How Teachers can Manage Student Contact on Facebook

Are you concerned about Privacy and Facebook with students and teachers? Looking to see if Social Media Privacy can be managed? In this video I take you through setting up your Facebook Profile so you can manage privacy and student “friendship” with Facebook Lists.

How to Limit Student Access to Teacher Facebook Newsfeed

  • Create a List
  • Add Students to that List
  • Post images, news and suggestions ONLY to that list
  • Click on the List to see what students are responding.
  • Teach students to use lists (one for mucking around with their friends, one for homework, one for sports etc)

Now you may be one of those teachers that doesn’t want to connect with students outside of your designated work hours at school. But for those of you who want to take advantage of creating a community of students to:

  • Extended classroom and flipped classroom.
  • Creating a Newsfeed for students to follow and create exercises from
  • Provide communications tools that students might actually engage with
  • Share reviews of sites, books and resources they might use in class
  • Provide by example how to lead and engage in debates over topics taught in class
  • Provide foreign language or learning difficulties help
  • Keep up with politics, politicians and thought leaders around the world
  • We use the term “ambient awareness” – the always on, always front of mind type of education

This video shows you how to friend a student, place them in a private friends list and then control what they can see of your newsfeed.

Forbidding Student and Teacher Connection on Facebook Profiles

Some teachers have had the right to engage with students in this way taken away from them. The reasons for this are:

  • Teachers are not to be trusted. Well, a small % aren’t so the rest have their right to communicate using a common channel removed as well. (Don’t confuse idiotic behaviour from teachers with predators, different beasts).
  • Lack of literacy in digital and social media by schools and teachers who feel that a “personal” profile is for “friends and family” and don’t understand how well Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus etc does friends lists and privacy.
  • Teachers are “teachery” in school and “private persons” out of school. (True, some are).
  • Digital education has to dished out in the classroom and not in an ambient way.

Lack of Understanding by Queensland College of Teachers about Facebook Profiles and Lists

While it personally angers me that teachers are so disrespected by Queensland College of Teachers that they’ve been told they aren’t to be trusted on social media with our kids (but hey, you can have them all day in the classroom) most of it is based on misinformation eg.

MOST teachers would not dream of telling their Year 10 science class about the lovely hinterland getaway they had with their partner on the weekend. Nor would they be likely to start a discussion in class about the latest accomplishment of their toddler, or their beloved pet, or the latest pose they mastered in their yoga practice. However this is the sort of information students suddenly become privy to if a teacher allows their class to connect with them on Facebook. Courier Mail

The PDF from Queensland College of TEachers shows their lack know digital/social media literacy around Facebook and Lists

If a teacher’s employer allows them to communicate with students via Facebook, teachers should set up a separate professional account and keep their communications with students focused solely on educational issues, so that there is no perceived or actual ambiguity between a teacher’s work as a professional and their personal life. (PDF)

Which given that I’ve just shown you how to lock down your student lists/feed in the video, is a ridiculous argument.  “hey we don’t trust you with THAT mobile phone so we insist you get a 2nd mobile phone”. ^^ But don’t worry about it, these kind of “fear” based rules get replaced later with “education” style rules. It’s like sex education – don’t discuss it, oh ok, now we understand better the implications of that, here’s how to teach it properly.  In the meantime for those of you who CAN connect to students and are interested in a holistic approach to teaching, managing the channel effectively is massively rewarding.

Carol Thebarge, a 79-year-old substitute teacher in Claremont, N.H., brought this issue to light recently when she was told by school officials to unfriend her more than 200 current students on Facebook. If she didn’t, they said, she would no longer be called on to substitute. She announced Thursday (on Facebook, of course) that she would not comply.

But not every teacher is Carol, not every teacher is passionate and committed as she is to cover all channels and every opportunity to teach. I’m sure she’d be called “inappropriate” in Australia.

What do you think? Facebook Lists and incredible debates and connection or Formal classrooms and disconnected comms strategy? Friend your students, but do it properly with Lists. Or don’t friend ’em, I don’t care. You decide. Or your Teachers Organisation will!

Facebook Privacy for Teachers and Students Online Course

Facebook Privacy for Teachers education

Disclaimer: I have a little $13 Facebook Privacy for Teachers course online that helps teachers manage privacy settings (beyond just groups!). It takes teachers through the Privacy settings for their profile and how to turn off ads “big data” and manage “who can see my comments” as well as FoaF (friends of friends settings). Just thought I should mention it’s something  I am passionate about – protecting children online but in a real world way.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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