Sunday, January 30, 2011

Facebook and the student/teacher relationship

I have a Facebook page and yes I have students that are “Friends”.  Here’s a shocker, I actually engage in conversation with students……*gasp*……online!  But that’s not the most surprising of revelations.  I don’t know whether I should admit this in public but……here goes……I actually engage with students face-to-face for OVER AN HOUR EACH DAY!  OH THE HUMANITY!  Real conversation!  Sometimes there is conversation that has to do with, just like Facebook, school.  Oh my.  Occasionally a snarky comment might be shared, advice about sports teams might be traded, country music may be bashed, and God forbid, I might actually shake someone’s hand.

Start the investigation right now.

All of this nonsense about the dangers of Facebook in regards to teachers and students is becoming incredibly absurd.  For me, it all came to a head when I read comments in a Lifehacker article about Edmodo, educational software that is sort of a Twitter/Facebook/Moodle clone.  Some of the comments include warnings against teachers using social networking media at all.  Apparently the software leads to inappropriate teacher/student behavior because the fact that the idiot is in front of the classroom full of students would not influence that behavior at all.  And if a teacher is stupid enough to friend students and parents, and then post photos of a drunken night with the brothers in Vegas while commenting that the hang-over from Jagerbombs was insane, then it might not be the software there as well.  The teachers should be fired because they are a bit lower on the evolutionary chain, not because they have a Facebook profile.

Enough of the social networking hype.  Plenty of idiotic employees make the mistake of putting inappropriate things on networks and reaping the consequences.  The only difference with teachers is that our misconduct presents a bad face to the profession at least, or leads to grossly disgusting crimes at worst.  But as with all cases, the software doesn’t make people do it.

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