Working with Visitor Posts in the Timeline of a Class, School, or District Facebook Page

September 17, 2015

[Note: This post is geared for people who are starting out as Facebook Page administrators, managing a class, school, or district social media presence via an organizational Facebook Page.]

Icon of One Cartoon Head in profile talking to another

By Terry [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

You may have set up a class, school, or district Facebook page to connect with your audiences on social media. Maybe you created it as a page which is managed by a single–or limited number–of individuals to ensure that the page is content is moderated & reflects your social media & organizational standards. Maybe you’ve been moderately successful getting it of the ground for pushing out information, but are missing the interactivity people in your audiences have come to expect from social media.

One day you find that Visitor Posts are popping up on your organizational Page in a box entitled “Visitor Posts”. Congratulations! Someone’s listening and you’ve made contact. How do you respond?

You have two main tasks: determine whether the content posted aligns with your organization’s (class, school, or district’s) objectives and mission and/or serves its community? If not, click on the down arrow to the right of the post’s account name and you’ll find the options to:

  • Hide from Page
  • Delete from Page
  • Report post
  • Embed post
  • Turn notifications (off or on so you can know when comments are added)

Your decision will depend on the content you see. If the content is clearly spam or offensive, go ahead and report the post. If the post is irrelevant, or not useful for your organization at the time, but you want to be able to see it later as the administrator, hide it from your audience using Hide from Page. If the content the other account posted in your Visitor Posts is relevant and useful to you or your audiences, let it keep it showing on your Page in the Visitor Post section.

But maybe that Visitor Post is so good you’d like to do more to connect with it, the person or organization behind that other account, and share. What do you do now?

  • Like the post as your organizational Page identity.
    1. You may have a personal/professional identity on Facebook separate from the identity of the organization whose Page you manage. You want to keep this personal/professional identity separate from your actions as the organization’s (class, school, district’s) account that you are managing on Facebook. Make sure you are liking the post with your appropriate identity. To do this look in the shaded bar directly below the specific post in the Visitor Posts section. There will be an icon/avatar to the right of the “Like   Comment” with a dropdown arrow. If the icon/avatar is your personal/professional & not your organizational one, be sure to switch it.
    2. Remember “liking” implies and endorsement, so you might want to do a little reconnaissance on the Facebook account that posted to your Visitor Posts section BEFORE you like it. What or whom you “like” in Facebook terms reflects on the professional/organizational reputation of your page. For example, if an account posts something kind about your Facebook Page content, and you visit that account’s page only to find slews of racist jokes posted there, think twice about “liking” that particular account’s Visitor Post and building seeming endorsements of that account’s content.
    3. Also, feel free to add a thankful or useful comment to the Visitor’s post if you feel so inclined. Interacting with it, boosts its presence in your Visitor Posts area.
  • Share the content in your organizational Page’s timeline.
    1. Click on the day & time beneath the Visitor Post’s identity in your Visitor Posts section. This takes you to the original Visitor’s post.
    2. Below the content of the post is a bar with “Like Comment Share”. Click on Share.
    3. You have 3 options: Share Now (only Me), Share…, or Send as Message. Click on Share…
    4. You are taken to the “Share this [Link, Status, Photo, etc.]” window. Below the title of the window, use the drop down list to select the timeline you want to share it to: On your own Timeline, On a friend’s Timeline, In a group, On a Page you manage, in a private message. Select “On a Page you manage”
    5. This brings up some additional options. You will see two boxes that help you specify where the target Timeline is by selecting the Page you manage and the identity with which you are posting. Ensure that both boxes are set to the correct organizational Page, and the correct identity you want to use to share it in your organization’s Timeline.
    6. You’ll have an option to add a comment in the Share before it posts up to the Page Timeline. Feel free to post a thank you or other relevant comment.
    7. Below the content of the Visitor’s Post that you share, you have additional options for having the share be “Public” to all, or to limit your audience.
    8. Once your settings are correct, click the Share Link button in the lower right.

Hope this helps you as you begin to manage an organizational Facebook Page. If you have any other hints for newbies, feel free to share them here.


A K-12 Primer for British Columbia Teachers Posting Students’ Work Online

May 17, 2013

cover_capture_sm.fw  There is little doubt in my mind that web 2.0, social media, and cloud computing offer powerful vehicles for teaching and learning—but only if educators use them responsibly, abide by the rules and regulations, and teach their students to do the same. According to lawyer, Pam Portal, “BC’s privacy laws are arguably the strongest in Canada” (Cooper, et al., 2011, “Privacy Guide for Faculty Using 3rd Party Web Technology (Social Media) in Public Post-Secondary Courses”,2). These laws and regulations protect the privacy rights of the individual in British Columbia, Canada. Our unique legal context sets the boundaries for what the K-12 should be doing online with student information, work, and data. If you’re not from British Columbia, or aren’t in touch with what’s happening here, consider us the “Europe” of privacy protection in North America. If you are an American teacher or a Canadian teacher anywhere but in British Columbia–you likely have more permissive regulations in the use of Web 2.0 tools–especially those that are housed in the cloud.

The institution where I work, Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo, BC, Canada), is in the vanguard of addressing privacy issues associated with use of cloud based tools at the post-secondary level in BC education. In 2011, VIU  published “Privacy Guide for Faculty Using 3rd Party Web Technology (Social Media) in Public Post-Secondary Courses” with BC Campus,  and our Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (under Director, Liesel Knaack) has been running numerous training sessions to raise faculty awareness of their obligations in use of cloud, Web 2.0, and social media technologies—especially with regard to students. As part of that effort, and in discussions with Liesel, I began to develop some resources to streamline how faculty in our Faculty of Education and other post-secondary instructors could meet the new requirements–items like forms to guide instructors, and an information backgrounder to share with students.  As BC K-12 educators got wind of what I was doing, I had individuals from BC K-12 schools–public and private, traditional and face-to-face–contacting me to see what knowledge, resources and guidance I could share. At that point I was solidly focused on developing resources I could use with my faculty, and I kept hoping that ‘someone else’ would take on that mantle and deal with providing specific K-12 resources. I happily provided what I had–but it was from the post-secondary perspective. When I shared content, I’d repeatedly ask the recipients to share back what they developed. Many of these individuals were dealing with these issues off the side of their K-12 desks—among many other responsibilities. I checked back with a few of them and their content development had gotten sidelined in one way or another.

Working in a Faculty of Education as I do, I am reminded that I am only a step away from the K-12 context. Our Education students are doing practica in BC K-12 schools–some of them with institutionally loaned equipment—and I need to support their responsible use of technology under current legislation. In September 2013, I will be teaching a course in social media in our new Online Learning and Teaching Diploma (OLTD) Program, and I will need resources to guide my students as educators in responsible use of social media in BC’s K-12 context. Knowing my interests, parents have approached me to describe incidents where students are using social media and cloud based resources in their local schools without any permission forms or information being sent home. One parent described Googling her child’s name only to find a Prezi with scanned family photos and information—yet the parent had never been approached for permission–much less had discussions or handouts on the activity and its potential privacy risks. I have heard numerous accounts of teachers doing great things with Google docs and their classes–using Facebook or Twitter, but when I pause to ask them whether they sent out and obtained written permission slips, I either meet a dead silence or am told, “Oh, our school media waiver covers that.” The likelihood that a school media waiver meets the key criteria set down in our BC law and regulations for ‘knowledge’, ‘notice’, and ‘informed consent’ with regard to these types of activities in these technological environments is slim.

So, last month, I decided that “someone” was going to be “me”. I’ve spent about a month drafting this document I call “A K-12 Primer for British Columbia Teachers Posting Students’ Work Online“.

This document was possible only with the support of these key individuals:

  • Liesel Knaack, Director, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Rebecca Avery, e-Safety Officer, Kent County Council, United Kingdom
  • Mark Hawkes, e-Learning Coordinator, Learning Division, Ministry of Education, British Columbia
  • Dave Gregg, e-Learning Officer, Learning Division, Ministry of Education, British Columbia
  • Larry Kuehn, Director of Research and Technology, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
  • John Phipps, Field Experience Supervisor, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia

Consider this document Version 1.0. I hope you find it useful and that you feel moved to comment and share your insights for a future version. You are free to duplicate and share it according to the Creative Commons: Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike licensing.


How to Praise Kids–Better

November 18, 2010
Pat on the Back & Thumbs Up

Credit: under Creative Commons

I was going through my back magazines and found this little snippet that I clipped. It’s been floating on my desk & I want to remember & share it,  so I thought I’d put it in my blog.  As both a teacher, teacher of pre-service teachers and a mom, it has many applications for me. It’s even a handy reminder for administrators! It reminds us that as adults, our praise of children–or of others–should be genuine, meaningful, and specific to what the person did.

The table is adapted from Parents magazine (November 2007, p. 9):

When you say…

It means…

Instead say…

“You’re the best writer in your class.”

The other kids are not as good as you.

“I can tell you’ve been practicing really hard. The characters in your story are so interesting–I want to read more.”

“Good girl!”

Nothing much.

“I noticed that you said please and thank you when asking to share rulers. You’ve really been working on your manners.”

“You’re a great soccer player no matter what happened on the field today.”

The adult is not being honest with you.

“I like that you kept trying even though your team had a rough day.”

“Wow, that’s the best drawing I’ve ever seen!”

The adult thinks every little thing you do is great.

“Those flowers are very colorful, and I like how your picture tells a story.”

Parents As Partners in Safer Technology Practice

November 4, 2010

These days we are more conscious of safer technology practices for teachers and students. Often we forget that some of the foundational learning around technology occurs at home and outside of school. Parents and older siblings are often a child’s first exposure to tech use via observation and some hands-on sharing.

In the early years of school, there are many bridging programs that support early literacy and numeracy activities in the home. These are designed to better prepare our young students for their later years. We do little formal or informal home-school bridging around technology use. While we might rightly assume that most children live in a house with others who can read, write & do math at the basic levels required by society. (Of course, there are notable exceptions.) Assuming that older members of a child’s home are technologically literate and practice “safe surfing” is a much bigger stretch—one that we as educators should rarely make. I would suggest that every school or district provide a home technology literacy strategy that reaches beyond the “did-you-see-&-sign-our-acceptable-use-policy” approach.

Here’s my first suggestion. Create a tip sheet—or section—in your newsletters at the beginning of school. Add to it throughout the year. If your school’s on board, do it via the school newsletter. If it’s not, do it in your newsletter. Tips you might include are:

  • Keep the computer your child is using in a “public” space.
  • Monitor your child’s activities on the computer.
  • Talk to your child about what s/he is doing. For example, “How did you hear about this site? What’s so great about this site? What kinds of things can you do here?” This lets them know that you are actually paying attention and are interested in what they are doing with technology.
  • Activate the parental controls via your Internet Service provider or internet browser to block adult content.
  • When young, establish a “screen name” for your child & do not let them use their full—or even close to full—name so that strangers cannot identify them.
    • Periodically check that s/he is keeping this up.
  • Access to online sites & services should be phased in developmentally appropriate steps:
    • For a young child to grade 3/4, you as the parent should set up accounts on your child’s behalf on the sites you approve. Have your child participate along with you or through your account. You would keep your login information & physically login for your child when s/he wants to use the site or service. You would select any “friends” or buddies that connect with this account.
    • As your child gets older and more technologically mature (grades 4-7/8), you may allow her/him to set up accounts for her/himself on sites you approve using the screen name you established. The child would have to share the usernames & passwords for each service with you. If any site required an email address, your child would always supply Mom or Dad’s email (or a Teacher’s email address—if it’s a class thing).
    • As your child becomes more independent, and technologically mature (grade 7/8 onward), she/he may acquire her/his own email address and accounts as you deem appropriate. This would be after your child has already learned and demonstrated proper and safe internet practices. Even so, from time to time, you should check in with your child, ask him/her to show you what s/he is doing on the sites, ask how s/he found out about the site, discuss activities, things on the site that may have upset him/her, things that s/he may have liked.

At the beginning of each year, set up a strategy for supporting “acceptable” technology use at home. Maybe your school would sponsor a parent-tech night—where a tech savvy faculty member can go over tips, show parents how to set controls on browsers, what sites are used in the school, etc. In your letters, newsletters, and other communications, share tips with parents. When the school’s acceptable use policy goes out for students & parents to sign, send out a ready-to-go template (paper & electronic) for a “home-version”. If your school or district isn’t onboard—you could do it just for your classes.

Here’s what I might send out as a “home version” for elementary students. (I invite you to share yours if you draft one.)

Our House Rules of Using The Computer & Internet

  • I know using the computer & the internet is a privilege. As long as I follow the rules, I will be able to use them.
  • I will treat the computer carefully.
  • I will keep any account usernames & passwords secret.
    • I may only share them with Mom & Dad and maybe my teacher– but no one else.
  • I only use a screen name when online.
  • I only connect with my approved friends because I know I can trust them.
    • If anyone else wants to contact me, I will check with Mom & Dad or my teacher first.
  • I keep my phone number secret from people online.
  • I keep my address secret from people online.
  • I do not put pictures of myself, my friends or family, online.
    • If I want to share a picture, I will ask Mom or Dad to do it.
  • I will be polite, & use appropriate language on the computer.
  • I will not say, write or put anything bad about other people online.
    • If I see, read or hear bad things about others I know, I will let my Mom, Dad or teacher know about it.
  • I will not visit sites that talk about or show gambling, drugs, alcohol or naked people.
  • If I see, read or hear things that are not good for kids, I will let my Mom, Dad or teacher know about it.

Do you, your school, or district have a home-school bridging strategy or technique to share? Please do.