Talking to Parents about Social Media (Twitter) in Class

I received the following email from a parent about her daughter using Twitter for school.  If you have time, please share what else should I have included in the email. 🙂

Mr. Taylor,

My name is JoeAnna Hasen and I am Kimberly Hansen’s mother. We try to limit Kimberly’s social media. Can you please better explain the reason why she will need a Twitter account for your class? Thank you.

Ms. Hansen, (names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Thank you for your email and questions about Twitter. I do not know if Kimberly showed you the document I sent home about Twitter. Just in case she didn’t, I have it for you copy and pasted below. – I will give more detail under the document. 🙂

Parents and Students,

An essential part of the Earth Science class is science communication.

  1. We need to communicate our learning with others.
  2. We need to talk to experts out in the real world.

In order to meet this criterion, students are asked to make a school/class twitter account for science communication and learning purposes. The account will be used in and out of class time and should be treated as a “professional account.”

To be clear, a professional account is an account that is public and open and also has the potential to be seen by future employers, universities, or other organizations to which the student might hope to work for, attend, or be involved with.

The most important part of managing a twitter account is to make sure all posts/updates are positive and professional.

Students will be taught proper tweeting technique and etiquette (yes, there are unspoken rules for tweeting by people who use twitter for professional purposes). Students will  also receive weekly digital responsibility and safety training.

Once the class is over for the year if the student wishes to continue using their class twitter account for professional and educational reasons, they are encouraged to do so.

Here are guidelines for setting up a twitter account for class.

  • Go to https://twitter.com/ and click sign up for Twitter.
  • Watch the following screencast FIRST.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cptoOdw_Hk
  • Use your school email and common password for our class.
  • Make your username:
    • example : 7ataylor18
      • Period you have my class
      • First initial
      • Last name
      • Year you graduate
  • No eggs: use a photo of yourself or something that’s easily identifiable as YOU for your profile pic (AVI). Your photo cannot be of someone else.
  • Your bio! Keep it brief & informative, and it may include information about you that makes you unique as well as what you want people to know about you as you build your professional learning network or PLN. You can put your state for location, but please leave the website blank.
  • Follow Mr. Taylor @TayHighSci . Do NOT follow anyone else until receiving specific information about this in class.

 

More detailed information for Ms. Hansen.

Twitter is the fastest way to connect people across the planet. It is like instant messaging but it is public and as a result of being public it can be safer. As a parent, I would ask “if it is public how is it safer?” It is safer because anyone can see what is being said at any time. This gives the Twitter user the responsibility to keep their tweets positive and professional. If you know the individual’s Twitter handle/Twitter name, you can look them up without an account and see their tweets, likes, retweets, followings, and followers (Tweets can be made private but that defeats the purpose of Twitter.

In my class, student activity on Twitter will be limited to science learning and communication. We will not spend time looking at tweets from celebrities unless it is to talk about the importance of digital responsibility and safety. Students will be trained how to identify who to “follow” and what kind of activity might warrant “unfollowing” someone and maybe even “blocking” an individual.

 

Student safety is number 1. Students are told to block someone who is sending them inappropriate tweets and to notify their parents and teacher immediately. At that point parents and/or teacher can talk to admin and decide if more steps are needed to resolve the problem and what legal actions might need to be taken.

We also discuss the etiquette behind tweeting, example: proper way to reference sources, methods of replying and retweeting messages and posts. We will talk about how to properly vet someone before we follow them.

Fortunately, over the past 6 years of using Twitter in the classroom, I haven’t had any problems other than one student being a little rude and that rudeness was directed at me.

One suggestion, if you decide you are okay with Kimberly making a Twitter account, that the two of you make it together. Make sure that the both of you know the password and username. This will allow you to access the account any time you want.

Today we did a little practice tweeting in class. Here is a link that will take you to the tweets we shared during class. You can see there is a little joking around and the tweets were not of any significance, just practice.

https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=%23scistuchat&src=typd

I would be happy to answer any questions or meet to show you more of how we use it. You are also welcome to come to my class anytime. Your daughter’s class usually meets from 12:30 till 1:18 pm.  RM 115

Thank you
Adam Taylor

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About 2footgiraffe

High School Science Teacher Dickson, TN
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