What is an appropriate level of electronic communication between students and teachers? Should educators communicate with their students through cell phones, online chatting, or Facebook at all? These are the questions that the Fernando County School Board in Florida are asking as they prepare to vote on a texting ban between students and teachers.
Bryan Blavatt, superintendent of the Hernando County school district, believes that electronic communication between students and teachers is unnecessary and risky for educators, who may encounter legal problems as a result of unauthorized and undocumented communication. He said:
We’re constantly having to deal with electronic media and we want to send a consistent message to staff. As far as Facebook messaging and phone calls– we can’t carte blanche say they can’t do it. But we can say we don’t think it’s a good idea and that they shouldn’t do it. (Education Week)
I know that I would be uncomfortable if my child received personal messages from teachers outside of school. But information regarding homework assignments or discussion questions mass-texted to the entire class may be a different thing. Lisa Nielsen, author of “Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning” believes that texting is the most effective way to reach students, and that young people have found e-mail to be outdated “for at least five years” (Huffington Post).
What do you think? Is there any reason that teachers should be communicating with students outside of school hours on non-school issued devices? While some say that social media may help disengaged kids reconnect with school, others believe that the blurring of personal and professional boundaries is too great a risk to take.
Share your thoughts below in the comments.
Photo credit: bredgur
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