Thursday, November 28, 2013

Using Social Media: December's Stepping Stones

Social media in the art class is a very tricky thing to work with.  There are plenty of positives, such as promoting your curriculum, promoting the school, and meeting others in your field.  You can use Facebook for sharing project ideas with art teacher groups, Twitter to share links and photos of projects and art education articles, Google + for hangouts with artists, and much more!

On the negative side, you need to be extremely careful about sharing students' photos and works of art publicly.  Many parents would be extremely upset if you shared a photo with their child that they were not aware of.  Social media is a tool that requires heavy responsibility, which could cost you your job if misused.

What do I have to do to protect myself and my students?

But as said in the Spiderman movie, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.  Before taking any action of promoting your program in your room or on a cart, take the steps to protect yourself and your students. 

In the beginning of the school year, parents sign forms to approve or deny any video or photography of their children for school events or local papers.  In my schools, once we gather all the forms, we have a list of students who can or cannot be photographed during that school year.

With that said, you can begin documenting (but be careful of adding student names).  Take every precaution in protecting the student's full identity. 

During open house, inform parents that you photograph as well to promote the art program.  Be open with the parents.  If need be, send out a second form for yourself to inform parents of your intentions.  Tell them of any sources you may post, such as Artsonia, your blog, Twitter, or even your website.  If you present at conferences, even discuss how photos are used to share projects and curriculum with colleagues to improve professional development.

In December's issue of Arts and Activities, I focus on the pros and cons or using social media in the art room.  Since I am elementary based, I focus more on teacher usage, although I have heard of high schools using it for students as well.

Click for the article in Stepping Stones: Using Social Media, or more my original post in Tales From the Traveling Art Teacher!

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