Teachers and Technology: How To Limit Your Risk
Always ask your union representative.
- Your union contract is in place to protect you. No matter what your principal says or what content you are confronted with, always contact your school’s union representative. If they are unable to answer your question immediately they will put you in contact with someone who can help.
- Remember that federal law requires schools to monitor and archive any and all e-mails that are sent to and from employee accounts.
- Teachers are legally responsible for whatever they post online (pictures, text, video, etc.).
- “Anonymous” is rarely actually anonymous. Your identity is almost always knowable online.
- Law allows schools to monitor key strokes and personal e-mail on school computers.
Know what’s out there.
- Google yourself! Type your name into the Google search in quotation marks, e.g., “Sally Smith.” This will list all sites that mention you or anyone who shares your name. If any misinformation exists, contact the website owners immediately.
- Monitor social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) regularly for “inappropriate” images, posts, etc. If a friend “tags” you in a photo, that photo is searchable and potentially viewable by anyone. You can remove the tag from any photo you have been tagged in. Learn how
- When communicating with students via the Internet ,use sites like Blackboard or Ning.com, and avoid Facebook and MySpace.
- Only use school-provided equipment to communicate with students electronically.
Use the protections that are available.
- Make your Facebook or MySpace account private. Facebook has added a series of security and privacy features that teachers should use. Learn how
- Hide your Facebook profile from the internal Facebook search and from Google searches. Learn how
- Use the advanced Facebook Privacy features. In addition to making your profile and contact information private, Facebook also offers its users more advanced privacy settings. Learn how
- Remove your Facebook and MySpace Accounts. Ohio and Missouri Education Associations warned teachers not to join MySpace or Facebook and encourages teachers to removing existing profiles. While AFT does not think this is necessary, you should know how to deactivate your accounts should you decide to do so. Learn how
Use Alternatives to Facebook and MySpace to Communicate with Students.
- There are several alternatives to using Facebook and MySpace to keep in touch with students through the Internet. Two popular options are Blackboard and Ning.com. Blackboard even has Facebook Application and mobile phone application that connects students’ Facebook profiles and mobile devices with their class information on Blackboard.
Facebook and MySpace How-to's
How to remove all tags
How to make a MySpace account private
How to make your contact information private
How to use a Facebook list to enhance your privacy
How to cancel your MySpace account