Posting and Sharing Comments, Images and/or Digital Footage

Sharing content from your personal social media site with students

Teacher J is in the middle of a geography lesson where the students are discussing well known land formations and their locations. Teacher J has recently travelled through Japan, China and Vietnam and has many images from this trip stored in an online storage space. Teacher J logs into his online storage space and begins showing the students these images via an interactive whiteboard.

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… The online storage space has been established for personal use, it is likely that there are also photos of a personal nature that are not relevant to the lesson and/or appropriate for student viewing.
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not share content from your personal social media site with students.

Posting images of yourself on social media sites that have the potential to negatively affect your reputation

Teacher K regularly uses a social networking site to socialise on a personal level with friends. Teacher K attends a ‘hooker and ho’ themed fancy dress party. Teacher K’s costume is awarded the best dressed prize. Teacher K has restricted her privacy settings so that ‘only friends’ can access her profile page. She uploads a photograph of her dressed in her prize winning costume while drinking from the prize winning magnum of champagne and uses this as her profile picture. (Via a personally owned computer from her home wireless connection)

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… If privacy setting are not used correctly, profile pictures can be viewed by all users of the social networking site.
  • DET Recommends:DET employees in schools do not post images of themselves on social media sites that have the potential to negatively affect their reputation.

Venting and posting work related issues (regarding the workplace or colleagues) on a social media site or blog.

Teacher L is an enthusiastic and innovative teacher. Since the beginning of his 5 year career as a teacher he has been online sharing his thoughts about current events, what’s going on in his life and in the world. At a team meeting a topical and passionate discussion amongst staff took place regarding the need to use innovative Web 2.0 teaching tools in the school to engage students. There was an obvious divide amongst the staff, in particular the potential for these tools to impact positively of student outcomes. Teacher L goes home and shares his thoughts about the event online, ‘Wow, I am still shocked by some professionals who are unprepared to move with the times and use technology in their classroom. They whinge that the kids in their room are ratty and won’t finish their work without being sat on, yet those in other classes are sprinting back to their classroom after lunch to finish designing their virtual world. Yeah sure you’ve been doing this forever and sure it’s always worked but don’t you want to do better!!’

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… A blog can be accessed by the world. Often there is enough personal information in the history of the blog to identify aspects of the blogger’s personal and professional life.
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not vent and post work related issues (regarding the workplace or colleagues) on a social media site or blog.

Emailing a personal opinion regarding DET policies to a newspaper website via a DET email system (e.g. edumail).

Teacher M is reading an article in The Age online titled, ‘Bullying in Victorian schools reaches new heights.’ The article suggests that bullying in Victorian schools is an epidemic like never seen before. Teacher M uses her edumail account to record a comment in the field below the online article. Her comment reads ‘I work in an Eastern suburbs government secondary school; I deal with several kids that are bullied on a daily basis. Over the last 5 years bullying has become the most challenging thing to deal with in my school, not because of the bullies but because of the parents and the government. Parents want more done so the government reviews its policies. This won’t work, parents and governments need to realise that bullying is a fact of life – zero tolerance, revised policies, blah, blah. Toughen up kids.’ (via her edumail account) 

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… Using a DETemail system allows the person commenting to be identified and affiliated with a government organisation.
  • DET Recommends:DET employees in schools do not email a personal opinion regarding DET policies to a newspaper website via a DETemail system (e.g. edumail).

Revealing personal and/or political opinions/bias on a social networking site

In the lead up to the State Election Teacher N regularly tweets his personal opinion of the current government and their educational policy statements. (Via a network and/or computer owned or leased by the DET)

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… At times an employee may be privy to information that is considered sensitive and that requires authorisation to be shared publicly. Are the comments you are making fact, opinion or based on information that could be considered ‘restricted’?
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not reveal personal and/or political opinions/bias on a social networking site using a network and/or computer owned or leased by the DET.

Establishing a social networking site for discussion of sensitive issues

Principal O is the principal of a primary school in the south-eastern suburbs and has recently become aware of social media tools and their effective use in schools. Principal O understands the pressures placed on teachers and to save meeting face-to-face for yet another task she establishes a collaborative forum for the first time. The forum will be used to begin allocating students into a homeroom for the following schools year. Principal O anticipates that teachers will use the site to discuss students including their social, emotional and intellectual strengths and weaknesses and collaboratively develop each homeroom before meeting face-to-face to finalise the lists.

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… This is the first time the principal has used such a forum and she is aware of how the tool can be used to collaborate but has had limited time to explore its terms and conditions and privacy restrictions.
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not establish a social networking site for discussion of sensitive issues.

Posting photos or messages of a sexual or offensive nature in an open forum

Teacher P is a semi-regular social network site user, he has 186 ‘friends’. He has restricted his privacy settings so that only ‘friends of friends’ can view his profile and its contents. He posts the following comment, ‘Parents in this elitist town are arrogant and snobby. Come back down to earth with the rest of us will ya! So… not looking forward to another year here.’ (Via a personal computer)

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… Statistics reveal that the average Facebook user has 130 ‘friends’. Therefore consider the following; Teacher P has 186 ‘friends’ and each of these ‘friends’ has approximately 130 ‘friends’. How many ‘friends’ can view this comment?
  • DET Recommends:DET employees in schools do not post photos or messages of a sexual or offensive nature in an open forum.

Storing images in online storage spaces without applying the necessary privacy settings

Teacher R attends a buck’s day with a few mates. Throughout the day, a number of light-hearted buck’s day games are played and many photos are taken. After the event Teacher R uploads all of the images to an online storage space including one where he is holding beer, cigarettes and ladies underwear (as part of the game). Teacher R then emails the other men that attended the day to let them know that they can view the photos online.

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… If privacy settings are not used correctly, these images can potentially be viewed by all users of the site. Do the images have the potential to impair your professional standing within the community?
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not store images in online storage spaces without applying the necessary privacy settings.