Everyone is tweeting and today’s TV networks and social shows are no exception. They regularly invite audiences to tweet comments in an effort to offer engaging and interactive content. Sounds innocent enough. Unfortunately not everyone THINKs before they TWEET. A recent incident is a classic example. TSN was forced to issue a public apology yesterday after it broadcasted a rude and malicious tweet that reeked of sexting. (The damaging tweet was part of a scroll of tweets appearing on the screen during a hockey draft deadline telecast. Somehow the tweet slipped past it’s censor controls.)
A wakeup call for everyone!
Those of us in the education business have grappled with social media issues for some time. Our students are way ahead of us in their expertise with technology and it has been enough struggle to keep up with the technology, let alone develop guidelines and protocols. But this incident is a poignant reminder of how important it is for us to teach students to THINK before you TWEET! Once it’s out there…it’s there forever! It’s part of a digital footprint that doesn’t get washed away.
The Ontario Ministry of Education recently revised its Health and Physical Education Curriculum, and has received a lot of heat for its very liberal (pun intended) views. However, the revision does address many potential online risks, including that of ‘sexting’. A ‘Quick Facts for Parents’ part of the document, assures us that “learning about using technology responsibly and safely is part of students’ learning in all subjects and courses” (www.edu.gov.on.ca). In light of this recent incident, this revision at least is definitely needed.
I think that social media tools are a definite asset in today’s classrooms. What better way to engage our 21st century learners after all? I do hope teachers will continue to leverage these tools in spite of the challenges associated with them. We need to be diligent in our efforts to teach safe protocols and ethics guidelines–at every opportunity.
Thankfully there are many resources available to help us and I have listed several here.
In the meantime, please, THINK before you TWEET! ( Would make a great classroom poster, don’t you think?)