Teachers in New South Wales are now able to participate in online conversations with students and other users via social media services like Facebook and Twitter thanks to a revision of the Department of Education and Training's (DET) social media policy.
The new social media guidelines apply to all staff in the department, and allow staff to participate in online conversations on "social networking sites, wikis, blogs, microblogs, video and audio sharing sites and message boards" to discuss content.
The DET has provided its staff with 12 guidelines (PDF) to follow, which include asking staff to identify themselves as members of the department when engaging online, to be transparent and to "be human" in their conversations.
The DET has also gone to great length in the document to stress that online content has the potential to be archived and indexed by search engines, seeding it online for an extended period of time.
"Consider what you say before you say it — it'll be on the web for a long time!" it said.
The department has also asked staff and teachers not to pick fights online and to comply with the department's code of conduct as well as the social media guidelines imposed on students.