A Little Rant on Openess and Sharing in Schools

Is openess and sharing in schools unfair to kids?

This debate reflection was co-created with my partner Dean. Feel free to comment on mine, his, or both blogs. We thought we would try something a little different this week and created a post debate vlog. You can also choose to listen to podcast version if you want to multi-task and go for a walk while listening to our post debate reflective conversation.

Special thanks to Dr. Verena Roberts for granting us an interview.

The debate gave everyone lots to think about. Thank you to Altan and Melida for sharing their perspectives as well.


I really appreciated hearing Melinda and Altan’s perspective.


Quite the expression to represent “Sharing a Story of Opening Minds and Hearts”.

Overall, people agree that openess and sharing is fair to students and a positive experience if done responsibly, safely and with the proper consent.


Pre-vote results
Post vote results

Below is a transcript of our extended “rant” with links to some of our research. A full-length version of the rant is also available for viewing on our Open For Business Wakelet. (Turns out I could speed talk on this topic for quite some time, and some of the footage remained on the cutting room floor).

Sherrie’s Extended Rant

Is openness and sharing in schools unfair to our students?  Or is it unfair not to take the opportunity to teach students about positive online behaviours.  Schools are the best place for students to learn how to create and maintain a positive identity online.   

Digital footprint, digital shadow, online reputation, digital tattoo — whatever you call it, it’s a term that’s too important to ignore yet often isn’t discussed in homes or classrooms.” This digital footprint will affect students for their entire lives, so it is definitely important that students are aware of what they are sharing and what is being shared about them.  

This brings me to the question as to why do schools use social media platforms to share and promote an open classroom?  By sharing student work online, schools can celebrate student success, promote learning, build school culture and invite parents, and community, to be a part of the learning process.  

There are many reasons why educators use social media in schools.  One – it is a part of our current reality; instead of resisting it, we need to embrace it!  Two, it provides instant communication with our stakeholders – no more notes lost in the bookbag!  And most importantly, three, CONNECTIVITY – openness and sharing encourages collaboration, creativity, and communication, and what is better than that?  

Are there dangers to be concerned about by sharing online?  Sure, but such dangers have been present long before social media, and sadly, as much as we wish we could, they simply cannot be completely avoided.  What we can do is educate students to be informed posters.  Students need to be a part of the decision-making as to what is posted about them.  It is not enough to have a parent sign-off on September 1st that pictures can be posted in the school yearbook and on their social media sites; students need to be consulted because it is their digital footprint that is being affected and they need to learn about what is and what is not appropriate to post.  Australian educational blogger, Kathleen Morris, shares: “unfortunately, issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, and problematic internet use are not going away. It’s so important that teachers are equipped to teach about these issues as a preventative, and follow-up issues as they occur.

Most of all, don’t be afraid of these challenges. As a teacher we’re in a unique position to really help empower young people to use technology safely, enjoyably, and purposefully.

Educators using social media as a form of openess and sharing need to model good citizenship and be aware of their school divisions policies regarding social media.  I can tell you that South East Cornerstone leaves no stone unturned.  We have AP 193 on Social Media Guidelines, complete with a SOCIAL MEDIA APPROVAL FORM appendix, AP 140 on Acceptable Use,  Incidental Use, Unacceptable use, and AP 183 on Confidentiality.  And then of course there is the school registration form where parents give their consent under LAFOIP, for their child’s image to be shared.  Teachers need to be aware of which parents have not given permission.  And also understand that just because a parent has given permission does not mean that you don’t need to consult with the student for their permission before you post.

In their research, Buchanan, Southgate, Scevek and Smith state:  “Digital footprint management goes beyond meeting the legal obligations of protecting children, following the code of conduct, and complying with computer usage policies. Most schools are not only fulfilling these legal requirements but are educating their students about cyber safety. Education for the development of a positive digital footprint doesn’t finish at teaching students what they cannot do but builds productively on this by letting them know what they can do to develop an online presence that will be an asset to them in the future. This represents a shift from a model based on compliance to one based on ethical management.”    

So is openness and sharing in schools unfair to students?  I guess that depends on who is doing the posting.  


7 thoughts on “A Little Rant on Openess and Sharing in Schools

  1. Pingback: The Great EdTech Debate – CHAPTER SIX – Openness and Sharing in Schools is not fair to our students. – Explorations in Edtech

  2. Excellent job on this weeks debate, Sherrie. I particularly enjoyed the sharing with Sherrie segment of your debate video. It really spoke to me when you discussed how we as educators should not be afraid of using technology to allow for openness and sharing. I know that when I was a student in my high schools musical program, we always had news outlets come in to promote our performance. For these experiences, I would always hope that I got the opportunity to wither be captured in a photo that made it into the newspaper, or be interview to promote the performance. In today’s day of age, it is even easier to promote activities like this through the use of social media, and we should not be afraid to do so. As long as we are doing this ethically, and making sure that we are following student consent protocols, we can use this sharing for positive use.


  3. I really enjoyed your “rant” during the debate. I also thought that having a surprise guest jump on as part of your concluding statement really “sealed the deal” for your argument! Great points made!


  4. Pingback: Is Openness and Sharing in Schools Unfair to Our Kids? – My Digital Learning Journey

  5. Pingback: My Thoughts on Openness and Sharing in Schools – Madame Jazz

  6. Thank you so much for the work you put in to this week’s debate. I thought it was very thought provoking, and I also found your supplemental video interview with Dr. Varena Roberts to provide great information.


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