P.E.I.'s Western School Board is developing a new policy for using Facebook and other social media  in the classroom.


Dale Sabean sees benefits to social media in the classroom. ((CBC))

A draft policy that sets out rules on how teachers and students can use the popular media will also likely open the door to cellphone use in the classroom.

Most students already use Facebook outside school, and board superintendent Dale Sabean believes it could be a valuable teaching tool.

"Teachers do use blogs, they do use wikis, they do have Facebook pages, and we certainly want to encourage that," Sabean told CBC News on Thursday.


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Sabean suggests that teachers could use Facebook for class discussions or for homework assignments, and that students could use their cellphones in class to do research.

While Sabean sees the potential benefits, he said firm rules will need to be in place.

"That's one of the things we're still trying to identify — how and when it works," he said. "That's why we're looking for input on the policy as to what's workable and what's not."

A quick survey of students in Charlottetown found a lot of skepticism.

"I think it's a bad idea," one student said. "It's a very easy distraction for students."

"The teacher's not going to be looking at everything we're doing with our phones," another said. "We could easily be texting other people and not paying attention."

Sabean said the draft policy will be presented to board trustees next week. Parents, teachers and students will then have a chance to comment.

The new rules could be in place this fall.