29. May 2015 · Comments Off on OLTD 506 – Special Topics – Social Media · Categories: OLTD 506 Reflections


Evidence: Academic Paper (Sept 21, 2014)

OLTD 506 Learning Outcome addressed:

Develop understanding of:

  • functional contexts and restraints
  • employment considerations
  • privacy tensions
  • BC legal context
  • school policies and procedures
  • professional ethics

Analyze the BC educational context for social media use

Reflection to Support Evidence:

Social media is a means for society to communicate with each other. For my first major assignment in OLTD 506, I examined how I might use social media within the boundaries of digital footprints and professionalism, privacy, social justice and safety. The evidence piece, my summary academic paper, was built using a series of blogs I wrote as I progressed through my learning of each boundary.

While researching for this paper, I was able to solidify my understanding of what social media really was. Initially, I had seen social media as simply a tool, but I came to understand that social media is broader than that; it is a combination of content, community and digital tools. While I understood the importance of managing my own digital footprint, I was not familiar with the requirements under the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and my responsibility to ensure that I inform my students (even as adults) of potential risks to their privacy. In addition, choosing to use social media as a learning tool means that I must ensure all students have equal learning opportunities, regardless of whether or not they can afford the tools or access to the Internet.

Understanding issues around social media, such as functional restraints, privacy and policies and procedures, is important as an online educator. Policies and procedures may vary from one school district or post-secondary institution to another, and educators must be aware of their applicable policies when implementing social media in the classroom. Some social media tools may not be allowed or approved for use in certain educational institutions based on their privacy policies. As education professionals, we are held to a code of ethics that requires we protect our students privacy and safety. As I develop more online content for my blended courses, I will ensure that I choose tools that minimize risk to student’s privacy and that I am meeting my obligations under FIPPA and my institution’s policies and procedures.

Stewart_Charlene_oltd506_BoundariesPaper edited

Evidence: Resource Package containing suggestions for activities, consent forms and assessment of privacy risks for the mindmapping tool ‘Coggle’ (Oct 14, 2014)

OLTD 506 Learning Outcome addressed:

Develop emergent expertise with at least one social media tool for education.

  • Develop 2-3 developmentally appropriate activities for tool
  • Develop ‘useable’ permission form for tool use in BC K-12 school
  • Create content for student and parental training to address tool use and management of risks; or create incident response chart
  • Share resources with the field

Reflection to Support Evidence:

For the second major assignment in OLTD 506, I created a Resource Package for the digital mind mapping tool ‘Coggle’. This resource package was intended to supply instructors with enough information about the tool so that if they wished they could use it in their classroom with minimal extra research. The Resource Package provided:

  • three possible activities using Coggle
  • an analysis of relevant VIU policies regarding student conduct, technology use and privacy and how these policies may influence how the tool is used by students as a classroom tool
  • a student consent and user agreement form outlining identifiable privacy risks of the tool
  • a completed Planning and Tool Risk Assessment Worksheet (created by OLTD 506 instructor, Julia Hengstler)

Creating this resource package helped me realize how important it is to be aware of what policies should guide my assessment of a social media or other cloud tool. As I teach at a post-secondary institution, my guiding policies were somewhat different than those of my cohort that teach in the K-12 system, but the underlying principles are the same. It is important to ensure all students have a safe learning environment where their privacy is protected. I now understand what information is necessary to share with parents (or in my case the students themselves) prior to asking them to use a tool. The Planning & Tool Risk Assessment Worksheet prompted me to discover information about my chosen cloud tool that I had never before considered investigating. Understanding where to find cloud tools privacy policies, what personal information is collected and where it is stored, and whether privacy settings can be adjusted are all important pieces of information that can help determine whether or not a tool is appropriate for my students.

Social media tools can be ‘flashy’, trying to entice users with various bells and whistles. As an online or blended teacher, it is important to develop appropriate activities for any tool you wish to use, rather than let the tool guide how it will be used in an educational setting. If the tool does not fit the activity or learning outcome you wish to achieve, then a new tool must be chosen. When using social media tools, teachers must ensure that the parents (or adult students) have been informed of privacy risks and have given their consent. Knowing how to create a useable permission form for use in your classroom, as well as being able to share that resource with other educators, whether within your own school or your larger personal learning network, helps contribute to a socially responsible teaching community.

Coggle Resource Package Submission