The Implementation of a Social Media Policy that defines acceptable use for employees in Education
This research dissertation is my original work and has not been presented to any other examination body. No part of this research dissertation should be reproduced without my consent or that of the institution.
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Table of Contents
Research Topic ……………………………………….….2
2.0 Literature Review…………………………….……..…13
3.0 Research Methodology ……………………….….…..39
4.0 Data Analysis ……..……………………………….…42
5.0 Results and Discussion …………….………….….….49
6.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations……. …62
The main purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate ways in which the human resources in education sector can effectively implement a social media policy that is workable and which can form a basis for acceptable use in social media sites in the respective workplaces to safeguard students and the education system at large.
In the 19th century, such an issue would be irrelevant, but revolution and evolution of the technologies of the 21st century have necessitated this as a way of adopting change and transforming our workplaces. Professional and personal utilization of social media in the education sector workplace should not compromise effectiveness at work, bring disrepute into the sector or imply education`s sector individual staff`s personal views as a representation of the entire staff. Further, disclosure of confidential information and breach of privacy are other major concerns.
Well-formulated and implemented social media policies encourage the staff members or the stakeholders to take responsibility in their activities, aims and objectives in the sector. The social media policy should seem to be in conjunction with the education sector`s overall corporate policies. This dissertation will also look into alternative educational sites that learners as well as educators can use to quench their need for use of social media in the workplace. Also it will outline the numerous ways in which social media has been beneficial to both teachers and students and various places of work and learning.
A social media means and include any website used to publish information to larger group instantly. By the College Board and Art & Science Group (2009) the information shared may include personal information, views, ideas, opinions, commentaries, research or education information. Examples of such social media tools include the Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedln. Blogs, special interest forums, users’ communities are also considered as social media in this internet world. Social media provides the education employees access to a vast amount of information across the globe for interaction and research. Education facilitators have a right to be secured in there accessibility of the internet information to abide with the legal requirements in their work (Hooghe, M. et al. 2010).
A Social Media Policy is a plan, a guideline or a regulation that the Human Resourses puts in place to control the social media users when posting and accessing any information from the website. Acceptable policies of social media in the education system provide employees with a clear guidance in its use(Jackson, 2012). The guidelines define where, how, when and by whom the internet services offered in the institution may be accessed. In the education sector, the human reassures team designs appropriate practices and usage policies that control content posted and accessed to safeguard the students especially those below the age of 18 years from abuse by teachers (Luis Ramos, 2009). The implementation of such social media policies that defines acceptable usage becomes more responsive to employee allowed for its use. It incorporates the employee feedback to the organization and safe the general look by the community it is operating. Social media tools may enhance education employees to engage in incitement very fast, organize boycotts, demonstration and spread illegal information that may taint the name of the institution concerned if there are no policies put to control such behavior from the employees (Jiang, 2010).
On the other hand, social-media facilities enhance creation of awareness of the kind of education offered or provided by the institution. It helps the employee to develop information and communication skills which are necessary in education environment. For effective and efficient learning, social media policies need to protect the employee from getting into the wrong hand of the law apart from the obvious school rules and regulation. Such policies vary from one institution to the other depending of the level on learning, student maturity and legal requirements concerning internet use. Kennedy, & Macko, (2007) denotes that for responsible use of the internet and social media sites, human resources team of educational institutions considers the following factors when drawing the social media policy that is acceptable in education set up:
In the education system, most acceptable policies limit users from accessing sites that in their opinion contain adult materials, incitement speech, violence, phonographic contents and many more that is not consistent with the education offered. Other policies restrict employees from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which may serve as a distraction to its management and general running of education. As the social media publishes legitimate educational and personal content, it also contains inappropriate content at the place of work including nudity, sex, violent attacks, drug abuse and even gambling. This same inappropriate information found to the wider Web is also available within the social media accessible to employees in education sector. Therefore, these inappropriate content needs not to be accessed or exposed to education employees while they are on duty or when they are using the school resources. Such employees should be kind and considerate enough to students and working mates in the same environment when deciding the content that is acceptable and appropriate at the school. Above all, the education sector ought to employ human resources staff to control, remind, audit, edit and enforce the policies employed to govern the use of social media.
Social medial policy defines individuals authorized to use school internet resources. Many education systems ban employees, students, parents to the student and the public from using the internet. Sometimes the education system recognizes that their employees need to use social media in educating while they are at work or using the school resources. Therefore the human resources in schools need to allow the employees controlled access to non-education social media content for instance to access personal accounts communications applications like emails. It should be up to the employee’s responsibility to ensure that the personal business does not in affect the quality of work in education at all. This policy must be consistent with education guidelines provided in the wider perspective and should be monitored by the technical control staff charged with the responsibility of implementing this policy and regulating the behavior of these education employees.
- Privacy and confidentiality
This forms the basis of social media policies to ensure compliance with acceptable use in educational policy. The main purpose is to safeguard the education and control the kind of information student gets from the staff. Individuals authorized to use the internet resources provided by the education system providers are informed that the activities in the internet are monitored. Only those authorized by the school on employee sponsored social media are designated to use the internet. Anything an employee develops writes or creates while at the workplace or using the work resources belongs to the school and therefore they are not required to look into their personal files. The employer is entitled to read employment documents and see what is related to work. An employee is not supposed to publish or disclose the email addresses of another staff member or student without that person’s consent (Meier & Patrick., Nov 2011). It is not acceptable for one to reveal personal information including names, photographs, and even telephone numbers.
When publishing information at the web sites education employees are expected to indicate that the views shared belong to themselves alone and not the opinion of the school they are working for. However, when using the education sites or resources, their larger population may assume that the employee is speaking on behalf of the school.
When an employee is on the educational or school blog every person is watching what he or she writes. What may look fun to one may offend the other party and therefore one is required to remain polite and respectful enough when using the social media.
When linking the education to employee’s blog it should indicate that they are their employers and not a client. Employee should be careful from misleading the readers.In case an employee goes beyond the procedures laid, the school has the prerogative of freezing that employee’s account and remove any offensive materials from social web site (Zupek, 2009).
Acceptable Social media policies are meant to fit the following best practices in education workplace:
- Benefits the social being of other employees, colleagues and the students.
- Suit the social environment upon which the employees are working in.
- Develops the employee behavior that gives the clear picture of the kind of education offered in the system.
- Be able to measure the results of education by the end of the course by influencing the right behavior patterns among the employee and the students who are the prime beneficially.
- Exhibit valuable ways in the use of social media that could not negatively impact the education system and the students at large.
Characteristics of Social Media
- Social media provides an access to a wider range of information, resources, opinions, facts and issues. The access is instantaneous in the internet and thus saves time in exchange of information and ideas. Through the social media several issues can be uncovered which would have been impossible through the traditional means of gauging the public opinion.
- Social media has a very strong connectivity between the users. With this characteristic, it has become very easier than ever to share breaking news, incite a social discussion and exchange views in real-time to a massive audience regardless of the distance between the internet users. Twitter and Facebook social media tools for instance, have only four degrees of separation between the users (Yang, 2009).
- Social media has reduced online anonymity. People need to become more careful of what they post on the site as the real life is moving to the online world. Internet anonymity are now more careful in expressing there opinions to avoid posting any content that they will held responsible.
2.0) Literature review
Social media is making a considerable impact on education systems resulting to change on the delivery of information in academics. Social media provides an avenue to reach out to other academicians and build collaborative relationships. However, it may turn out to be an avenue of students abuse especially those under 18 years by the education employees especially teachers and administrators. Hence, the lack of social media policy and usage guidelines is set to emerge as a critical problem (Armstrong, 2008). This is due to the insurmountable barriers and driving forces in the external environment. It is also evident that rigid education administrations and conservative employees only compound the problems. However, some academic librarians are creating programs for their users, social media being a catalyst for innovation.
According to O’Connor and Au (2009) for the education employees to survive the strong waves of social media and prosper, the continuous alignment of its strategic direction with the demands of the environment is vital, especially when the speed of changes is rapid, and the scope, extensive.” The adverse use of social media qualifies as rapid and extensive change. The challenge to education employees especially teachers is weighing the brunt of social media tools on the improvement of information behaviors. Gordhamer, (2009) Academic research does not simply involve searching the internet and interacting with other scholars. Social media has substantial potential to affect how educators and scholars relate and communicate. More so it influences both negatively and positively education systems hence the need for the human resource to implement policies which will govern the education employees in the usage of social media to protect the students against abuse.
According to Stein (2009) any student enrolled or receiving educational services currently or formerly enrolled or a student need to disclose his her current status when publishing any content in regard to the institution. The legal parent, guardian or relative caregiver of a student under the age of majority need also to know the kind of information the student is accessing. The above measures are provided by human resource to protect the students from exploitation by the employees in education set up.
Another policy that human resources implements to control the behavior of the teachers and the subordinate staff employees in the educational system is that employees shall not allow any student to have accesses to his or her personal account and shall not contact with student maintained personal account unless the student is a member of the employee’s immediate family. Any employee shall not publish or distribute any personal account (Paglia, 2010).
Companies are working hard to understand and develop ways of how to monetize social media (Dan Gratin, 2009). This is the key for any educational system or school to sail successfully with the treats of social marketing. The social media guidelines enables the school to achieve it vision and mission in building an upright society with a respectful social behavior. A ‘water stones’ employee was dismissed when he blogged the companies web site and mocked his “sandal wearing” manager whom he nicknamed “Evil Boss” (Waterhouse, 2011). The same way the education employees’ who uses the social media network to abuse their bosses forgetting that their bosses use the same social media can be penalized. Human resources shall monitor employees who use social media to defame the schools by implementing policies that discourage such behaviors. Waterhouse (2011) wrote that many employees use the media to impart wrong or unacceptable information to students for example in regard tosses, violence, and cyber crime among others. He further argued that those employees react in such a manner because they have no policy to govern their behavior. This has led to many institutions failing to achieve its goals. Students are mobilized to act as perpetrators of violent acts in schools leading to destruction of property, boycotts and student strikes. Human recourses must thus intervene to help solve the problem by implementing policies that are acceptable for use among education employees to safeguard education.
Research done by Landa (2010) denotes that Social networking tools are widely used by many organizations where education sector is inclusive to increase collaboration and brand organization that also reduces the production costs. He further states that it is only the acceptable use of social network policy that has not been widely embraced in the work to nurture social behavior and the end results of the media users. There is a vague interest in many companies concerning social media policy to control the social behavior of the employees. Human resources in Schools have to implement social media policy for the same reason they implement acceptable use policy for school equipments. From the corporate point of view, the schools will be protected from any possible lawsuits, from inappropriate or damaging information dissemination.
Social media policies should be developed to provide protection of the school, agree with the experts and stakeholders. Such policies should also encourage the education employees to use school internet resources for participating in the social network to educate them but doing it safe and in appropriate ways acceptable in education (Meraz, 2007).
According to the research, conducted by Frost and Sullivan on organizations’ social networking policies, depicted that many companies promote, encourage and motivate some employees to use social media (Wengroff, 2011). Through this, the companies expand the network to reach their customers through their employees. However, the employees are not provided with ethical policies on how they should relate with each other by using social media. This leads to many disputes witnessed in workplaces among the administration and employees. Likewise, in the school setting, the employees advertise the name of the school and share with other employee’s matters concerning the school through social media. Often social media sites bring controversy between administrators, teachers and student when there is no proper implementation of legal perspective to guide the social network sites. This calls for human resources in the education set up to formulate and implement social media policy that is acceptable for use. When properly designed social media policy will highlight what should and what should not be done to protect the school’s form of education imparted to the students. Internet use guideline balances between the progressiveness of the education and protections in the learning institution. Social media policy should be focused on protecting the interests of educational employees and safeguard students especially those in elementary level against abuse from teachers and other education administrators.
2.01) Designing Social media policy guidelines
In designing an institution’s social media policy, the human resource must focus its role in the education sectors’ relevance and impacts to social development. McKee (2011) provides that human resources in education sector, when designing a Social media Policy that is acceptable for use may use the following guidelines;
- The human resources in education system should identify the purpose of the school social media policy. They should write this in the policy document and display it to all employees intended to use the social media. The main focus is teachers and the protection intended from the policy to students.
- They should identify who will read the social media policy document for instance, does apply to full time or part time staff.
- The social media policy should integrate with the overall policy manual in education to avoid developing a document in isolation. Work with the human resources and legal departments to ensure that it is part of the employee process.
- The social media should be practical for the employee to know what they can do and cannot do when accessing the internet resource.
- The employees should be reminded that whatever they publish in the social media is permanent and there is no way they can delete the content from the site.
- The guideline should include the glossary of terms and links to other educational sites that highlight social media policy development.
- The education system should establish goals define its objectives in both short term and long term for engaging employees in the social media. It should promote awareness the use of the sites in increasing searching ability of educational materials, encourage the use of word of mouth, or spread good news and information that could help in the education system. Anything that could impact negatively the reputation of education must be discouraged.
- Developing the social media policy should start by accessing the employees, their communities, their departments, their use on internet in social media and their level of involvement with education competitors.
- Making postings personal relevant to education, timely and meaningful in the content intended to be accessed by the employees. Meaning information that could enhance the positive learning, employees can be encouraged to network it to their colleagues.
- Education should involve the employees through engaging them in polls and contents by posting them in the social media. Employee participation attracts conversation among themselves as well as the educational followers.
- Reward education employees for participating in the school based sites through contests, and promotions for their involvements for sharing with others in social sites. It promotes exchange of material, enhances research in education, share valuable ideas and development in the wider perspective.
- Education system should create timeframe for its employees to use the social media in a more relevant, meaningful and respectful manners.
- Protect the educational brand by creating the URL and become smart in the privacy and the school’s confidential information (Steve, 2009)
The above policy guidelines in the education system govern what one ought to or not to do when accessing the social media content. They may apply to publishing information in the social media whether the information published is personal or school- sponsored. Education employees should be responsible for any content they publish in the social media and they can be held fully personally liable for it even if even it did not originate from them. These employees also can be subjected to disciplinary actions by the education system for publishing inappropriate information or confidential information that can prejudice the image of the education system (McKee, 2011). However, these policy guidelines only cover a section of the possible content publishing scenarios and can be used when structuring the best one depending on the educational objectives.
2.02) what an education employee is supposed to know when using the social media
Every education employee should know and adhere to privacy and confidentiality regulations as stipulated in the education system or school employee handbook involved. All rules and regulations in the handbook, including laws as fair use, copyrighting and financial disclosure rules are applicable in the social media (Lauby 2010). Again all employees should not disclose or use confidential or proprietary content or that of any person in the school. For example, before posting someone’s picture in the social network one must seek permission from the person involved or even publishing in the blog the conversation that is meant for privacy. In addition, employee should not give any commentary on confidential financial information, educational performance or future education plans when not authorized. Further, employee should not cite or refer to any staff, student or parent in relation to school operations without their permission. When communicating through the social media employee should identify themselves and shun from using anonymous or false screen identifications in the education to safeguard education system and students.
Another social media policy that education employees should embrace is that they should be professional. Once they are connected in the social media as education employees, their published information is shared to their colleagues, school administration, students and as well as parents. The content published by such internet user should be consistent with their work at the education sector. Kolowich (2011) denotes that when publishing any report on conversation that is private, internal or confidential, education employee should seek permission from the department concerned and even when there is any doubt before the content is posted in the website. When engaging in the social media communication an education employee should speak in the first person. This puts it clear that the employee is speaking on him/herself and not on behalf of the education system or school, which is providing the internet site. When publishing personal information through social media, an education employee should use a disclaimer. If it has anything related with the work the he/she does or any subject associated with the kind of education offered, should use a disclaimer such as: “ The postings published on this site remains to be the work of my own and do not in any way represent those of the education or school where I am employed”. The human resource in education should ensure that when education employees are indicating any reference to the school, administration, colleague, student or parent they do it by linking back to the source if permitted to do so.
Another policy measure that the employees in education should consider is that when communicating or publishing any content in school-based website they should be aware of their association with the education. Furthermore, when identifying themselves as education employees, they should ensure that their profile and any related content are consistent with how they could wish to present them with education colleagues and students.
One should use the best judgment and analyze in mind the consequences of what is published in the social media communications. When one is about to publish something that make the slightest bit of uncomfort, he/she should review the suggestions made above and think about it in the wider perspective. If still unsure whether the publication is related to education or not, he/she should feel free to discuss with the administration first or do away with publishing it. One has the sole responsibility for anything on the blog or publishes in any form of social media and more especially when related to the kind of education offered.
Acceptable social media policy should warn Education employees to avoid using ethnic slurs, personal insults, hate speech, obscenity or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the education workplace. Each employee should not conduct confidential school businesses with a student, stakeholder, parent or any other person whatsoever using personal or other social media.
Finally One should not use the school names in registering any account in the social media or use other unregistered or registered school names.
Education system should employ a technical control staff to monitor social medial publication with his employees, provide reminders and enforce guidelines in its use before getting out to the larger population.
Online Crime Malware Prevention policies
Online criminal community commonly used the social media communication applications to deliver malware design schemes that damage the education or steal confidential information. Criminals also use the media to spread rumors, false allegation about the kind of education offered by the school for their joy to see the collapse of the education system to minimize such related risks and threats, the education policy can adhere to the following guidelines that may help to reduce all the possible threats and may not help to make a comprehensive educational judgment to the employees (Kolowich, 2011).
According to Bruns, Axel, Jean Burgess et. al. (2011) Employees in education should not use similar passwords for social networking when accessing education-computing resources. They should not follow social media link pages posted by individuals or organizations not known by the user and should not download any material or software posted or advised by a group or organization not known by the user. This is intended to safeguard the employees profession in case one uses the site to publish false information.
Finally, education Employee should use security application to protect their personal publications and school social media sites. In case an employee finds any content on any social media networking that appears to be suspicious in any kind should close the page and not to go back to such pages. The technical control may think that the said employee may be the publisher of such information and stiff decision made against the employee who may be the wrong person. It would be very difficult to isolate the employee if the employee stays long on the pages that may contain the prohibited information. The above discussed policies form a basis for the acceptable use of social media tools in education set up.
In the human nature, gossiping is part of the lifestyle. When writing, publishing and sharing any information one should make sure that the information do not in any undermine the education system. For instance, a photograph may look funny to one person if taken at the office party and use it in the social media, but to others the same may be offensive if in the photograph they look dumb (Bruns, Axel,Jean Burgess et. al. 2011). Implementation of social media policy that best defines the limits of social media usage in education set up will help solve many complications associated with social media in education setup.
One should not give all the details concerning him or her if asked since one can not know the one asking for whom they may be working for and why they are asking for such details. When disclosing this information one should be aware of which information to publish at the social media network. Some information may harm one, the employer and even the third party who are the students in this case (Haefner, 2009).
In the school context if a teacher needs to text or publish particular information to a student or a group of student or vice versa, the content must be related to the school learning business. Anything beyond that is not related will be going against the social media policy in education. Human resources must remain alert on this line to ensure that acceptable social media policy is implemented.
Content published in the social media should be the one nurturing the students to be good social being and not the one the may influence them to get involved in the social crimes. The content should also be able to build the student have a strong foundation as far as education is concerned the social media use by the employee will be the one preserving the culture, promoting knowledge and not drugging any into any act that is not acceptable (Haefner, 2009).
2.03 Social media usage policy in the school
Internet usage policy in schools indicates what is deemed to be acceptable and appropriate internet use behavior in the schools. The policy restricts the employees when publishing any information at the web sites for work related and non-related work tasks. Acceptable usage policy (AUP) ensures that the education employees are following guidelines that serve to protect their work environment and the information technology network infrastructure (George, 2006).
What an internet usage policy include.
The drawing of an internet usage policy for the school is typically the role of both the human resources department and the information technology department as it endeavors to protect both the employees and the information technology network. The Information Technology department also servesthe role to provide technical personnel to control and monitor the usage of the social media in the school. In this sense the collaboration of these two departments is very essential in ensuring that a comprehensive internet usage policy is drafted according to the needs of the institution and enforce them (Diamond, 2010).
The internet usage policies not to snoop on educational employees or limit their internet access rights to the internet whilst at work. however, guidelines and rules need to formulated and implemented to protect the education employees and students from being subjected to inappropriate content at the school environment that could result in legal consequences. Implementation on internet usage policy is also meant to educate the users about the web-borne threats and how irresponsible publication can result in to malicious packages that in turn can affect the whole network. The implementation of such rules needs to be elaborated for the education employees to understand the reasoning behind it (Andre’, Paul et al., 2011).
Coleman, R. et al. (2008) denotes social media tools usage policy differs from one institution to the other depending on the level of education and learning standards expected for the education offered. In some institutions the policies may give more access to education employees if widely used for research or publishing educational materials (Aron, 2011). Complete banning use of social media facilities may disgruntle employee to feel not trusted in the education system. Time controlled access to such sites that do not pose moral or ethical problems is likely to generate better internet usage results to both policy makers and the user in general. Messaging sites like the MSN Messenger may be blocked the authority because they are considered as time wasting and facilitates to download and uploads with little supervision. Therefore the education employee cannot be easily monitored when download or uploading such content at the place of work. There is a greater need to balance in order to maintain good relationships between the staff and management in education. However, the employees must be made aware that the provision of internet access at their place of world is a privilege and not a right and they are expected to abide to the acceptable internet usage policies.
Human resources should be keen on education employees who do continuously ignore the policies so that they ensure that they are reprimanded or action taken against them in order to understand that internet security is not something to be ignored or taken so lightly. Stiff penalties for improper usage of sites could be imposed starting from verbal warning, increase to a written reprimand, demotion and finally work dismissal (sample internet usage policy, 2011). Employees must understand the internet access has consequences and if ignored they must be ready to bear the consequences and even face legal actions.
2.04) Who should the social media policy apply to?
Social media policies would entirely cover all education employees who use the internet resources in the learning institution. However, depending to the level of the institution, terms and conditions may be different to specific groups according to the school infrastructure. Certain groups of employee may be exempted from certain clauses in the policy depending on their roles in education or hierarchical position in education. It may consider time available for the certain employees to engage in the social network in regard to their expected work responsibilities in education. In the same institution, some employees may have more access time that others due to the fact they have more time or their work responsibilities may require more time to use the social network. For where there are no extraordinary circumstances then the social media policy should apply across the board (Rojas, & Puig-i-Abril. 2009).
2.05) How to enforce the internet usage policy
In the education setting the social media policy should be drawn and all employees made aware of its existence, application, and its importance of monitoring employees needs to be automated by the web monitoring software to reduce wastage of human resources of assigning a technical staff to monitor internet activities of all the education employees (Zupek, 2009).The monitoring software on its advantage side will provide more efficient, effective and comprehensive reports and data since they can be accessed within a very short time when required. Any action to taken against any employee who violates the policy can be based on the reports provided by the software. For this to effective, such policies should be reasonable to the employees morale and retention to reduce staff mobility. Enforcing the internet usage policies does not imply turning the workplace into a prison but basically establishing acceptable boundaries that would not prejudice the education sector (Toepfl, 2011)
Social media policies protect the education data assets and confidential information while protecting employee and maintaining educational standards concerning the internet use during the working hours. Implementing the web monitoring software is a great investment to educational system in security and can limit the employee from cyber slacking or abusing the school (Aday, S. et al. 2010).
2.06) New technologies signify new learning
Over time, there has been no universally accepted definition of an effective social media security policy, a number of countries, good examples being from the Arabian region have progressively moved toward implementing these security policies. 45 percent of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) uses Facebook which has also gained much popularity among the urban youth and mid-aged. Social media policy outlines the steps taken by the government to address pertinent issues relating to account management, employee conduct, content management citizen code of conduct, privacy, security and many other legal aspects. These guidelines spell out the main aim which is to ultimately better the employee`s performance and being part to improving their output and deliverables (Paglia, 2010).
These policies further state that access to social media sites in their places of work shouldn’t be banned; rather, accountability of abuse in accessing these sites should be adhered to.
2.07 Social networking
Social networking can be referred as a technology with fewer evangelists because of its use as an instructional device. Myspace logged almost 46 million users in June 2006 (Albanese, 2006) outdoing Google. Facebook on the other hand surpassed its 700th million user in 2010. These sites allow the user to post comments, upload photos, videos, chat, blog and connect to their virtual friends with their profiles which they have to login first and then use. Their users cut across all demographics and age ranges, but users between ages of 9-17 represent a greater number than the rest (Howlett, 2002).
According to a recent survey done by National School Association (2007), 96 per cent of youth in this age range have an account with either one or two social networking sites where the on average they spend 9 hours a week. The most peculiar statistic of the survey is that 60 percent of the users use the site to talk about education and more than 50 per cent use it to talk about assignments and tests (schoolwork).
The critical aspects that define a social networking technology include: creating a login on the site which then sets the profile page where users can upload photos, videos and several other contents. The user can gain more interaction with the other user by becoming a “friend”, this enables friends on the social site comment on other friend`s profile, send a message, share photos, chat and create groups around a certain theme (Meraz, 2007).
Traditionally common social media sites like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, linkedIn and Bebo, have not been accepted fully in schools which are not sure on the safety of their students in using these sites and also the thinking that students will inappropriately use them. This has led to introduction of a number of alternative sites that provide teachers with a preferable venue to hold online classes. McClure, & Bertot, (2001), argue that these alternative sites include which employees in education can use and benefit their students educationally include:
Even though it was not created for the classroom, it is personalized and its privacy settings have been successful in education. Within NING teachers can create their own social network site. The teacher can disable or enable some features such as messaging and chat as preferred. A number of schools have successfully used this site and it has been credible in coordinating group projects (McClure, & Bertot, 2001). The human resources must be keen in this area since the teachers may take the opportunity to abuse the children or leak the exams.
It is a learning site which is more than just an imaginable social web space. It is hosted by the Oracle Education Foundation; its free services are set to be teacher-monitored, password protected and free from advertising. This site is equipped with project ideas and tools to aid in creating projects online where learners and teachers can work together. The site is highly controlled as it requires an application by the school in order to be given an account. Student activity behavior on this web is closely monitored (McClure, & Bertot, 2001).
It incorporates numerous components of traditional social bookmarking sites: hybrid social networking. It has a developed user profile, grouping according to interests etc. Its embedded tools that let the user treat the internet like his own personal notebook make Diigo special. Users can perform assorted tasks like highlight webpages, attach stick notes to a downloaded web page and share these with other users (McClure, & Bertot, 2001)
Sesame workshop the leader in primary education in the U.S who produced Sesame Street created PANWAPA- an interactive site where users venture into the world`s different cultures via characters and creatures that Sesame Workshop is known for. It has a teacher’s guide, activities you can print and online communities. This site balances between the social networking features and maintains to strongly support education (McClure, & Bertot, 2001).
As identified from the beginning it has been observed that the main characteristic of social networking site is creating a profile. Each user has to create his profile for his online identity in order to link with other users around the world. At this day and time this sites create a way in which learners and educators that have similar interests and different experiences can interact and bond (Wright, 2012).
These developing technologies have virtually connected people in ways that were unimaginable. Hence, capacities of individuals have plummeted because of collaboration of individual abilities in modern ways. The new methods of operating in the digital globe brings out new horizons and skills which are very important in every day`s life. Jenkins et al. (2006) wrote that these new capacities “almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom” (2006, p. 19).
2.08) Overcoming barriers in accepting the use of social media in education
Undoubtedly, we encounter numerous problems in implementing policies that would accommodate various technologies at classroom level. We also face these problems with the non-tech lessons. The simplest way to counter these challenges is to take time with these technologies before moving them into classroom levels so that eminent stumbling blocks can be overcome. In dealing with this issue of social media policy, obstacles are anticipated and teachers who are the employees in education need to learn from them and move on thus making them have experience to teach new people (Paglia, 2010)..
2.09 An effective social media security policy
Rethemeyer (2006) a human resources manger argues that in coming up with an effective policy, the following must be put into consideration:
- Policy control- they set agreeable behavior and standards of operation in accessing and using the social media sites.
- Training and awareness Controls-they offer knowledge on ways employees can utilize social media wisely to benefit the organization for example they train on policy, best practices and behavior.
- Acquisition controls- these enable the education sector to achieve secure and more confidential settings and also much more information control.
Having dealt with the above, the education sector has to ensure that it has in collaborated the main components for an effective social media policy. Some of these components are;
- Education and training
- Existing regulatory and legal requirements effected by social media
- Policy management reporting and monitoring
A) Education and Training.
Educating the employee can make the implementation of the policies easier and also reduce risk. The employees may not know the detrimental effects of giving out organization`s confidential information or in other times granting system access to outsiders e.g. hackers who use the social medias (Kolowich, 2010).
Some of the forms that outsiders try to use in gaining confidential data of users include:
- Pretesting- the attackers use an invented scenario and part of known data to convince the user to give in vital information for example social security number, date of birth e.t.c
- Phishing- sent emails that bear the name of a legitimate user (for example your supplier) seeking confirmation of information and issuing penalties for non compliance.
- Trojan Horse- malicious software that appears like a genuine application.
B) Existing regulatory and legal requirements effected by social media
The all time known acronym PEBKAC-Problems Exist Between keyboard and Chair definitely comes into sense in today’s new social media circumstances and numerous legal risks also make it essential for evident and manual policies (Kolowich, 2010).. These include:
- Discrimination reports: punishing and penalizing certain employees who in some cases post information that negatively affect the company`s image may lead to instances of discrimination claims.
- Defamation claims: the company may establish that certain information posted on an employee`s personal social site may have exposed it unnecessarily to its competitors, this may lead to employee dismissal or suspension.
- Regulatory breach: there are instances where the use and sharing of information on social media sites is regulated to a certain extent for example outlining what is appropriate and what is not.
- Confidentiality Breach: commonly occurs, an employee gives out too much information which competitors can take advantage of.
C) Policy management reporting and monitoring
Upon having the social security policies clearly defined, they will have to be revised regularly. Technology changes rapidly that is: sites, processes and capabilities. Brand new functions may be built as well as functions that may not have been covered by the policies (Kolowich, 2010).
The task of having processes in place to venture into new technologies and knowing what employees and customers are using is the work of the IT and marketing department and staff. They also need to know how these new sites influence the organization`s assets and resources. A good example here is geolocation which has new applications at least every week, this presents a challenge in developing a comprehensive policy that cuts across all its new developments hence the need for regular scrutiny and review (Linehan, Müller, & Cashman, 2005).
2.10) Developing the organization`s social media security policy.
Having come up with the major constituents of the organization`s social media security policy it has to be written, but first what risks the company faces must be understood. The threat assessment should figure out the organization`s tools and the websites the employees use for social media activities.
The major department involved in this task is the human resource, the other departments may be: Marketing, Customer Service, Legal, Business Development, Sales and PR. This team shall scrutinize each operational aspect of the organization`s social media strategy, come out with the best possible operations to attain organizational goals, come out with policies, implement them, and react positively with the vibrant organizational environment (Börzel, 1998).
The policies ought to be flexible and be updated half yearly because of the cyclic nature of the social media environment. Roles and responsibilities should be assigned by the group leader.
Evaluating Policy Response
Ensuring that policy violation does not occur needs to be done by the IT department regularly. Finding out employee violations can be easily be carried out by automated system processes, customer and public interactions that affect the organization brand over social media arena.
In policy violation cases and related mechanisms, a response process must be at work to monitor any kind of violation. If a violation has taken place, a definite process must be available to inform the appropriate authority (Raab, 2003). . A fast response is crucial to prevent the violation going viral. In dealing with a violation the following decisions are possible:
- Finding out the problem.
- Reacting to media clarification
- Finding out the level of employee culpability
- Putting in place changes to deter continued use of the access violation.
In conclusion, the organization`s social media policy is the pillar of all procedures and operations. Building it up is a difficult task because it has to accommodate new functions that numerous education organizations have not encountered earlier and needs constant review.
A major determinant here is how different sections of the organizations work collaboratively daily to attain optimal secure operations (Raab, 2003). .
2.11) Social Media in Curricula and Instruction
Technology and teaching have a reciprocal association. New emergent technologies forces teachers to understand and leverage these new technologies for use in classroom. Over time, many technologies have been introduced to learning environment which affect the social life, this necessitates for an appropriate action to incorporate these technologies into the classroom. The older social technologies serve the classroom undeniably well, but without them, still learning goals can be attained. In coordinating the new technologies which its vital component is social media should be given a chance (Jones, Ravid, & Rafaeli, 2004).
By using attitude and competence which are the main skills majorly that come hand in hand with new media we can penetrate into the education sector. The tagline media education and awareness has been referred as the cluster of the least knowhow learners need, to be granted full permission to access the media fraternity. Education about the media must be about Netiquette: being able to adhere to appropriate behavior when using the web and dealing with other users politely (Jones, Ravid, & Rafaeli, 2004), Another issue is safety whereby confidentiality and privacy, security and being cautions of getting scammed or hacked are the major concerns. The other area of education about the media is on taking measures to curb games addiction. Education about the media has been pointed out as major circular host for bringing up social media in schools (McNutt, 2006).. There are two thoughts that disagree with this:
- Mostly, social media are used in ways that are not flexible: learners adapt one-sided ways of behavior to interact on the web and have proven not to be effective or efficient over time.
- Students have exhaustively utilized Social media-blogging, Wikis, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, MSN etc in their free time and they rarely need more education on them.
An agreeable level between these two thoughts has to be made by teachers who are less exposed to social media. A most appropriate method to move from the past and present to the future is to get the experts and teachers to find out a set of ideas and subs-kills that would make teachers to approximate their learners ability level and construct compensation levels for them. The developed policy contains ways in which social media in regular education can be embraced.
Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and other several common social media sites do bring a particular notion in the mind when heard of and some people tend to think of them differently. Unlike most educators or teachers, most (nearly all) students have very concrete views about them therefore someone doesn’t need to be a youngster to understand these technologies or to use any of them (McNutt, 2006).
Research has established that many normal, mid aged, adult uses these technologies often. Someone can be 15, 30 or 55 but when he or she introduces himself to these social media sites he will realize that they are more than just entertainment (Campbell, & Kwak, 2010) . They cover as far as affecting the way we learn, think, work, live, and communicate with each other, mostly in the youngest generations- in classrooms and the others who have recently left class and the entire society. The youth mostly have been shaped by digital technologies; it has become part of them.
2.12) What do Social Media Contribute to Classroom Practice?
Entering the Classroom
In primary and secondary education, learning in a classroom is the most widely used. In what ways can social media get past this paradigmatic state? What is dealt with the social media is the employee`s and students` personal situation and lifestyle and a few social media address a group of employees. The few have claimed by “classical learning support systems” like Moodle, Blackboard and Sakai.. Social media engage students` as well as teachers` attention to real time and relevant issues like social, current events and job opportunities(Campbell, & Kwak, 2010).
In the eighties, cooperative learning achieved a lot, it is expected that social media will make a noble cause in the same respect at a time to come. It is assumed today that learning and social networking is ant ethical. It distracts learners and to a lesser extent teachers by increasing knowhow on social contexts and current events e.t.c. and making them want to know what going on around them (Boase, Horrigan, Welman, & Rainie, 2006).
Daily, learners and employees in education spend a lot of their time on popular social media sites such as Facebook or Myspace, World of Warcraft or Simcity, to others it may be thought as unwise use of time and energy (Blom-Hansen, 1997). In the real sense this kind of technologies- social networking, Digital Gaming and Simulations need to be seriously scrutinized and be determined what is really with them.
2.13) Schools in the Local Community and Economy
Throughout time schools have been places where collective learned persons are to impart knowledge to students. Learning institutions have transformed to places where youngsters encounter opportunities and threats of the environment. In developing countries, primary and secondary schools` social media usage takes a form that can be referred to as post-colonialism as the schools tend to emulate the western ways (Anderberg, 2006).
An entirely different way of dealing with it is to center education in rural schools so that the young people are ready to make the local village more productive. This can be clearly seen from schools that focus their curricula in making students utilize the web to learn how to transform and diversify their parents` agricultural businesses making them stay in their village hence commercially enriching it. The entire syllabus is objectively aimed at this goal, from sciences, mathematics, marketing and product advertising.
Briefly, social media is helpful to schools as it allows the real world into their classrooms, and thus makes students and educators equally ready for a more real, better future in the economies of their villages and communities (Ante, & Holahan, 2008).
2.14) Ways in which employees in education can use to make the social media policies workable in the workplace (classroom/school)
The social media technologies are being explored and expanded by educators, as this continues the educational fraternity will grow to get past the best possible practices with them. By Toepfl (2011) the following are the ways in which employee can use social media with the applicable policies:
- Engage with a colleague. With a friend, colleague or anew teacher in campus in a different department, bountiful benefits can be gained. Discuss about upcoming social media sites that concern you. Get to know ways to do things collaboratively and sharing personal events, this is a brilliant way to collect ideas and learn from else`s successes and failures
- Explore: take time playing with these technologies which include social media. Engage in local gatherings and also try out the social media sites e.g. create a Facebook account and use it with NING.
- Look for additional supports– show your interest to the Academic Technologist at your institution. They will help you with the resources to support your work.
3.0) Research methodology
This section highlights the methods that were used to achieve the objective set out. It highlights the procedures that were employed to attain information that was eventually used to compile the report. The research is meant to disclose the scope and the prevalent use of social media and how it can be incorporated effectively into the development of curriculum in educational institutions. It is also set to analyze policy that is already in use and how effective the policy are.
Primary research was majored in the collection of information needed for this research. Primary research entails collection of raw data from a number of sources. Among the tools, that were employed in the collection of relevant information included the use of questionnaires, use of telephone interviews as well as interviews in both formal and informal settings, and surveys. Among the challenges that we encountered were: lack of cooperation from our respondents sometimes we were accorded hostile reception in some instances we had to work at the pace determined by the respondents. This alone made the whole exercise time consuming. The costs that were associated with the research process proved to be a challenge. I was however fortunate enough to acquire first hand information that was relevant to the study.
This involved collecting research data that existed i.e. from journals books and the internet. This was less time consuming compared to the time I used to collect primary data. I however noticed that most of the secondary data did not amount to the information that I sought; as most of the information was not relevant. Incomplete information formed bulk of what I collected as only small studies pertaining to the topic at hand were disclosed. Information was in most case not timely. Taking to account that an explosion of social media has been seen over a remarkable short period, most of the early written materials did not anticipate this, with other writers exaggerating the effects that were to be seen.
The research strategy that was adopted was of great importance to the whole process. Clearly stating the methods adopted to answer the need for policy on the use of social technologies in educational institutions instead of facing them out entirely with reference to educational institution that successfully incorporated the use of social media technologies for the use of its employees and students.
The research was purposefully carried out by the use of Questionnaires. This was to achieve as many responds to the question that we posed. The use of questionnaires allowed as to access to enough information that allowed as to compare some of the response to see if they were in agreement or provided divergent views. According to most of the information were acquired we determined that there was a consensus that social media use for educators has the potential for better teaching methodology. However, many pointed out instances that social media technologies can be used and affect education negatively. Fifty education employees were supplied with questionnaires by hand delivery and were given two weeks to fill. Twenty subordinate employees in education were also given the questionnaire and finally two senior administrators of two schools were given the questionnaires to enable us collect the picture of social media in education setup.
These were used to compliment the questionnaires that we used. To understand the topic in depth was sought the opinions of the non-teaching staff to provide an unbiased view regarding the need and the use of social media technologies in an educational setting. Unstructured interviews were caried out to ensure that the responses were not restricted in any way. This in turn led to the collection of a wide range of information. One-hour in-depth interview was conducted on two high school principals of different schools. Five elementary school teachers of which three were men and two were women were also interviewed for 30 minutes each. Finally two non-teaching staff members were given an interview o f20 min each concerning social media usage and implications in education set up.
Research Validity and Reliability
The use of all avenues that would not compromise the information that we obtained was critical in the compilation of this research. All questions pertaining to the theoretical aspects are discussed in the literature review. The validity of the information is brought about by the collection analyzing and sampling of the information collected.
Data analysis and results
In order to achieve the objective of the research the on the implementation of social media policy that is acceptable for use in education employees the answers to the questionnaire were analyzed. The questions that were designed to find out which sex dominated in the use of social media among education employees revealed that female employees out weight male counterparts in the selected five schools. The questionnaire was handed out t employees of different age brackets. It was noted that the employees of age bracket 25-34 participated actively in the survey followed by age bracket 15-24 with the age bracket above being the least participated. It was found that elderly especially 45 years and above rarely use social media sites for networking. Three employees confessed that they have never used any social media site except yahoomail. The pie graph below demonstrates the analysis.
Phase one of the research was quantitative where online survey was conducted with more than 1000 educators including principals, librarians, and teachers. The results were as flows;
Qualitative and Quantitative Findings from online survey
Social sites add value in education since educators can share resources and any other information in building and creating professional learning to communities as well as improving communication at schools. Most school principals gave their opinion that social sites will improve the performance of communication s well as adding more knowledge to both students and teaching staff. Most of the teaching staff has got some knowledge and experience in use of social sites therefore those who have got this experience will be more advantageous than those who don’t have. Some educators who had joined social sites as well as those who have not have a deep and very strong preference of joining the networking sites that are dedicated for education. Most of them indicated that if schools could develop effective integration that is more appropriate to social networking then they would be required to expose several qualified educators to this field of technology. On the other hand, human resource consultants and professionals denoted that social networking has a great potential in improving communication at workplaces. From the survey human resource specialists indicated that social media offered employees with great opportunities when it comes to sharing of knowledge as well as for improving their learning opportunities. They also agreed that social sites provide them with great insights about their staff motivations as well as their characters and interests. But they insisted that asocial media policy is essential to regulate the education employee in the usage of social sites and protect the students against abuse.
Human resources consultants reported that Web 2.0 technologies, which include social bookmarking, blogs, wikis, social networks; mobile computing and online videos, had become more popular at workplaces therefore changing the way the current business world was working. The school principals denoted that it was difficult for them or teachers to communicate with fellow student since students are barred from accessing these technologies but when it comes to workplaces managers can instantly communicate with their juniors on these technologies. Some human resource professionals indicated that they pass instructions to other officers via twitter or facebook. Principals also accepted that they pass instructions to their fellow teachers using social sites but the main problem was that most teachers do not have computers in their work desks while those who own laptops leave them at their homes. Five school principals recorded that they have computers in their offices so they communicated to another principal in other schools using facebook and twitter.
Different school principals who were interviewed gave different opinions why they used social sites. Most of them indicated that they use social media for professional purposes. The principles who participated on the online discussion said that students have a very high degree of comfort as well as interest in social networking. They said almost all students had joined one or even more social sites. They gave an example of social sites such as facebook, tagged, my space and twitter as popular sites among the students. Most students were in facebook and the main purpose of joining this social site was for chatting and making friends out there. In the business world, human resource professionals mostly use social networking for developing their businesses as well as advertising their companies to become popular outside. 83% of the education professionals who were interviewed agreed that the main value of introducing social sites at schools was to improve communication. the school principals reported that they intended to introduce social networking at schools in order to express and share professional knowledge among the educators. However, they added that not all education employees were aware or had involved themselves in social networking. Nevertheless, the few who had not involved themselves in these social sites suggested that they were interested in signing up and knowing more about social sites as well as participating in any kind of education social sites may provide. The principals also indicated that most professionals joined social sites such as twitter and LinkedIn because they are the most used ones’ by the professional elites such as professors, lecturers, business people, politicians, human rights activists and so forth. The principles gave an opinion that educators will feel more comfortable by integrating web 2.0 new technologies with proper instruction. Most of them added that in many schools, some few teachers integrate social networking very well with instruction. Most principals also reported that hat many teachers had a keen interest in social networking.
There was confusion among the principals on the use of these two terms; social networking and web 2.0 technologies at schools. Most of them suggested that if introduced to the students it might addict them and prevent them from concentrating on other fields of academic. They see it as a major distraction from other academic lessons. On contrary, its not all human resource specialists consider social networking web 2.0 technologies to be introduced to the workplaces. Some of them feel that it is a major distraction to the company’s production. Out of all human resource, respondents 45% agreed that social networking would only reduce production levels in organizations. Majority of human resource specialists (69%) reported that their organizations or companies had no official social networking policies. However, the human recourses acknowledged that a social media policy would be important in regulating the usage of the social networking tools in schools. Of all the principals interviewed, no one had put in place adequate policies on the introduction of social networking tools in their school. This suggests that there is a need for establishing policies in schools that will help in facilitating proper use of social networking for only educational purposes. Some reported that they had no interest in social networking. This indicates that professional development to some of the teachers will be required. This will help in exposing those teachers to instructional applications related to this technology of social networking. On the side of human resource professionals, those who were asked on how in future they planned to extend or reduce social networking or other forms of web 2.0 technologies in their organizations 64% indicated that they planned to introduce and create content on web pages, blogs, videos for professional purposes. Others of about 57% reported that they planned to spend more time so as to maintain an effective profile that in a manner of social or professional network. When asked, the kind of communities their related organizations used 23% indicated external facing community and they gave an example of alumni communities, online user groups and facebook groups. Another group of respondents 34% indicated blended community, 7% indicated internal facing community like division and department communities. Some of the respondents 24% said they never used any kind of online community in their organizations. There were also reports by some principles that most of them use social sites to express as well as sharing information related to their contacts, idea, opinions, questions and solutions. They said that social sites are very valuable in expressing and sharing professional skills and knowledge among the educators as ell as the students. Some principles suggested that this kind of networking together with other online collaboration tools would improve and change the teacher’s minds on experience as educators due to greater professional communication. Some of the changes that would improve the student’s educational experience are improved motivation, connection creativity to real life learning and development of collaborative view of learning. Other principles thought that collaboration of social networking and online tools would help in making their schools quite more relevant to most students. All principals agreed that accessing social sites at school is not allowed to students but despite those regulations, they indicated that many students ignore those rules and use mobile phones to access internet and social sites. Some said that many students had been caught up with mobile phones at schools whereby when asked; the students said that they used them to communicate with their friends and parents at home as well as browsing internet while at classes. Some of the barriers that were mentioned by the principals as commonly affecting integration of social networking included lack of time for setting up systems that will develop professional practice and legal concerns about the need for proper monitoring.
The survey also indicated that among those who responded 61% of educators had already joined one of the social sites. Others even reported they had joined more than one social site. this finding indicates that a large percentage of educators were very much aware and concerned about social sites and will be interested in seeing introduction of social networking education at schools. The younger generations are the ones who make a large percentage in overall people who have joined social sites. Those between the ages of 18 to 35 make a 78% as compared to 65% of the ones ranging between 36 and 55. The older generation was not that much interested in joining such sites arguing that they belong to young generation. Those above 56 years and had joined social sites made up a 47%. According to the survey, Librarians were the ones most ranked as seeing the importance and value of social networking. They indicated that social sites helped in peer networking, promoting communications school wide as well as creating and introducing learning communities that are professional. Most of the principals said they saw the value of social networking in improving at the same time promoting communication among schools as well as sharing resources and information with other extended community educators. Principals compared to other teachers, used a variety of web 2.0 technologies for their needs and professional purposes. Majority of the principals reported that there was use of web 2.0 technologies among several students although it is blocked for all students while at school while majority of human resource professionals (57%) indicated that that they had adopted web 2.0 channels within the few past years. A high number of the human resource respondents said that they joined LinkedIn (75%) and others facebook (66%). In addition, 44% and 28% indicated that they used Google and twitter respectively. According to the findings of this survey majority of principals used social networking to communicate at the same time-share ideas with other colleagues while half of those who responded used it for professional purposes of developing teachers. Others indicated that social sites had become a useful tool when it comes to communication because it helped them to engage with local communities and the student’s parents at home.
On instructional implications, almost all principals agreed that there was a widespread use of web 2.0 technologies as well as social networking among the students so they suggested it would be better if all students were taught the appropriate boundaries of social interaction and other online contents that are not allowed for them. This will ensure proper use of internet or internet safety.
Discussion of Results
The value of social media policy in education set up
Majority of principles and educators see a high value for social networking as well as web 2.0 technologies in efficient education. This although has been facing different challenges due to professionalism, legal liabilities, privacy and confidentiality as well as time required in order to ensure implementation of social networking. Both principals as well as teachers also require greater and effective awareness and understanding of the social networking options that already existed. The awareness will help in collaborating with other wider channels, network of colleagues, creating and building some professional learning communities in schools, and incorporate these technologies into the school curriculum. The profession of human resources requires deep understanding and knowledge of any new technologies. Creating an awareness of social networking at work places improves communication and this will result to smooth running of all other organizational responsibilities since communication is very critical in all company structures.
In today’s culture social networking, sites and mainly facebook have dominated in promotion as well as demotion of education levels. Some educators argue that it has improved levels of education through easy exchange of communication as well as ideas and opinions while others argue that it has reduced education levels due to some negative contents that are being posted in these social sites nowadays. Some of individuals have deactivated themselves from the social sites claiming that they see no value in it while others have praised social sites for making it easier for to share his or her own opinions and some issues concerning some matters and in exchange getting solutions through the replies from other users. Some employees at work places use social sites to chat with their friends which are unbeneficial to the company. Social sites should be used for the benefit of the company like sharing opinions and views on how some kind of assignments should be carried out. Creating high quality contents also brands an organization positively. Some human resource consultants and professionals use social media in their processes of recruitment. According to human resource experts, 45% of employers use social media in their process of screening the candidates. There are also some social networking sites that are designed for educators. Example of such sites includes Classroom 2.0, Google for educators, edweb.net, ASCD community, Tea hade, Microsoft teacher’s network etc. These new networks will be beneficial to those in the teaching profession because by interacting on these sites will improve their understanding as well knowledge on that field. Some principals and teachers are already aware of these sites and they are using them for more professional networking and for building learning communities at their schools. They should also consider informing their colleagues in their teaching profession about those sites so that they too can be aware of them too.
There is also a critical need to promote these technological practices to the teachers and show them how effectively they can integrate these social networks into the school curriculums. There was a need for variety of models on how plans of the corresponding lessons and presentation of results could be carried out by others. Human resource professionals use social networking sites to communicate in businesses and have successively implemented policies, which govern their usage. Since business world has succeeded in so doing then also education employees can be controlled in their use of social media sites by implementation of acceptable social media polices. They have become a practice to them because they are proficient and aware of such technologies. Practice of applying these social collaborative channels will be needed for educator professional growth and development. Principals play an important role in to identify, develop and disseminate practices needed in the social technologies. This is very important because it enhances both teacher professional and learning development and classroom instruction. These networking technologies support professional learning communities and this leads to success of the school mainly by improved knowledge. An opportunity is also available for other different organizations such as teachers unions, education professional organizations, education companies as well as other non-organizations that focus on education matters to provide effective professional development as well as developing models and solutions for school educators. Human resource professionals are aware of the wide potential of social media technologies in improving their knowledge and experience. Finally, fom the data analysis and the findings it has been noted that education human resource professionals, principals and teachers support the implementation osf social media usage in the work place. However, they acknowledge that without regulations of acceptable use the sites may become destructive instead if being constructive. Therefore, implementation of social media policy that will define acceptable use of the sites is the only way forward towards achieving the good fruits of social media in education departments.
The need for an acceptable social media policy among education employees
Social media has become so prevalent in our culture and it inevitable. This new technology of communication is beneficial to education employees when used well but also destructive when used wrongly. The human resources in education set up have an obligation of developing a social media policy that is acceptable for use in education employees. This policy must protect the students against abuse from teachers and administrators (Anderson, 2009).. The policy must also safeguard education employees and education workplace. The reasons for needing a social media policy are similar to any other policy in the organization. Best practices for social Media are still evolving compared to other self-regulating fields that have set guidelines and procedures. Standards such as those of International Accounting Standards (IAS), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Information Security Management System Standard (ISO 27001) provide clear guidelines that inform on the course of action. Employees need guidelines, codes of conduct and acceptable use of social media.
Developing social Media Security Policy for Employees in Education
As educators continuously have to deal with budget cuts,social media is becoming a more attractive avenue for educators to administer their curriculum without much costs attached. Human resources have realized that social media has a much greater potential than was previously thought to posses. The challenge to social Media environment is the content of the information, the targets for outgoing communication and the recipients of the information(Anderson, 2009).
Implication of Social Media Policy for Acceptable Use for Employees in Education
The prevalence of social networking in both personal and professional communication, allows a number of possible issues to arise within a school context. These issues can be addressed by a school social media policy that incorporates guidelines for the use of social networking tools by staff and students. This type of policy will clearly state what staff and students can and cannot do in relation to social networking culminating in what constitutes acceptable use. It is important to include clearly defined guidelines on what is deemed confidential and proprietary information to enable library attendants to be clear as to what can and cannot be discussed, commented on, or published within an online environment (Anderson, 2009). With the wide application of social networking and its adoption by staff from all areas and levels across the school there must also be an emphasis on the role of every individual in representing themselves authentically in any online context and taking responsibility for what is written within a professional context.
In this digital world, opportunities for education are there like never before. Teachers using online tools are empowering student by taking part in their education. However, they may also expose them to sexual predators, inappropriate material and bullying or harassment by peers.
Teachers who are not careful with their use of the sites can fall into in appropriate relationships with their students. Incidences such as sharing inappropriate photos with students and vice versa are common in today’s digital climate (Anderson, 2009).
Sharing data is also a key aspect of attacks from both technological hacking as well as content perspective. Downloadable documents can introduce viruses Trojans etc. causing irreparable damage.
Benefits of Implementation of Best practices
Human beings have an innate desire to learn and explore. Social media has made it possible for people to explore these interests online(Anderson, 2009). There are many different cultures in the world, the world becoming a global village social media present so much opportunity to read content from different people and hear their perspective and providing one with a global outlook on matters education.
With its appropriate use, social media not only provides the opportunity to connect with people from different cultures but also to connect people with similar interests. This in turn can amplify passion on a subject matter and creates innovation in new areas (Anderson, 2009).
When Students engage with one another, they are more likely to learn better. Social media provides the same as it cuts down on isolation; as was recently seen when the University of Nairobi students were able to sit in on an engineering class from the MIT institute in the United States of America via Skype. This allowed for students to interact with the best of teaching practices from a very prestigious academic institution.
Social media tools provide a viable alternative to learning and can be accessed at the comfort of your own home. It allows people to remain anonymous, therefore making people feel more comfortable about asking questions they would otherwise not ask. Social media also provides users with much greater variety of courses offered, there are few restrictions i.e. physical proximity to your home.
Social media tools and networking sites encourage students to engage with each other, expressing and sharing creativity. This in turn enables them to establish enduring relationships that go beyond trading of digital content. Social media tools provide students with information about events that facilitates face-to-face encounters with other students. Such personal interactions are vital to creating and sustaining a sense of belonging(Anderson, 2009).
Using social media as a teaching tool provides students a natural collaborative element. Students critique and comment on each other projects and assignments, they work in teams to come up with content and can easily access each other and the teacher with queries or to provoke a discussion amongst them. This would go a long way in the business world and the job market, as they would be ready to work any group of people, as they are collaborative immediately.
Social media also provides an avenue for students with social challenges i.e. shy students, less popular students to engage freely in class activities providing good insights and asking good questions. These would make them valuable online to the other students and to themselves. This can only become a reality by taking the discussion online (Anderson, 2009).
Social networking sites help to reduce loneliness and improve a persons well being. People who have difficulty with conventional socializing techniques, such as those that suffer from Asperger’s syndrome and those suffering from other physically deterring ailments a great experience and benefits. In addition, are used to maintain relationships with people they meet offline.
Use of social media does not only incorporate technology into the students’ lessons, but will also help to develop the students in terms of higher order thinking (critical thinking), help students acquire problem solving skills, collaboration and global participation of the students as these will be incorporated into the their assignments (Anderson, 2009)..
Students to develop leadership skills from a low-level planning and organizing to activities that promote social change and democratic environment can also use social media. Fostering relationships at the community level with relative ease not necessarily requiring the financial muscle that seasoned politicians often poses.
With the implementation of best practices, oneis not likely to fall victim to attacks i.e. Learn of their responsibilities to prevent malicious activity and detect problems. It also reduces the risk of intentional or accidental information misuse (Anderson, 2009)..
Disadvantages of Social Media in Education
From the gathered information it was noted that social media has become a serious distraction to people’s academic studies. University students especially exhibit lack of concentration in and out of class due to easy accessibility of social media. Social networking sites have often been accused of exposing young people to inappropriate content and turning them into victims of cyber-bullying, breaches of privacy and, in extreme cases, even of sexual predators. Trust and privacy are therefore seen to play a critical role when considering using social media in the school context (Griffith and Liyanage 2008)
Social networks can be used for “plagiarism, cheating, harassment and other types of academic and social misconduct” (Anderson 2009). Overall, a picture of risk and danger emerges. As Selwyn (2009) notes, the internet can place children at risk of harming themselves and others.
Learning via social media shifts from collaborative to cooperative learning, from the group to the individual. Transparent information and cooperation among individuals foster the creation of personal learning environments in which participants wish to engage due to the potential benefits they can acquire.
Implications of implementing social media policy
Every company must have policies in place and a frame work laid out defining acceptable use of Social Media. Every organization needs to address policy guidelines to improve these process. The positive effects of social networking sites in education are profound. Students who are already engaging in social networking could benefit by incorporating into curriculum(Anderson, 2009). Utilizing teaching techniques that incorporate social media teachers are able to increase student’s engagement in their education, increase their technological proficiency, contribute to a greater sense of collaboration in the classroom and build better communication skills. Considerations that students should adhere to in the educational use of social media are to learn to distinguish the skills needed to locate information online and the ability to understand that information(Anderson, 2009). The use of social media to cultivate and demonstrate deep learning is possible but it requires the persistence of distraction, the surfeit of irrelevant information and the temptation to go of track.
Social technologies are here to stay. Educators and students should have multiple and purposeful discussions about social Media’s pros and cons this is because social media can enhance and impede student learning. It is important that students learn how to use social media in an instrumental way learning how to think deliberately about their use (Anderson, 2009).
Social media and changes in the policy environment in education
Social media in modern world includes web based and mobile technologies that are used to turn communication to the interactive dialogue. It is for social interaction and it has changed the way organizations, states, individuals and communities do communicate. Some sources of social media include twitter, you tube, linked in, my space facebook etc.
Social media is defined as a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate. It is probably easy to confuse social media with social news. This is because many people refer to members of the news as the media and which is so confusing because social news is not the same thing as social media (Anderson, 2009).
Characteristics of social media.
Social media characteristics are so many but important ones are;
- Provision of access to broader range of issues and opinions.
- It has stronger connectivity between different users. For example, social media makes it easier to share news and exchange social issues and opinions in good time plus attracting a large audience. Some international media houses and also social sites rely mostly on social media to channel their information.
- It has helped to reduce online anonymity in today’s world. Social media users are nowadays extra careful when expressing their ideas and opinions to avoid being held accountable.
Social media and its changes in the political environment
Social media has evolved more and more with organizations, politicians, business leaders, governments, activists, college and university students, lecturers etc. It is believed that social media has become a fact of life worldwide for civil society, governments, non governmental organizations, state parastatals, business companies etc (Anderson, 2009).
Restructuring inter-personal communication through social media has caused uproar in the political environment. This is mostly through:
- Increase in public participation. Most people nowadays are using social media sites such as twitter and facebook to express their political opinions to the relevant leaders. Some leaders are also using the same to communicate their political agendas and even for campaigns. A single tweet or a post on one’s facebook wall will attract a large number of people who may view the post and from the comments replied; one who posted it will be in a suitable situation to understand the views of the public.
- Change of communication from indirect to direct contact between government and its citizens. This is due to development of social websites because citizens are expressing their ideas directly to politicians and civil servants.
- It has enabled citizens to dominate public discourse through public opinion unlike in the past when only powerful people could control information.
Changes in the Policy making Process.
The process of policy making has been affected by changes in the environment to an extend that individual citizens can pressure the government using social media and even without the help of any intermediary groups.
Policy decisions will be expected to be more open sourced since the government will have to adopt people’s ideas and deliberate them using social media. Social media provides new channels of expressing public opinion therefore; governments will have to involve the citizens in the stages of policy deliberation.
Through social media the public is enabled to express their personal dissatisfaction concerning public services. Some workers in different ministries and state parastatals also pass out their grievances and complaints via the social sites. This also applies to governments and organizations because they also express their mission agendas to the public on social sites. Some are even making advertisements and they get quick feedback from the public.
Social media has got its political power. In fact it is believed that some liberals are planning on how they can bring it to an end. This is because the tools of social networking can make it possible for protesters to challenge governments. An example is that of impeachment trial of Philippine president Joseph Estrada (2001)
Side effects and their alternatives
Although social media has come up with many opportunities, some challenges have come up though they mainly affect governments. Most educational employees and leaders these days are even more careful not to involve in corruption or other criminal activities since if they are discovered the rumor may spread to a larger community due to the massive audience social media attracts internationally and hence destroy their image.
Information from social media can be spread everywhere since it is being distributed without control of screening and editing.
It’s a good idea for governments to deal with these challenges posed by social media. In order for the governments to deal with these challenges they should avoid using social media on deliberating public opinion and instead turn to deliberating issues with its citizens on policy. But above all that; it is very clear that social media has presented more potential for risk than any other channels of communications due to its massive spread of rumors and distortions it carries and especially on governance.
Governments are therefore advised to move beyond reacting to ideas and opinions expressed through social media by incorporating social media as part of its basic processes.
Social sites can be time consuming for employees in an organization because personnel may get to office and start tweeting or facebooking and this is wasting employer’s time. But this fact was defended by Luan Goldie who argued that in social networking there is no much time spent by employees. He stated that time spent on social networking is one hour and ten minutes as according to research and which compared to time spent on tea breaks; smoke breaks etc cannot make that big difference. However Goldie, (2007) expressed that user loyalty to social networking was not high.
But in all that, awareness is needed when it comes to social networking so that side effects can be prevented. This will be achieved by balancing time spent on social sites and also practicing doing things in person so that personality can be enhanced and at the same time avoid obsession to social sites.
In this century, the use of social media sites such as facebook and twitter has been of positive experience in most of the schools. However, whenever this opportunity is offered to education employee there are those who will always abuse the guidelines for the sake of causing havoc.
To control this, and protect the integrity of the school from the legal repercussions, schools have to design and implement social media policy guidelines to give best practices to the employees and indicate where, when and how to use these sites provided by the school to optimum effect (Wright, 2012).
Most education employees and the students want to do what is right always. Providing them with a set of social media guidelines is one way to Endeavour a framework to help the build a positive social media experience.
When anyone is writing the social media policy document to be used for Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, one should know that is the time to pay more attention for its implementation. The legal and human resource departments, this presents both good opportunities for the education employee and the risks as well (Zupek, 2009).
Social media policy can, when implemented correctly in education increase the productivity in the system. It can also improve the security of education and have a positive effect in education. It can also widen exposure of the education employee as they interact with the rest of the world instantly (Zupek, 2009).
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Questionnaire: Implementation of Policies for Best Practices on the Use of Social Media for
Employees in Education
The choice of the use of the questionnaire was to determine the trends and the perception regarding the use of social media technologies in the learning institutions. Questionnaires allowed me to ask the same questions to a number of people and aided in determining what most people thought of social media technologies use in an educational setting. The primary aim of the use of social media for employees in education questionnaire is to measure and map the relationship that exists between the faculty and students in institutions regarding the use of social networking tools in achieving the course objectives; and to contemplate on the need for policy on the use of the social media technologies for accomplishing the objectives of educational institutions. The questionnaire was also aimed at finding the trends of social media usage among students and faculty. For these purpose the questionnaire was administered to get responses fro students as well as faculty.
Background of the Study
With the advent of prolific use of social media sites among students, the influences of social media can no longer be ignored. There has been an escalating interest in web based technologies and social media tools. Social media is now placed centrally in the world of information, as it allows its users to upload and download information with such ease. According to O’Reilly (2005), social media is a platform across all connected gadgets and devices.
There are a number of social media tools and applications for use. These technologies provide for easy process of publishing ideas and news and receiving comments regarding the same from other users of the technologies. People can easily share updates from magazines, blogs and newsgroups. These technologies also allow sharing information on different events with the aid of pictures. Technologies such as YouTube allow internet users to share video content, providing an Application Programming Interface that allows viewing of the same video from other sites. These tools have become part of the student’s lives and they help in the building of relations with other like-minded students rendering it hard to overlook.
Numerous social media websites have various capabilities that support a wide range of interests. The networks have similarly attracted a vast following from students and professionals as they offer them a platform to connect with each other both locally and globally. Plenty of effort has been made in trying to understanding the use of such technological tools in institutions and how its use can aid in the achievement of course objectives.
Objectives of the Study
- Finding out the prevalence of social media in academic institutions.
- To explore the views that exists regarding the use of the social technologies.
- To provide recommendations on the findings.
These questions were used to determine the general use of social media technologies and determine which of these social networks are respondents a member of?
Other (specify ______________________
Which is your favorite social network? ______________________
Give reasons why? _____________________________
Do you use social networks to interact with new people you do not know?
How many times do you use social networks?
3 times a week: _________________
Once a week: ___________________
Once a month: ______________________
Very poor: _____________
Can you access your social network via mobile phone? __________________
Can you access your favorite social network effectively using a slow connection? ___
Do you use video chat when using social networks? ____________________
Why do you use social networks? _______________________
What time do you frequently use social networks?
In the morning: ___________
In the afternoon: _____________
In the evening: _____________
Random times: _______________
These questions were used to gather feedback on the use of social Media Technologies in Education
Taking to account your course work, how often do you use social media technologies in achieving your course requirements? _______________
Please elaborate on problems or issues you have encountered with relation to the use of social media technologies in educational institutions? _______________
These questions were meant to gage the satisfactory levels of the Use of social media tools
Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following questions.
Strongly Disagree, Disagree partially, disagree, Neither Agree or Disagree partially, Agree and Strongly Agree.
- I approve the use of social media technologies
- Social media Technologies are effectively used and incorporated into the curriculum to achieve the course objectives.
- Social media technologies are a hindrance to achieving course objectives.
- The institution has great understanding of the use of social media technologies.
What can be done to improve the use of social media technologies in achieving the course objectives? _______________
How efficient are the guidelines regarding the use of social media technologies. _______________
How well are departments in the institutional incorporating the Use of social media technologies? _______________
Would you propose changes to the manner the Institution has incorporated the use of social media? _______________
These questions were meant to gage the satisfactory levels of the Use of social media tools In the Library.
- How would you rate library social media services in your institution?
Very satisfying, moderately satisfying, or unsatisfactory
- Would you propose any changes in how social media technology services are offered in the library? ____
- If yes, please specify the proposed changes
- Are the assisting staffs in the library helpful in the use of social media technologies? ___________
- Do they respond to your queries in good time? ____________
Have you identified any perceived advantages of the use of social media technologies in the achievement of course objectives in your institution? _______________
(If yes, please specify) _______________
What targets does the use of social media technologies help your institution to achieve with regard to the course objectives? _______________
These questions were meant to analyze the social media technologies that are used in the institutions.
Which of the social media technologies is being used by educators to aid in dispensing of the curriculum? _______________
Who or which faculty has contributed the most in the use the social media technologies in you institution. _______________
Has your institution implemented policy on the use of social media; clearly laying out guideline on appropriate use of social media technologies? _______________
Has your institution integrated its organizational framework and its operations with social media technologies? _______________
These questions were meant to gage the negative traits that are attributed to the use of social media technologies.
Have you ever said ‘no’ to activities in your institution due to social networking technologies? _______________
Have you ever ignored a responsibility because of social networking? _______________
Have your friends or colleagues ever commented on the amount of time you dedicate to the use of social media tools and social networking sites? _______________
Do you frequent social networking sites when doing other duties? For instance when driving during class and discussions? _______________
Have you ever missed important needs such as sleep or food over social networking? _______________
Do you have a healthy relationship with colleagues and other faculty in real life In comparison to those in social networking sites? _______________
The study provided a view on the use of social media in educational institutions. Nearly all of our respondents used the popularly known social media technologies; this indicating that the population was equipped with technological capabilities. Many cited the potential of the social media tools held with regard to achieving the course objectives and the platform it created for dispensing of the course contents and curriculum was great. Most of the respondents pointed out the benefit the social media tools possessed outweighed the related problems that arose from the use of social media. With the respondents pointing out that, they proper training for using the social media technologies should be provided. It also provided insight on how the students were using the social media technologies for both educational and recreational purposes.