I was recently asked for rationales on why social networking sites like facebook, twitter, youtube should be UN-blocked in a school district. Here is my response. I’d be curious to hear what others think!
Here are some thoughts to have the ‘pro-banners’ consider. Students who can afford it already have facebook, msn, twitter…etc on their cell phone. Banning social networking on the district network simply means that the students who can’t afford a personal cell data plan are blocked. There is an obvious moral role that schools play in providing free, open, public access to all children. How is facebook banning any different than book banning?
We are all aware that cyber bullying and off-task facebooking and concerns in schools. My feeling is that education systems have a role to plan in mentoring, modeling and participating in social networking. We need to monitor and shape socially responsible behaviors in our young learners. Blocking the sites simply means that the educators miss an opportunity to teach about the appropriate use.
Also, there are too many professional networks that exist and will continue to exist in social sites. I was recently at a professional development session in that district and found that twitter was blocked. Twitter has become a powerful professional network to learn from and to share.
By the way. I look forward to connecting to you on twitter (http://twitter.com/jmcconville1000). For now, you’ll have to go online at home, school is definitely ‘off-line’ - Tongue-in-check :)
What advice would you give to a district on why they shouldn’t block social networking?