With such rocketing popularity, some teachers have started using the new tools to build rapport, update students on classroom activities and keep an ear to the ground with the youths they teach.But potential pitfalls remain, including the appearance of impropriety and other ethical issues. And sometimes it leads to criminal cases.
Should teachers become virtual "friends" with their students?
Opinions are mixed. Opponents fear innocent educators will be branded sexual predators for chatting with students online, while proponents caution against overreacting to a powerful communication tool.
Most school districts, however, have yet to define the rules of virtual engagement. In the Houston area, many districts block access to social-networking sites on campus computers, but they don't have policies addressing after-hours use between educators and students.
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