friends or facebook friends?

There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.
– Rebecca West (1892 – 1983)

There is a whole post on what Facebook has done to the meaning of the word “friend”…and it (the post) continues to evolve and morph in my head; over and over and over again.

This isn’t that post though.  I am actually just reposting something i saw on my Facebook today.  Its a topic that i have heard at TGIFs, at dinners, in the cafeteria, and during lunch in the staff lounge … I think it is important, relative, and an interesting piece in re-defining our roles in School2.0.  I would really love your thoughts on it:

originally from:


Recent efforts to make Facebook safer for kids may provide more options to control who sees what postings, but they may not address affect the fundamental conundrum facing educators – whether they can or should engage with  students in social media networks like Facebook…

Friend requests from students have caused quite a dilemma for teachers in several school districts in Georgia that have recently proposed policies restricting how teachers and students can interact online.

According to the article “Ga. District Hones Social Media Policy” published Nov. 19 byTeacher Magazine, teachers in Barrow County near Atlanta, Georgia are facing a proposed policy that would prohibit teachers from interacting with students as peers, both online and off, and would ban them from posting “provocative photographs, sexually explicit messages, use of alcohol, drugs or anything students are prohibited from doing,” on their personal social media pages.

Although I maintain a personal Facebook page, I have a policy against Friending students. On occasion I will accept friend requests from students after they graduate, but I’m concerned about blurring the line between social and professional relationships.

I’m sure most middle and high school, and maybe even some elementary school teachers face this kind of dilemma. Do you interact with your students through social media sites? What do you think of administrative oversight of educators’ online activities?

One of the commenters quoted in the Teacher Magazine piece expressed concern about students who see teachers as confidants, particularly young people who have no other close adults they can trust. Could restricting student/teacher relationships be detrimental for students? Or is it a good idea to have clearly defined boundaries supported by official policies?

Tuesday, December 8th 2009 by Katie Stansberry

Bring your thoughts and/or comments to WiredWednesday this week, post them right here, or better yet do both!!

I guess i should start:

Personally, i don’t befriend students, current or past. I constantly am considering and re-considering this – and still don’t have a definitive answer. I think having two accounts is a decent solution – and this is how i’ve handled my in-class social networking activities…


this i believe to be a major difference and a challenge. Our students don’t differentiate in their online lives like we feel the need to. When they “friend” our other identity they give us access to a lot of stuff that…to be honest, I do not want.
A lot of the buzz of these technologies (who’s momentum we are hoping to use to drive us toward our learning goals) is using the power of true social networking – and the students’ love for it – to drive an educational goal. If they were to begin creating other identities for “school stuff” then a lot of that power could be lost, or in other terms we would return to simply “doing this for the teacher”.

My attitude is that although the definition of “friend” is rapidly changing – the one that i use…doesn’t include my students. Thus i do not include them in my “friends” on facebook

like i said at the outset, a lot of thought…but no real answers…

Education 2050 – Neural and Networked

No one wants advice, only collaboration.
~ John Steinbeck(1902 – 1968)

Well this blog is kind of morphing into a place for sharing ideas that will hopefully guide our WiredWednesday conversations.  It wasn’t the vision and it needs more time, but i just don’t have it right now.  I do want to share this though as it is one of the more powerful things i have seen recently:

Some parts i really found provocative:

  • schools exist as a place to send kids while grown ups work
    • a teacher whose students don’t learn will not get fired; but one that allows their students to run around the city would.
  • what will be the mark of a good teacher in 2050
  • building intellectual alloys
  • basic building blocks of Education in the 21st century
  • participatory, personalize, post-national
  • two million minutes
  • writing
    • average writing assignment:  a paragraph to one page and length
  • brain research in 2050
  • if email is outdated; where does that put books and writing
  • choosing which form is more/most appropriate?
    • exactly what Bill and i were promoting with our PBL initiative
  • lifelong vs. k-12
  • long term problems within a “short-term” game (politics)

Reevaluating Intelligences

“We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences. If we recognize this, I think we will have at least a better chance of dealing appropriately with many problems that we face in the world. ”
 ~ Howard Gardner

This video was posted on a friends FaceBook last night and will serve as a wonderful place for us to connect with during our WiredWednesday (or any other time!) discussion.  He posted saying that it was essential viewing for all educators:


Which of Gardners intelligences do you see being more/less important in the next two years?  what about the next 10 or 20?  Does this effect what you do (or should do) in your classroom?  How?