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jrc1963 posted 10/2/2013 18:35 PM

That kids under the age of 13 should have to sign up for a Facebook account in order to complete required classwork/school work?

My DS is in Honor Algebra 1 which is technically a 9th grade math class. The majority of students in his class are 8th graders (he's a 7th grader).

Obviously, the vast majority of kids in our district taking Algebra 1 (honors or not) are 9th graders (14 or 15)

He came home the other day and said he had to sign up for an online website called Algebra Nation but in order to be on it he has to have a Facebook account.

I am highly opposed to him being on social media of any kind... I don't think it's really necessary to use social media in schools...

He's not even old enough by Facebook's own policy to have an account. In order to sign up, he'd have to lie about his age.

His teacher is requiring him to complete worksheets and watch videos on this website.

What would you do?

wifehad5 posted 10/2/2013 18:45 PM

I'd talk to his teacher to see if he's thought this all the way through. I'd expect the teacher to make special considerations in the case of kids that aren't 13.

jrc1963 posted 10/2/2013 18:48 PM

He is a She...

I tried sending an email, but got no response.

Dreamboat posted 10/2/2013 19:00 PM

No, a child under 13 absolutely should not be required to have a Facebook account to complete school work. That is absurd. As you mentioned, you have to LIE about your age to get the FB account! What is THAT teaching children.

Mind you, I am all for the schools using technology as a teaching aid. But FB is not the way to go, IMO. And to require it for middle school kids is just ...absurd!

I would email the teacher again with your concerns and cc the department head or counselor. Explain that your son cannot get a FB account because of his age and you are opposed to lying about his age in order to get the account. Ask that the material be made available in some other format.

And if that does not work, go to the principal.

hurtbs posted 10/2/2013 19:02 PM

Call the teacher first thing in the morning. It may have been a miscommunication (many websites have an option sign in through FB). IF you are unable to communicate with the teacher tomorrow then follow up with Principle. Try to speak to teacher first.

It is actually illegal for your child to sign up for FB until they are 13. I am speaking as an educator.

travels posted 10/2/2013 19:11 PM

I teach 3rd grade. So, no to Facebook. I don't even have a Facebook account.

I am thinking of creating a Twitter account that would be under my control where the kids can tweet questions or comments to authors. I can let the kids know if the author responded, or not. I'm still very much up in the air about this, though. I also haven't run it past my principal.

There is an English teacher in our high school who posts homework and class updates on a Twitter account. It's a locked account and she only approves current parents and students.

As for emailing the teacher, our school email was down for several days. It was working for about half a day. Then it was back down again for a couple of days. The tech department was unable to "rescue" any emails that were sent, but we didn't see. We sent home a letter explaining it to parents, but we don't know how many parents actually were given the letter by their kiddos.

So, email or call the teacher again. Then I would followup with the principal.

jrc1963 posted 10/2/2013 19:28 PM

It wasn't a miscommunication... the website is only available in Facebook. It's a "Planet" in the "Facebook Universe". Whatever that means???

And It was a required assignment because it's on the teacher's website page under Homework. Do blah blah blah thru Algebra Nation.

Travels - I teach in the same district that my son attends and all our email is thru the same server, so I know email is functional. I have been getting work emails all night.

I have a Facebook account for myself, but I don't really want to hand over control of Facebook to my kid.

If it was just printing worksheets that'd be doable, but he has to watch instructional videos as well.

I'm not at all opposed to virtual learning or online courses at all... just the Facebook thing.

[This message edited by jrc1963 at 8:24 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday)]

wifehad5 posted 10/2/2013 20:18 PM

What's this teacher's policy on when to expect a response to e-mail communication? All of the teachers I've met with this year have set expectations on how often and when they check e-mail. Most have said if they don't respond within 24 hours to send a 2nd e-mail.

jrc1963 posted 10/2/2013 20:24 PM

I don't think she has a set policy. But if I don't receive a reply by tomorrow I'll email her again and take up the chain of command.

Nature_Girl posted 10/2/2013 20:27 PM

No. Just no.

IRN2006 posted 10/2/2013 21:07 PM

We go to private school, but the student handbook addresses Facebook. Students aren't supposed to have Facebook accounts if they don't meet the age requirements, per school policy.

Do public schools have handbooks like that? I can't believe there isn't a district policy on social media....

Nature_Girl posted 10/2/2013 21:13 PM

See if the same vid is on YouTube.

Going_Under posted 10/3/2013 00:36 AM

It looks like it is also available on iPhone, iPad, and Android as well, would that be an option for your DS?

I think it is ridiculous. My DD is on FB, but she is 17 and has had hers for less than a year. My oldest son was 17 when he got his FB account. No kid of any age in any school should be required to sign up for FB.

Oddly enough, after checking it out, I am now going to show Algebra Nation to my DD!

I think I am over-tired because I cannot stop saying "It's a 'Planet' in the 'Facebook Universe'" over and over. Therefore, I have those laughing spasms that you just cannot stop no matter how hard you try.

Sad in AZ posted 10/3/2013 04:40 AM

Maybe she expects the parents to log in for the kids on their own Facebook accounts? I agree, however, that this is stupid, and I hope the principal backs you up. In fact I would take this all the way to the school board if necessary.

jrc1963 posted 10/3/2013 07:12 AM

I got an answer from the teacher...

She back peddled a bit and said it wasn't "mandatory" - even tho she's assigning it as homework.

Then she suggested that I let him view the videos thru MY Facebook account while supervising him.

For the record, DS is always supervised when on the computer!

Anyway... That's where I'm going to leave it for now.

tushnurse posted 10/3/2013 08:01 AM

We had to do this for my kids same reason, in classes with older kids. Same type of programs too it sounds like. We made a facebook, with just first initial, and last name, and set the privacy on high, and then the kids weren't really allowed to be on it for anything other than school.

Honestly facebook is fading into the background now, my kids are more into twitter, instagram, and snapchat.

It's tough to know how to keep up with the technology, and what's right and what isn't. My daughter needed to clarify something with her golf coach so she sent a text, this is a evidently a BIG no-no. Parents can, kids cannot. I understand the reasons, but sheezsh!!!
Try to teach a kid to be responsible for themselves, and they get balled out for doing it.

StrongerOne posted 10/4/2013 16:48 PM

What is the school district's policy on Facebook etc?

What is the school's policy?

Has the school or teacher got s policy on ensuring that all students have access to homework and resources outside of school? For example, do they have a policy for making stuff accessible for students without tech at home?

For the future, I would loop in all of the following persons when corresponding with w teacher about issues that have a larger policy issue behind them (as in, is this appropriate homework, as opposed to what is the homework):

Lead teacher (if your child is at a school with teaching teams for grade levels or subjects)
Assistant principal for the grade level or team

If anyone else gets cc'd in (say the asst principal cc's the tech teacher), include that person in all subsequent correspondence on the question.

Speaking from personal experience, you may get a rep as a bit of a pain in the ass, but your questions will get addressed fairly quickly because everyone can see just who is slacking on responses.

Eta: if the school does not have a policy re Facebook for schoolwork, they ought to -- substantial privacy issues there. I work at a university and we can't require students to participate in any sort of online hosting that could potentially violate FERPA (educ records access and privacy law). Privacy for minor students is I think even stricter.

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 4:51 PM, October 4th (Friday)]

jrc1963 posted 10/4/2013 17:39 PM

I don't know the district's policy on using Facebook for homework (and I should since I teach in this district as well)

But I do know that within the schools themselves, Facebook is blocked from all computers, even teachers computers. I can't access mine during the day at work if I'm using a network computer or school wifi.

So it seemed very strange to me indeed that a online resource that exists solely in Facebook should be required for homework.

BTW - When I sent my initial email I CC'd the principal - I didn't bother CC'ing all the other folks. I figured Teacher and Principal were enough.

And I'm pretty sure I've already got a PITA reputation at this school... But oh well.

jrc1963 posted 10/4/2013 17:40 PM

Nature-Girl - it's not one video it's a whole series of instruction videos with corresponding worksheets.

Gaby - no iPhone, iPad or Android phone in this house for him to use.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 10/4/2013 18:40 PM

I find it odd that fb would be required. My kid is 14 and not allowed ANY social media. It's just too dangerous. I just gave her an email on her birthday and copies of all emails are sent to me, so I can keep her safe.

There are plenty of educational sites that don't require FB. Personally, my first thoughts would go to "Why does this teacher want access to students through FB?", but that's just me and I'm sure I'm over-protective and maybe a bit paranoid.

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