It doesn’t take a scholar to appreciate how new social media tools are changing education for both students and teachers. A new e-book, Social Media in Education: Enhancing Learning and Managing eSafety, from Bloxx, addresses the challenges schools face in harnessing social media information and collaborative learning tools, while protecting students from inappropriate content and dangerous malware.
“There is a wealth of educational and learning resources online today,” says Graham Twaddle, Chief Technology Officer at Bloxx, a leader in Web content filtering and email security. “But balancing the benefits of giving students access to these with protecting them from inappropriate content is a challenge facing schools and education organisations around the world. Our new e-book is a primer for headteachers and education IT professionals to incorporate the best of social media into the curriculum, while offering guidance on creating flexible social media and Internet access policies for their schools or organisations.”
The Social Media in Education: Enhancing Learning and Managing e-Safety e-book highlights research which shows how social media can enhance traditional education models, build collaboration, support home and distance learning, and open channels to real-time data and relevant content.
Major sections of the e-book address the cultural, communications and technology challenges in creating a workable social media policy. According to the book’s author, leading UK educational technologist and award-winning teacher Ollie Bray, “It’s important to communicate the reason for a consistent social media policy across any educational organisation. A good policy begins with good and open communication.
“Equally important are some of the technology challenges, particularly around content filtering and security” continued Bray. “Many schools are so concerned about risks from social media that they try to implement blanket ‘lock and block” policies that shut down access, but too broadly limit important educational content.” The Bloxx e-book describes some of the new generation web filtering technology that analyses and categorizes web page content, rather than just blocking sites based on broad key word or URL restrictions. “These new content-based filtering tools,” concludes Bray, “let administrators set and control reasonable access according to grade level, subject matter and different roles such as students, faculty and staff.”