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This week, I had some words via Twitter with Wake County Public Schools for making decisions about policies that affect students without bringing students into the conversation in a respectful way. Students were upset when they learned Snapchat was blocked and they took their concerns to Twitter.
I chimed in, sharing a Tweet that received a lot of Twitter attention making more than 5000 impressions. I asked this:
Students started a petition that current has about 150 signatures asking their school to lift the ban. On the petition students explain some ways they are using Snapchat for learning:
"Not only does Snapchat help us communicate with each other in and out of class, it helps quickly relay information between students for help on work. Just because there aren't school-related accounts on it, it's still a very useful tool and should not be blocked."
"There is no service at my school so those without iMessage cannot communicate with the outside world. Many use snapchat as a way to give information and updates throughout the day BRING IT BACK."
The most important point, however, probably came when I attended the Maker Faire Education Forum a few days later. Nancy Otero, known for her work with digital fabrication and project based learning was on a panel about "Making in Schools." An audience member asked if making could compete with social media in schools. I tweeted her response.
And this is what it comes down to. When we stop banning and competing with social media and start listening to our students, we can figure out ways to integrate this powerful platform into learning in ways that help students communicate and connect with the world and each other.
And, you know what? It looks like all this "taking it to social media" may have worked. On Friday, the student who made this story news, Tweeted this:
If this is correct, then HT to @WCPSS for hearing school voice. Hearing and adjusting is good. Inviting students to the table to have a voice in the policies and guidelines that affect them is even better.
Misunderstanding. Student voice dismissed. Snapchat remains blocked.
— Wake County Schools (@WCPSS) September 28, 2015
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.