We’ve written several times recently about the implications of social media on the educational world, from students being advised about posts on Facebook to a story from Ontario where teachers were advised to have no contact with students on Facebook and then most recently about social media vs. education. Today’s news concerns a UK report on Facebook and teachers and a head teacher who has cautioned on the dangers of social networking site for teachers.
We recently told of a teacher who had mocked a student on Facebook but it’s worth remembering that teachers can end up on the wrong end of social networking too. Mike Welsh, head of the Goddard Primary School, and also the outgoing head of the National Association of Head Teachers points to examples of social networking sites being used to “maliciously to abuse and denigrate teachers,” according to BBC News.
One of his staff members for example had a Facebook account set up in his name and took two months trying to get it taken down. The site had a photo of the teacher concerned and was use to post completely inappropriate messages. At a recent National Association of Head Teachers’ conference in Brighton, heads came together to discuss internet abuse and the NAHT states that 20% of head teachers have suffered abuse from social networking sites.
A spokesperson from Facebook though said, “These online discussions are a reflection of those happening offline. But while you can’t report a conversation outside the school gates or easily stop a person sending abusive, anonymous emails, Facebook have worked hard to develop reporting mechanisms that enable people to report offensive content they are concerned about,” and pointed that there were more controls on Facebook than on the wider web. What are your thoughts on the use of sites such as Facebook and education? Let us know with your comments.