• How To Set Consistent Device and Social Media Rules at School — and at Home

    A diverse group of young students using cell phones

    As social media use surges among youth, educators are grappling with the need to manage device disturbances — while acknowledging that technology use is embedded in education. Although educators embrace digital tools to help surface diverse viewpoints, boost engagement and save time, clear guidelines are necessary to keep students on task during the school day and promote digital responsibility.

    As schools and districts aim to set consistent rules for device and social media usage, they should embrace a balanced approach that fosters a safe, supportive learning environment while minimizing distractions and risky behavior. Here are five guidelines to consider.

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  • Tackling Tough Social Media Conversations: 3 Common Issues and How To Address Them

    Young student using cell phone device discreetly while teacher is presenting

    Social media and the mobile devices used to access those apps have a pervasive pull on adolescents and teens, even when they’re supposed to be studying or socializing “IRL” at school. As a result, educators may be the first to notice social media- and device-related issues that need to be addressed with caregivers. Those can be tough conversations — it’s easy to feel as though addressing a student’s social media and device use could feel out of bounds.

    However, when a situation is affecting students’ physical or mental wellness, it becomes vital for an empathetic educator to start a dialogue with their family. In any conversation, take care to open by expressing concern (rather than blame or criticism), underscore the reasons social media can be beneficial to youth and emphasize your desire to work on solutions together. Listening is critical.

    Here are three potentially sticky situations involving social media and devices for which you might want to initiate this dialogue, along with ideas for how to frame the conversation.

    Note: Schools and districts likely have their own policies for how to handle student issues involving social media and devices. We intend for these examples to provide additional best practices to validate or enhance your own approach.

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  • Are You Empowering Your Educators? 4 Ways to Make a Difference

    by Natalie Barnard, Pearson Assessment Consultant

    Smiling teacher assisting young student

    Educators always remember those leaders who made a difference — those who encouraged, motivated and appreciated them. Before I joined Pearson as an assessment consultant, I spent 17 years in public education, and I know I remember those stellar leaders.

    One of my favorite principals knew we would all perform better when we recognized we had a voice, so he made sure we did. He assembled a leadership team to provide input, but he didn’t stop there: He also asked each of us to seek input from our departments to gain more robust insight. It was a concrete way for him to demonstrate that everyone’s opinion was sought-after and valid. He also had an open-door policy, literally, where he would welcome any of us into his office for a conversation.

    As we all know, administrators deal with some rough stuff, but he never let that infiltrate his demeanor with staff — or students and families. He was always positive and always welcoming. To me, he was the epitome of the type of leader I think most educators strive to be.

    How do you get there?

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