Resources for Staff

Ideas for Social Media in the Classroom

  • Submit your idea
    • Facebook
      • Post homework assignments
      • Share classroom updates and changes to increase sense of community
      • Increase communication between teachers and parents
      • Teaching idea: Create a Facebook page for famous historical figures for students to "get to know" them and their contribution to history by sharing their "likes," interests, status updates, etc.
    • Twitter
      • Reminders (test dates, assignments, field trips, supplies needed, etc.)
      • Lesson recaps
      • Answer homework questions
      • Teaching ideas: Have students tweet highlight(s) of what they learned in class that day; use as an extended discussion forum for classroom topics
    • Pinterest
      • Show and tell for teachers and students to parents
      • Pin students' work and classroom projects

    Questions about creating social media accounts? Contact Michael Petitti.

Policy Summary/FAQ


    What is the history behind the policy?

    The district officially began using social media to communicate with parents and other stakeholders in June 2012 following the adoption of Policy 911.1: Social Media for District Use. The School Board recognized the next step would be to create a policy for student and employee use of social media. A group of district employees was tasked to spearhead this development at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. The group held focus groups with parents, students and teachers, conducted a district-wide survey, researched existing policies at other schools and districts across the country, reviewed academic papers, studies and statistics, and presented its progress at various Board and Committee meetings. As with all district policies and per district guidelines, the School Board approved Policy 815.1 at the May 28, 2013 Board Meeting after two dedicated readings.

    Why create the policy? 

    The district realizes that part of 21st century learning is adapting to the changing methods of communication. The district also recognizes the value of teacher, employee and student inquiry, investigation and innovation when using new technology tools to enhance the educational experience. It is the district’s obligation to teach and promote responsible and safe use of these technologies with an understanding that teachers and students engaging, collaborating, learning and sharing in these digital environments is an important part of 21st century learning.

    What is the purpose of the policy? 

    The purpose of the policy is to provide rules and guidelines for employees and students who currently use or would like to use social media personally or as a tool to enhance instruction.

    What social media is covered by the policy? 

    The policy addresses all online communication tools that "allow for and/or facilitate various means of interaction, communication and information sharing." These include blogs, microblogs, social networks, media sharing services, wikis and other shared workspaces, mobile- and location-based services, virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games and education-based learning management systems. (View Social Media Glossary)

    Are teachers required to use social media as part of classroom instruction? 

    The use of social media by teachers and other employees for both professional and personal use is entirely their decision. There is no mandate whatsoever that an employee or student use social media.

    Are employees permitted to be social media "friends" or "followers" of students through their personal accounts?

    Employees are prohibited to engage in personal social-networking "friendships" with students on Facebook or other social media. Engaging in personal social-networking "friendships" with parents or guardians of students must be carefully considered.

    How can a teacher interact with students on social media without being personal "friends"?

    Teachers wishing to use Twitter, Facebook or another social media account as a forum for students to engage in discussions about a classroom project or other purpose must create a dedicated account for the project/class and instruct students to join that account. For more information, contact Michael Petitti.

    What if I don't want my child to use social media in the classroom? 

    The policy does not address parents who may wish to opt out their children from using social media. As with all matters concerning a child's upbringing, many adults play a role in nurturing a successful and well-adjusted student. Teachers who use social media in the classroom do so with a plan to benefit the lesson and their students' learning experience. Along the way, teachers model appropriate online behavior and stress the need to be positive digital citizens. The district understands there may be parents who prefer their child refrains from using social media regardless of the intended instructional and behavioral goals. These parents are encouraged to work with their child's teacher to achieve an amicable solution for classroom projects in which social media is utilized. 

    Does the policy prohibit or restrict personal use of social media? 

    Employees and students are free to use social media in their personal lives. However, all employees and students must refrain from communicating inappropriate materials and information via social media, including but not limited to: 
    • Confidential, personally identifiable, or otherwise sensitive information pertaining to RTSD, its students, employees or guests; 
    • Child pornography, sexual exploitation, bullying/cyberbullying or inappropriate commercialization of childhood experiences; 
    • Defamatory or discriminatory statements or images; 
    • Proprietary information of RTSD and/or a RTSD vendor; 
    • Infringed upon intellectual property, such as information that violates copyright laws;
    • Terroristic threats; and 
    • Illegal items and activities.

    What are the consequences of misuse of social media according to the policy? 
    For students: Loss of access to RTSD’s communication and information systems and other appropriate disciplinary actions, including but not limited to, warnings, usage restrictions, loss of privileges, suspension and expulsion                 For employees: Loss of access to RTSD’s communication and information systems and other appropriate disciplinary actions, including but not limited to, warnings, usage restrictions, loss of privileges, position reassignment, oral or written reprimands, suspension (with or without pay) and dismissal.                        


    • Submit or suggest a social media term here
    • See the complete "digital glossary" from Common Sense Media
    • Links may take you to external sites that may be firewall protected on RTSD's network An online question-and-answer forum popular among teens in which responses can be posted anonymously. The site has been linked to cyberbullying. Parents are strongly urged to monitor their child's use of this site. (more)

    Audacity: A free audio editing program useful across different devices.

    Blog: Short for "web-log." A website where individuals create posts and allow others to contribute through commenting and sharing.

    Chatroulette: An online chat website that randomly pairs strangers from around the world for conversations via webcams. Parents should be especially cautious about their children's use of this site, even considering banning usage. (see als Omegle)

    Delicious: The world's leading social bookmarking service that allows users to store and share links and other information.

    Digital Citizenship: The idea that users of social media and other online services have the responsibility to behave respectfully and positively just as they are tasked to do in the physical world.

    Digital Footprint: A record of online activity that is taken from online conduct and follow a user throughout his or her life.

    Diigo: A website bookmarking service that allows users to store links and other online information as well as annotate, share and comment on webpages.

    Dropbox: A file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and file sharing and collaboration.

    Evernote: Mobile and desktop application that syncs a user's account across devices to maintain notes, images and other content in real time for wide-ranging accessibility.

    Facebook: A social medium where users can share information about themselves, post images and participate in other online socializations with other users.

    Foursquare: A location-based social medium that allows and rewards users for indicating where they are or where they visited in real time for the benefit of other users.

    Gamification: The concept that game thinking and game mechanics can be used outside of traditional gaming venues to engage users and solve problems.

    Google Drive (formerly Google Docs): Online productivity and collaboration suite that allows for creation and sharing of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. A social media that allows users to create, share and embed infographics.

    Instagram: Owned by Facebook, a media-sharing mobile application that allows users to take and share photos and video with other users.
    Kik Messenger: An instant messaging application that uses a smartphone's data plan or Wi-Fi to transmit and receive messages, a feature that circumvents text messaging rates set by phone service providers. Also allows users to share photos, sketches, voice messages, and other content.
    Klout: A website and mobile application that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score," which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.

    LinkedInA social medium focused on cultivating professional relationships.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO or MMOG): An online video game that is capable of supporting a large number of players simultaneously from across the world (List of games here)

    Micro-blog: Differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregate file size. Allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links (Twitter, Tumblr).

    Omegle: An online service that pairs strangers for chat sessions. Parents should be especially cautious about their children's use of this site, even considering banning usage. (see als Chatroulette) A social media that allows users to create and share online newspapers.

    Pinterest: A media-sharing social medium that allows users to create, view and contribute to virtual bulletin boards consisting of a variety of images.

    Podcasts: An audio file created by the user and uploaded to the internet for public consumption.

    Prezi: An online service that allows users to create and share animated presentations.

    RedditA social medium where registered users submit content on which other users vote "up" or "down," thus ranking the post and determining its position on the site's pages and front page.

    Second Life: An online virtual world that allows users ("residents") to explore, socialize, participate in various activities, and create and trade virtual property, among other "real life" pursuits, with one another. Intended for those 16 and older.

    Skype: An online communication tool that allows users in different locations to communicate via video or audio for free.

    SlideShare: An online service that allows users to upload PowerPoint, PDF or Keynote presentations for private or public viewing.

    SnapChat: A mobile photo-sharing application in which users send images to other users that are automatically deleted from the recipient's device after a certain amount of time as determined by the sender.

    Social Bookmarking: Catalogues of web links (URLs) that are hosted by an online service that can be accessed on any computer. These bookmarks are shared and can be visible to anyone.

    SoundCloud: An online audio distribution platform that enables users to upload, record, promote and share their originally-created sounds.

    Storify: A social medium that lets the user create stories or timelines using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

    TumblrA media-rich microblogging service that allows users to share photos, videos, text, website links and GIFs (animated images).

    TwitchAn online forum for users to stream, watch and comment on live videos of other users playing video games.

    Twitter: Micro-blogging platform where users share information through 140-character "tweets" for viewing and sharing by other users.

    Vine: Owned by Twitter, a media-sharing service that allows uses to create and share 6-second videos.
    Vimeo: A video-sharing social medium in which users can upload, share and view videos.

    VoiceThreadLike a discussion board, but with the ability to comment with audio, video, chat and drawing tools.

    Whisper: A free mobile app which allows users to send messages anonymously and receive replies.

    Wiki: A document that can be edited by users and converted to a webpage. Allows for URL-sharing and document hosting.

    Wikispaces: Website where an individual or group can create and manage their own wiki.

    Wordpress: A free and open source content management system and blogging tool with various features and templates for creating websites and blogs.

    YouTube: The most popular video-sharing social medium in which users can upload, share and view videos.