The Use of Social Networking Websites
The use of social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Flickr, Bebo etc. have become increasingly popular. The use of technology for educational purposes is an important part of the work of students, teachers and trainee teachers. However it is imperative that such websites are not abused. For your own protection please consider the following advice carefully.
Whilst studying at the University, on teaching practice at schools which are part of the partnership, on ‘placement’ modules and while volunteering, you are requested to carefully consider the use you make of e-mail, text messages, messaging sites, social networking sites, blogging and the internet. High expectations and standards of professional behaviour in relation to the use of electronic interaction are as relevant as face to face behaviour.
USE OF E-MAIL:
Be aware of potential problems which can arise by providing personal details on social networking sites. Do not use your personal e-mail address to communicate with pupils in schools or adults or children in voluntary settings or placements. If you do receive work by pupils via e-mail please use the school’s official e-mail and keep any comments within professional matters. Do not use any e-mail addresses given to you as a member of staff whilst on teaching practice, on placement or while volunteering for personal reasons.If in doubt, consult a member of staff.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES:
Students using social networking websites in a manner that can be seen as representing the School and University should:
- set their profiles to private, so that they control who they allow to see their detailed information;
- never access or use the social networking sites of students or pupils or use internet or web based communications to send personal messages to a student or pupil;
- not refer to the school or setting where they are training, volunteering or on placement, nor refer to any co-worker at that particular establishment in any way on a social networking site or in a blog. It is also not acceptable to use any pictures of them on such sites;
- not refer to the tutor of a module or any other member of staff within the School of Education and Lifelong Learning in any way on a social networking site or in a blog without their prior consent. It is also not acceptable to use any pictures of them on such sites without prior consent;
- not make offensive or derogatory remarks about students or other individuals, and should not post obscene or derogatory images. The University reserves the right to take disciplinary action if appropriate and, in extreme cases, defamation can lead to legal action;
- not become an on-line ‘friend’ with any of the pupils at a school or adults or children in voluntary settings or placements;
- ensure that they do not conduct themselves in a way that is and/or could be seen as bringing the School of Education and Lifelong Learning or University into disrepute;
- ensure that any comments they post on these websites could not constitute bullying, harassment or discrimination;
- take care not to allow their interaction on these websites damage working relationships between members of staff and clients of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning or University;
- take care not to allow their interaction with students or pupils to be construed as unprofessional;
- ensure that they do not contravene the Data Protection Act by posting information about the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, the University, its staff or students or any third party.
Remember it is not acceptable to make use of social networking sites during working hours or during lecture/seminar contact time, unless permission is given. Remember that a number of prospective employers search for information on applicants on social networking sites whilst short listing posts.
Do not use your mobile phone during lessons or lectures except for emergencies, unless you are actually granted permission by the tutor. Do not keep any message or picture on your phone which you would not be happy for others to see when you are on placement. Do not leave your phone where pupils/students/others can get hold of it. Do not under any circumstance give your phone number or lend your phone to a pupil for any reason. Do not use your mobile phone to phone or text any child or adult.
Use the school, setting or other establishment’s mobile phone as a contact number if you are going on a trip with the school. Please act wisely if you know pupils personally outside of the school environment.