after an Akron public schools worker noticed
her joke Facebook photo of a group of students with duct tape
across their mouths. Cue the sanctimonious handwringing: “Has
she violated the students’ privacy? That’s what we’re concerned
about,” school board chair Jason Haas is quoted as saying.
This is just the latest example of how restrictive laws and
policies concocted last century are ineffective at best and downright damaging at their worst. So
what’s the best way to deal with these new realities? Read what Tech&Learning advisor Cathy
Swan has to say (Being Social: How social media can transform your school classrooms).
Cathy is the technology integration teacher for the
humanities and social sciences at New Canaan High
School in New Canaan, CT. She is also one of the most
innovative educators in the country when it comes
to using these new tools. Her solution in a nutshell?
Remove the restrictions and just get to work teaching
digital literacy, citizenship, and etiquette while using
these amazing new technologies to enhance learning.
Of course it’s essential to set parameters. Cairns
has herself admitted that, in retrospect, the post was a
bad idea, but: “Do I think that this one mistake should
cost me the last 10 years of all the good I’ve done?
Absolutely not… When your emotions are involved,
that’s when you learn things.” When it comes to social
media, we’re all learning as we go along.
— Kevin Hogan