ECOO Encourages Responsible Use of Social Media

For immediate release

18/04/2011 (Toronto) – The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) is encouraging teachers to continue using social media such as Facebook and Twitter in the wake of a professional advisory issued by the Ontario College of Teachers .

“The OCT advisory is a timely and valuable resource for educators,” says ECOO President Bill MacKenzie, “but it shouldn’t dissuade teachers from using technology and social media and teaching its appropriate use.”

“Since the release of the advisory, our organization has heard from teachers across the province who are very concerned that they should not be using social media tools with their students. We believe this is not the case.”

The Ontario College of Teachers issued a Professional Advisory on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media to its 230,000 members on April 11, 2011. The advisory provides important guidelines for teachers and administrators on how best to use social networking tools with students.

“While the Ontario College of Teachers is correct to remind its membership to be careful when using new powerful communication tools,” says MacKenzie, “the advisory clearly supports teachers’ responsible use of electronic communication and social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.”

For over 30 years, ECOO has supported and celebrated the effective use of technology in Ontario classrooms through conferences, competitions, newsletters, special interest groups, and affiliation with the International Society for Technology in Education .

ECOO believes that students need help learning how to navigate, evaluate, and effectively use technologies safely and appropriately. “Not all students are ‘digital natives’ with the innate ability to navigate these new technologies effortlessly,” says MacKenzie. “Our teachers have a responsibility to lead by example, demonstrating and teaching the appropriate use of technology and social media.”

ECOO applauds the College’s recognition of the importance of technology to communicate with and to engage students in today’s world. ECOO believes that the professional advisory is a helpful first step towards encouraging effective and appropriate use of new technologies by teachers.

“We welcome the opportunity to engage with the College and teachers in a dialogue on this important issue,” says MacKenzie. “We invite the OCT to work with us to develop helpful resource materials to support use of these powerful tools by Ontario’s teacher to engage our students.”

The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario exists to share and disseminate information and to advocate and promote the effective use of computers and associated technologies in the education process.

For more information:
Bill MacKenzie,
President, ECOO
(416) 538-1650

View the ECOO Press Release (PDF)  View the  OCT Document (PDF)

From the Ontario College of Teachers:
Professional Advisory on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media

View the OCT Video: