Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is Twitter Acceptable Use? #edtech #edchat

I work with some awesome people. I really do. I emailed our district curriculum director and our technology TOSA about the possibility of opening Twitter up to staff usernames. My curriculum director sent the message to network services:
What are the downsides or unanticipated consequences of honoring Brian’s request to open Twitter to staff?  I know that Network Services’s attitude isn’t to “approve” or “deny” teacher requests but to determine if & how we can facilitate them.  I am therefore asking what issues are created when considering the opening up of Twitter services for staff?
And network services responded pretty quickly with this:
There are no technical reasons for not opening Twitter for staff access and use.  The only question that I would reflect back to you would be concerning the adequacy of our current acceptable use policy with regard to use of social networking media – human resources may have some input in this regard.
What I love about this interaction is that both sides VERY respectfully coined the request for review of Twitter access along lines of policy -- that is, along the lines of "the game plan" that we're all trying to follow in supporting kids and families.

I've heard nothing else yet and I haven't yet gotten to see the "acceptable use policy" document with regards to social media. But it dose give me a much better sense of the playing field and the potential obstacles. If I am right in what it sounds like to me, there may need to be some discussion about the policies in place.

It's not a "no" and it's not a "yes", but it makes me feel so much better than simply being blocked.


  1. That does sound like a decent way to deal with your request. Our acceptable use policy seems to be a great document for protecting the school district but I have to say that it does nothing to encourage staff use of social networking and especially NOT with students. That being said and all of us here knowing that full well, we still friend students and families on our Facebook accounts. Teachers have Facebook unblocked at school and students find ways around the blocking so Facebook is used at school anyway and we just know that our social media relationships have to be as professional as our face to face relationships.

    Our middle and high school Math and Science PLC will also begin blogging and using Twitter to network with more teachers and I've tried using Twitter with my 8th graders for backchanneling in class. The students haven't really taken to it very well. They still see social networking as a social venue and not an academic one. We'll keep working on that. :o)

  2. That's all very cool and interesting, Al. In true constructivist fashion, I have to say that your students' focus on the social aspect of Twitter and/or FB seems very natural. I mean... when it's something new we're exploring, most people like peers and conversation to make sense out of it. But then, after you're comfortable with the space or a tool, you start wondering what ELSE can be done with it.

    *Fingers Crossed*

    This could be an awesome tool! :)