BYOT & Social Media Meet AUP

BYOT Technology

Image Credit – Creative Commons

BYOT and Social Media present new and exciting possibilities for all community members of any 9-12 boarding school. As such, the operational envelope for all members should be defined. In my opinion, if one identifies a need or a problem in a boarding school community, that person should offer both the need/problem and his/her suggested solution.

I created a BYOT/Social Media Policy that I think would fit an imaginary boarding school, since I am not currently employed. However, I would not implement this without the whole document being vetted by the community. It is unrealistic to think that we will create a “perfect” document that meets the desires of every single person. However, we can and should listen to all members of the community so that all do indeed have a voice in adapting and modifying the document. Since that school does not exist, and I have no idea of the actual staff, parents or students, I listed my collaboration plan at the beginning of the document.

I not only used the Resources offered, I used a boarding school I respect as a model for a plan that I feel will approach the BYOT/Social Media guidelines in a way that promotes a positive experience for all stakeholders.

My concerns with BYOT and Social Media are that everything in our lives moves to instant gratification. The answers we seek are immediately available. The picture we want to post is online before we get home. Unfortunately, we tend to react emotionally just as fast, taking issues to social media that maybe should never make the cut.

Faculty/Staff are primarily are young educators and for many their first place of employment. Often, the line between the professional and students gets blurred in the eyes of these young educators. Setting parameters for device use seems logical.

Parents also seem to react with intense passions. Including them in these from the outset will help keep them framed in the heat of a moment.

Lastly, students will see All, Faculty/Staff, and Parents are addressed prior to their specific demographic. I truly think this will help model the expectations the community needs to prosper. If not, then I think the revision process will take us to a livable document.

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Social Media Takes Centerstage

This week’s challenge required researching social media uses in our content areas. The goal, for me, was to end up with ten case studies of documented uses of social media in Theater Arts. I spent a disproportionate amount of time sifting through shells seeking phantom pearls. I discovered ample “how to” sites; but, finding actual case studies proved elusive and frustrating.

I do not shirk research. In fact, I enjoy it. However, there seems to be too few articles where members of my tribe have embraced social media. There is a strong polarization of Theater teachers and use of technology. Many feel strongly that theater must be experienced in live form to be of value. I know, as I was one of the most vocal in that area before starting my MET program. I have since shifted my thoughts. The week’s challenge proved daunting as my research progressed. I wanted articles with meat and substance and I found myself increasingly selective. Effective curation demands that level of selectivity to separate curation from general information collecting.

The end result (please click here as I do not have embed abilities) is a product I am pleased to share. It is ten resources I feel confident address the topic and offer new insights. Most notably, the article from the Wallace Foundation detailing a study of the use of social media by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company truly resonated with me. I liked STC’s use of multiple bloggers to reduce the workload of one individual. That seems something achievable by high school programs. More importantly, the bloggers must submit their article for review before it is published to ensure that one consistent voice, STC’s voice, comes through. This makes a great teachable moment for my future students and I am sure to reference this article with my charges. Too often students mistake editing for censorship. Seeing how a renowned professional company handles their brand maintenance would be a lesson of great value.

Another takeaway for me was the article highlighting Pinterest. The author detailed a variety of practical uses in both the classroom and the stage. Using Pinterest throughout all facets of the production starting with the very first reading of the script helped validate that tool as it made perfect sense. Any member of the crew or cast would gain a better appreciation for the artistic vision seeing a period representation of the play.

Having directed The Mystery of Edwin Drood (one of the first high schools allowed to perform this show) I connected immediately with the use of social media during the show. It is simply a brilliant integration of Twitter. The show requires audience voting participation. And based upon those results, the cast performs a different scene. Using a screen to display live results would help validate that the performers are not rigging the results and add a layer of trust that was missing when casts are left to hand-tally.

Each of the articles I selected offered pearls of wisdom, and I will certainly use all to my advantage. The struggles in the oyster beds will become a distant memory as the pearls are put into practice.