Cybersafety is a major concern facing schools. Again, this does not only affect children and young people. Department employees in schools are also at risk of misusing social media or being targeted by a disgruntled young person or member of the school community. This is not a new concept. As with all forms of inappropriate behaviours the digital world has simply opened up a new platform for it to occur.
In the context of this Guide, social media is the term used for internet based tools for sharing and discussing information among people. Additional social media tools may include (although are not limited to):
Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace)
Video and photo sharing websites (e.g. Flickr, Youtube)
Blogs, including corporate blogs and personal blogsMicro-blogs (e.g. Twitter)
Forums, discussion boards and groups (e.g. Google groups, Whirlpool)
Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia)
Vod and podcasts
Video conferences and web conferences
Email and instant messaging
All other emerging electronic/digital communication applications.
Teachers, students and parents are increasingly using digital technologies for professional purposes (i.e. teaching and learning) and personal purposes (i.e. communicating, creating and socialising) thus challenging the traditional concept of learning in a school setting.
The Using Social Media Tools: Guide for Department Employees in Schools (Guide) has been developed as a practical resource to support Department employees in schools to understand and meet the obligations and behaviours set out within existing instruments, policies and guidelines outlined within the Scope of this Guide.
Department employees in schools who are interested in using social media tools to engage children and young people must have a clear educational context to support the teaching and learning.
This Guide will address standards of behaviour in the context of social media tools, rather than detailed policies and procedures. It is not designed to cover every conceivable situation; therefore emphasis is placed on guiding principles of behaviour that are applicable under the existing policies and guidelines.
Understanding what is within each of the above policies and resources and how they apply to social media tools is an important part of being a professional. The following advice and workshop questions are designed to engage employees both as individuals and as a group in furthering their learning.
It is recognised that schools will need to develop and/or update school-based policies, guidelines and programs to reflect this Guide and meet the needs of their local community.
For more information on the existing instruments, policies and guidelines, see: Scope
Interactive Learning Modules - a social media module was developed as a support resource for the Department’s, Using Social Media: Guide for DET employees.