I never thought that I would ever see the term ‘phenomenal explosion’ in an official policy document. But that is what I have just seen. The digital communications policy of my learning institution recognises ‘the potential of this phenomenal explosion in social media’ (Killock et al, 2012 p.1), when referring to social media (specifically Facebook). The document appears to take a somewhat negative view to the use of social media in the classroom. The language used has a rather derisory tone in places. When looking at colleges that have banned Facebook use, they ‘concede’ this approach may be detrimental; the institution does not ‘actively encourage’ Facebook use, but ‘acknowledges’ that some tutors may want to use it.
Of course, such caution is not totally unfounded. I have witnessed first-hand how social media can, however innocent, potentially cause harm. A group of students on one of the courses I am involved in had been included on a Yammer group which had been set up by one of my colleagues. It had generally been a success until one particular thread walked a tightrope of what I would class as acceptable. No harm was done, the thread was removed and the group was hastily disbanded, but it gave us all a reminder of how social network can be unintentionally dangerous. The news stories of Britains first youth police commissioner resigning after details of previous Facebook comments were viewed (BBC, 2013, Online) shows the value and importance of proper behaviour online as well as in person.
Closer inspection of the policy document also led me to something I had not previously realised. You may have read in a previous post that I wanted to use social media to set up a network which could include former students as well as current students to share best practice. I had not realised that staff must ‘remove past learners from their active teaching and learning groups’ (Killock et al, 2012 p.3). Clearly I have a lot to learn with regard to social media and education. I always thought I was in control of my own online behaviour, but maybe I do not know as much as I thought.
To finish, I thought I would end on a high – this video makes a bit of a mockery of our Facebook culture (Warning, there is some bad language – they drop a ‘P Bomb’)
BBC News(2013), Paris Brown: Kent youth PCC resigns after Twitter row [Online.] Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22083032 [Accessed 14/5/14]
Killock, S. Hurford, R. Snowden, B. (2012), Staff Digital Communications Policy [Online]. Available: http://moodle.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/mod/book/view.php?id=101526&chapterid=2453 [Accessed 14/5/14]
Youtube (2008). Facebook in Real Life [Online]. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrFdOz1Mj8Q [Accessed 14/05/2014]