WFISD: Signing Into Social Media

Even though nearly two weeks of school are in the bag, teachers in the Wichita Falls ISD are still getting used to some new requirements.

Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, they have to create professional social media accounts.  They also have to create a website.  This is to keep up with technology advancements and trends of the students.

"Kids are on social media.  That's where they are," Savannah Wheeler, a first year teacher at Kirby Junior High said, "That's where they spend a huge portion of their time."

While some people might be against the idea of teachers having a professional account, Coach Wheeler explained it will benefit both the students and the teachers.  It acts as another line of communication, which is extremely important.

"I post about, hey, bring your school supplies, bring your vocabulary homework, make sure you are studying for your test," she said, "Just kind of to remind those kids about what they need to be doing for my class.  So, it's all instructional and school based."

Coach Wheeler also likes to post educational material for kids to look at, which are related to the topic they are studying.  This could include videos, written examples, research sites, etc.  It just gives the child another opportunity to be successful in understanding the material.

Even parents are logging into the change.  Coach Wheeler said she probably has just as many parent followers as students.

"They want to stay in the loop too, so it's a really great way for parents to find out what we're doing in class," she said.

They can also keep up on athletic or school activities.  It might even serve as a way for them to connect and communicate with their child.  So, educators feel it's a win win situation.

Some might argue by saying the reminders from the social media sites take away from the responsibility of the student.  However, Coach Wheeler disagrees.  She said it actually encourages the students to stay on top of their studies.

"We set reminders on our iPhones all the time," she said, "This is the same thing.  It's just more personal."

Still, teachers have to be careful about what and how they make a post.

"We really want to limit what we post to be instructional based or really based on what the school is doing," Coach Wheeler said.

If they stick to that, she said there should be no problems.

Teachers had to sign a technology use policy at the beginning of the school year.  It clearly states when they can and cannot have contact with the students.  It also restricts the teachers from being friends with them on their personal social media sites.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6