Picturing social media in school

By Anne Collier

Not all infographics are equal. Some play it a little fast and loose with source data in the interest of grabbing eyeballs – watching out for that is a good lesson in media literacy. But this one from ASCD represents data from Pew/Internet, Project Tomorrow, National School Boards Assoc., and other credible sources. It says social media is “where students live”; “how they want to learn”; “where they want [to find] teachers and experts”; and where their parents, friends, college recruiters, and prospective employers are. It also says students see it as an “overhyped danger.” (Hear, hear! See our “Online Safety 3.0” at ConnectSafely.org.) As for schools, the infographic says they see social media as “damaging,” “a distraction,” “a haven for bullying,” and “hard to monitor.” And if monitoring’s one of school’s goals, that will not get any easier. The infographic leads with the statement that the mobile Web – the one that schools can’t really control which students carry around in their pockets all day – will replace wired Internet access by 2015 (if so, we’re catching up with India, where the Web on feature – non-smart – phones is huge). This data snapshot goes with ASCD’s report “Can Social Media and School Policies Be Friends?”, which recommends that “all schools move toward embracing social media, while enacting policies that require responsible use” and dispels six myths about CIPA requirements under which schools and districts are laboring (CIPA is the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the US federal law that sets the requirements for schools and libraries to receive federal “e-rate” funding for Internet connectivity).

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