We sat down with Melissa Davis, CEO of GoEnnounce, to talk about how students can build a positive social media portfolio. Below are her top tips for educators and parents who want to encourage their students to create positive online footprints.
I think that there is a trend with schools to avoid social media because they don’t want to touch it and they don’t want to allow students to use it. I believe that you can’t be scared of social media and you have to teach students that social media is a tool. It is going to be around them for the rest of their life and they are using social media to access information on their devices already. Teens need to learn that social media can be a tool to promote themselves and share their deep accomplishments and goals. They can track everything from science projects to volunteer projects. –Melissa Davis, GoEnnounce
What do you mean when you say “teach what to do online, not what not to do”?
No, doesn’t work. If you tell a child that they can’t have something, then they want that thing. Telling kids not to use social media and taking devices and having a “lockdown” just doesn’t work. It also doesn’t teach kids how to do things properly. We need to acknowledge where they are and teach them how to do it right. Another big tip here is the younger, the better. By the time they get to middle school, they have already done too much damage. They have already opened half a dozen social media accounts. –Melissa Davis, GoEnnounce
The government will not call you and tell you that it’s time to start paying attention to your kid’s online presence and helping them protect themselves. Elementary school is never too early to start talking about colleges and careers with social media. –Josh Ochs, SafeSmartSocial
Do you think teaching students the importance of building a positive online presence is key for college & career readiness?
Digital citizenship education is KEY for college readiness. Look at the recent Harvard issue where they rescinded offers to at least 10 students because of a private Facebook group. This whole idea of digital citizenship is a term that schools are now starting to bring in and “What is digital citizenship?” What does it mean? Going as young as elementary and instilling this mindset that they are going to be on tech and digital citizenship is just being a good citizen. There is no difference between analog and digital right now. –Melissa Davis, GoEnnounce
One of the threats that we have seen that is becoming prevalent is that people are ratting out other students. Living a different life online from real life happens to everybody to a certain degree and what you are saying is every day we need to understand that if somebody rats you out to a college admissions officer or to an employer, it’s not going to hurt them. It’s going to hurt you. Students need to be careful and to understand the possible ramifications of everything that they do online because it’s going to be public. –Josh Ochs, SafeSmartSocial
How does digital communication promote student reflection?
Structured reflections help students analyze their learning experiences to reveal and understand outcomes that they might otherwise have missed. We encourage teachers to work with students on their digital communication using things like proper grammar, complete sentences, etc. With a social media portfolio, we require our clients to write something with everything they post. So if I’m sharing my science project, it’s not just a photo of my science project. It’s how can I communicate in words what I have learned? This self-reflection helps students analyze their learning experience so they can understand outcomes that they might have otherwise missed. –Melissa Davis, GoEnnounce
What are ways to encourage students to have a positive voice?
Social media gives students a voice. When a student’s online presence is positive about what’s happening at school, the community takes note! GoEnnounce gives students a voice and also helps schools with retention because it lets parents know what students are up to and what they are doing at school. With a tool like GoEnnounce, the kids think it’s fun to be able to use a tool similar to Facebook at school and post and collaborate with other students. We allow parents and at the other secondary level, they can invite their aunts or uncles or other mentors to view their GoEnnounce feeds as well and get notifications. So whether it’s GoEnnounce or any type of social media, encourage your kids to share what they are doing and work with them on their reflection skills and their voice. –Melissa Davis, GoEnnounce