Had an interesting discussion with a teacher from Plymouth last week about Facebook. We were running a pilot training day about the pedagogy of technology based learning and the discussion got onto what was and was not banned in schools. Inevitably we got onto Facebook.
Their school did bar access to Facebook until the snow days we had this year. What happened was that their main website was not able to cope with the hits trying to find out if the school was open. So they looked for other solutions for the future that were more scalable and unlikely to fall over when they got a few hundred hits at the same time. The decided that one way to do this would be to have their own school Facebook page for communicating with the outside world. Great idea, the Facebook servers take the strain.
So, then the law of unintended consequences kicked in. The majority of students made the school their friend. Ok, good thing. However, this meant that the school had the ability to see the bits of their profiles that the students would probably prefer that their teachers could not see.
Solution: Headteacher gives whole school assembly on how to set your Facebook privacy settings so avoid such embarassment.
Consequence is that the school has a new communications route to students, parents and the outside world, and the students are safer online as they now have the knowledge about how and why they need to modify their privacy settings.
Oh, and it hasn’t snowed since.