Social Chaos

The first five days of class have come and gone and I am already behind the schedule I created for myself. Thankfully, I was able to give the students their network accounts so I would not have to log 30 computers in everyday. The next task was to setup the students with their Edmodo accounts. Once this was accomplished chaos ensued. All kinds of personal messages started flying all over the site. One student complained he could not send his friend a message after being told students could not send messages to other individual students. When one student did the 21st Century version of dipping a girl's pigtails into an inkwell by calling her names on the site I knew something had to be done.

I quickly imposed a no personal message rule. Edmodo is to only be used for class business only. The reason I gave was I wanted students to learn to think about what they were about to post and whether it would get them into trouble. Some students thought I was joking and kept posting. This started the rounds of parent phone calls that went out after school for a couple of days. The way students acted online got me to thinking about how those who are allowed to have a Facebook or other social network account have been behaving online until now. For some students this was their introduction to social networking. I have concluded teachers need to engage students in a social network such as Edmodo to help teach students to look at whether to post what is on the screen. 

While this idea of students and teachers networking might frighten some and run counter to what I have said in the past. However, students need to learn how to act in a closed environment that sites like Edmodo or Schoology can provide. The good news is almost all of my students love using Edmodo. What are your thoughts? Have I gone overboard about the messages or should I continue to keep the messages out of our site? Should it be up to schools to train students how to act on social networks? I would be interested to hear what you have to say.