I was recently invited to be a commentator for an online talk show produced by Bam Radio.
The focus of this segment was on “The Benefits and Risks of Social Networking for Educators” and I had the pleasure of participating in the discussion along with Fran Simon and Jen Hegna. You can listen to the 15 minute recording by clicking on the link above.
I found the discussion both informative and interesting but what stood out to me above all else was the concept of being responsible with social networking tools. As I write this post, I want to clarify that my thoughts for today are intended for educators who work in the field of early childhood education.
What does it mean to be a responsible early childhood education blogger?
The responsible early childhood education blogger….
- Understands that what he or she writes and publishes online has the potential to be shared with parents and other colleagues that attend the same school or childcare program.
- Understands that what he or she writes and publishes online has the potential to be read by people from all around the world.
- Will seek to bring value to the field of early childhood.
- Will be sensitive and discreet about the type of information shared about his or her place of work.
- Will be discreet about the kind of personal information he or she shares.
- Will protect the privacy and reputation of parents, coworkers, and students.
Taking responsibility for other social networking sites and tools is important too.
Facebook for educators
It is always important to assume that what you say on a Facebook page or in a group can impact others or even someone you know. In the past, I have read comments where teachers are venting about their assistants or attacking the role of parents without understanding that his or her comment…
- Can be viewed by anyone who happens to find the page including parents from the classroom, other teachers that work in the school, and by those who are learning about the field of early childhood education.
- Can impact their own professional reputation.
- Can impact the way others view the teaching profession.
Write responsibly when it comes to participating in public forums like Facebook. Think about how your words affect others and don’t assume that what you say will not land back on your front doorstep. If you wouldn’t say it in person then you probably shouldn’t say it in a public forum.
Why can’t I say what I want?
I think you can say anything you want but the key is to ask yourself the following question…
- Will a parent, student, school, friend, or my own reputation be negatively impacted by what I say in a public forum and do I care?
My blog is private or anonymous so no one will see it anyway…
Don’t be so sure. If you are sharing your blog with anyone else that knows you, then chances are they will share their access with others. Better to just make the assumption that what you write and publish has the potential to be read by others outside of your circle of friends.
My Facebook page is private so no one will see it anyway…
Only people who you invite to view your friend page can see what is on your friend page but comments you leave on public pages link back directly to your profile so just be smart and responsible for what you say as you participate in any public online forum.
Social networking is a powerful tool that you can use to promote yourself and network with other educators. Being responsible with your use of social networking will protect you, your students, parents, and colleagues. Being responsible will bring value to you and others in the field of early childhood education.