Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a bill that forces school districts to report any allegations of sexual abuse to state authorities within 24 hours but also in effect bans teachers and students from being connected via social networks.

This is what the bill says about social networks:

By January 1, 2012, every school district must develop a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communications. Each policy must include appropriate oral and nonverbal personal communication, which may be combined with sexual harassment policies, and appropriate use of electronic media as described in the act, including social networking sites. Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child’s legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian.

Missouri is the first state to truly address the tricky situation of exactly what type of relationships teachers and students should have in an age where social networks and texting rule the day for teens.

While Facebook may be convenient for both teachers and students school systems have many options available to them to foster communication which keeps things on a more professional level as they should be.   Now homework assignments and grades can be accessed online giving students instant access to the information they need.

If teachers want t communicate with students via Facebook then I suggest they do it through a school sponsored fan page.  This would be voluntary to join and all communications would be public protecting both parties.

In general I’m not in favor of using legislation to regulate when and where social networks can be used, but because of past abuses and the potential for future abuses I think schools need to set some ground rules and remind both teachers and students of the respective roles in the schools.  Social networks tend to blur those lines and not always for the better.

 

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Facebook has jumped into the journalism game by creating a page for journalists.

The new Journalists on Facebook page is geared to helping  journalists use Facebook as a reporting tool complete with tips and tricks from fellow journalists.

I just checked the page and it already has over 7,200 likes and growing and lists several notable journalists from Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast and Diane Sawyer of ABC News as fans or members of the page.

The page just launched so there are no words of wisdom from the collective hive yet but this could be an interesting experiment to see if Facebook can convince journalists that Facebook can help them in their jobs rather than be seen as a threat to their livelihoods.

h/t Journalstics

This past weekend several hundred bloggers and other new media types gathered in Las Vegas for the 2nd annual BlogWorld conference and New Media Expo to glean tips and tricks from some of the top bloggers  and blogging experts in the world.

Each day started out with a keynote speech that was fairly well attended but it was the individual sessions that seemed to attract the biggest crowds overall.  There was a wide range of topics from Sports blogging to what I will call God blogging to some nuts and bolts sessions on twitter and facebook.

In the political panels sponsored by Pajamas Media there was some heat generated when a questioner asked a liberal panelist who supported Barack Obama about getting rid of Che Guevara images and references to Hezbollah from an Obama web site.  That didn’t go over very well with the panelist but created a buzz in the audience as we finally got some lively debate.

The most useful session that I attended was the Facebook Fortunes which was given by Shama Hyder who used case studies of how Facebook can help individuals and groups achive bigger and better things.  The least useful was a relationship building session by German Nicole Simon who was competent but with her German accent and slides that had spelling and grammatical errors didn’t wow me or the crowd.

During my visit to the expo hall I picked up a bunch of free t-shirts ( good swag) as well as a lot of interesting information on software and widgets that may be useful to my corporate blog.  Maybe I’ll try some out here as well.

All in all it was well worth the $200 registration fee and travel expenses to attend.  The sessions, expo hall and the networking were invaluable to me.  I added a few Facebook friends and some twitter followers and decided to start this blog so it was very productive weekend.