After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Time to focus on Facebook literacy in our education system

The viral outbreak of images from the recent unfortunate teen rape in Pitt Meadows underscores the need for the public education system to take a proactive leadership role in developing curriculum and teaching strategies to help students navigate the murky waters of Facebook and other social media tools.

 Are students really as tech savvy as they may think they are? Although this generation of students is very adept at using social media for entertainment and leisure, schools can play an important role in helping students to develop their digital literacy skills. Even though students have been online since childhood, they need to learn the basics of navigating privacy and personal information

The digital literacy curriculum should be developed in conjunction with educators, students, parents, law enforcement agencies, and other appropriate agencies. The social media literacy program should be designed to help students understand the responsible use of social media and should focus on etiquette, ethical considerations, and dos and don’ts. Parents and students should play a key role in helping to define and shape the program.

Potential elements of the digital media curriculum could include:

  • Understanding social media
  • Social media: reputation, identity, and authority
  • Privacy, security, and ethical issues
  • Critical thinking and  reasoned choices
  • Anti-cyber bullying strategies
  • Guidelines for adult interaction with students
  • The educational benefits/risks of social media
  • Using social media to enhance student learning
  • Best practices

 Now is the time for policymakers to play a leadership role in bringing together educators, students, parents, law enforcement agencies, and other appropriate agencies to develop a social media literacy program. The program should be supported by resources, professional development for educators, and parent and community outreach.

 The Vancouver School Board has made a decision to use social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc) to enhance its communications and outreach capacity. The VSB has a responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting the development of strategies and programs to assist educators, students, and parents to develop their digital literacy skills. It would also be useful for the Ministry of Education to provide resources and support for this important initiative.


More in School View

Gladstone Secondary School wins $50,000 to build a greenhouse

Gladstone Secondary School has been awarded $50,000 to support the building of a 30-person greenhouse for the school’s science and foods programs. Gladstone’s 1,200 students will be the biggest...

Vancouver Giants pink flash mob: video

This past weekend over 1800 students from 16 elementary and secondary schools from across Metro Vancouver gave the audience of this Sunday’s Vancouver Giants game a huge treat when they broke out in...

When technology enters the classroom

“That’s it class – you’ll find the notes and the PowerPoint on the S-Drive and a version on Moodle, there is also some relevant info on my edublog”. Eh? It was a Social Studies 10 class and the topic...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.