The German state of Baden-Württemberg is the latest to see a ban on social media go into effect for teachers trying to communicate with students and coworkers. Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein have already put similar bans into place, but the topic has some questioning whether it is appropriate, in today’s society, when students rely on the networks to keep informed.
In some schools, teachers have found value in using sites like Facebook and Twitter to send reminders or notices to students and to communicate with other teachers regarding school matters. Germany’s ministry of culture claims that this could put students at risk and presents privacy concerns. Selman Özen, the head of Baden-Württemberg’s schools’ advisory committee, told DW that it’s “high time the culture ministry tackled this issue… Kids shouldn’t be made to sign up for social networks, just so they take part in school activities.”
While it may seem awkward for teachers to become “friends” with their students, social networks like Facebook have made it easy to create groups or pages that would allow teachers to communicate with students who choose to opt-in without ever becoming “Facebook friends”. Instead of stapling notices to a classroom bulletin board or sending out mass emails, teachers have found that social media is a less formal and less complicated means of communication.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on the issue. Do you think schools should accept the social media age we are in and allow teachers to communicate with students, or do you agree with the restrictions put in place in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, and Schleswig-Holstein? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.