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6 Ways Teachers Can BEAT the Technology Trap
posted by: Alana | July 11, 2016, 05:46 PM   


Technology can mean risky business for teachers in this day and age whether it’s texting a student directly or even posting something on your personal Facebook page. Some schools and districts have guidelines to follow while others are prohibited from using these tools in their classrooms at all. Yet with the increasing concerns and liabilities revolving around the revolutionary communication platforms of Digital Age, it stands to reason that every educator should exercise caution to avoid any allegations of misconduct down the road.


Below are 6 best practices every teacher should follow when using digital communication tools with students to BEAT the technology trap that has put even great teachers in a pickle…


1. Get parental consent. Make sure that parents know what platforms you intend to use to communicate with your students. And take that a step further by engaging them in the conversation, too! Facebook groups are a great way to share pertinent classroom information with parents and students alike. Whether it’s sharing field trip details, school closings, classroom parties, or even pictures of student projects, making sure that all parties involved have access to – and knowledge of – your communications with students can make all the difference.

2. Loop in your colleagues. Your colleagues are a treasure trove of information…you just need to tap into it! Whether it’s learning from their mistakes, brainstorming and running ideas by one another, voicing concerns, or even leveraging their experience, the teachers and administrators in your school can be a vital part of your communications plan if you let them be. As an added bonus, you might even be creating a more positive work environment!

3. Check your privacy settings. Platforms like Facebook offer completely customizable options for privacy settings that allow you to keep your work and personal life separate without having multiple accounts. Especially if you choose to communicate with parents and students on Facebook (and even if you don’t), mark your profile features as "Friends Only" to keep your personal life personal.

4. Google yourself and your email address. What comes up? Is it something you would be comfortable with students, parents, colleagues, or administrators seeing? Are there other accounts that pop up such as an old dating profile outlining the most intimate details of your life? Or maybe a disgruntled Amazon review of that embarrassingly personal product you tried? Perhaps even your dusty YouTube channel you haven’t touched since college? If you’re like many people, you use the first part of your email address as a user name in more places than you realize. Combat this before it becomes a problem by making sure you know what’s out there on the web about you!

5. NEVER send or post personal or derogatory comments about students or coworkers. It goes without saying, and we’ve heard it all before, but "everything posted online is there forever… even after it's been deleted". You can never be too careful. Once it’s in writing, you can’t take it back. Taken out of context or without the body language to accompany innocent sarcasm, even the most innocent comments on a popular news article or teaching forum can mean big trouble if seen by the wrong person. Always think twice before clicking ‘submit’.

6. Get protected with AAE professional liability insurance. Expect the unexpected. While you can play it safe and take all the right steps to prevent an allegation from jeopardizing your career, even the bestteachers aren’t immune to false accusations or misunderstandings. Every single day, our Professional Liability Insurance Program protects AAE members across the nation facing liability suits and/or job actions. In each of these instances, the member needed to access the AAE policy protections because the school district policy did not cover them. Other professionals, such as medical doctors and lawyers, would not dream of practicing without liability (or malpractice) insurance. In today’s litigious society, a teacher should not step into a classroom without a liability policy covering them, personally. If you’re not yet a member of AAE, learn more about why YOU should join the fastest growing educators' association of its kind by visiting today!

What best practices do YOU use when using digital communication with students?
Tell us in the comments below.


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