In our most recent article on the Scientific American guest blog, we discuss educators using Twitter for professional development purposes and how important it is to be involved in this conversation.
However, is understandable that many schools may be a little wary of their teachers blogging and posting on Twitter. After all, even more than something like Facebook, these things are completely public. In theory, parents, students, and the whole world can see what is being written.
That being said, when you are an educator, it is implicit that you are going to need to follow some rules when interacting in a public forum--whether it be personally on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., or professionally on any of those sites.
1. Never ever say anything negative about a particular student, parent, teacher, administrator, etc. (duh, but you know, sometimes these things need to be said. :)
2. Don't use names, work, or photos of students or parents without permission
3. Make sure that your tone is professional--always remember that anyone may be reading this
4. Never say anything you wouldn't want your boss or a parent to read
5. Despite personal feelings, try to keep your tone neutral on political or other hot-button issues
6. Personal stays personal (Obviously on Facebook you can be personal if you've set your privacy settings so only friends have access, but even then, always keep in mind rule 4.)
7. Remember you are a role model-- The transcript of this Slate podcast discusses a teacher tweeting "inappropriately," but also raises the question about what teachers' roles are in social media...interesting read/listen.
Really if you just remember rule #4 you're probably fine. :)
Don't let the public nature of social media keep you from sharing what works in your school or classroom with other educators! The world of teaching and learning is only getting more open and transparent--it's important to stay current.