Documentation:Digital Tattoo Case Studies Project/Education/Case Study Feedback

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This page was created for use with the Digital Tattoo student team who acted as a focus group to gather feedback on one of the case studies. It includes a draft of the "Snapchat Mishap" case study and questions for feedback. The "Context" section is meant to help the focus group participants understand the goals of the project, as well as the perspective and role of teachers and teacher candidates.


Digital Tattoo Seminar for Student Teachers

Each year the Digital Tattoo Project staff team facilitates a seminar for teacher candidates in UBC's Teacher Education Program. One aspect of this is digging into the statement on the right:

  • who decides what a "higher standard" looks like?
  • what are the ethical implications implied by this statement?
  • how can prospective teachers manage their digital identities through the transition from student to professional?

These case studies are meant to help student teachers build confidence for making challenging decisions amidst often unclear policies and modern social and professional practices that involve public and private sharing via the internet.

Learning Outcomes

Workshop participants should:

  • build their confidence for decision making about posting and sharing content online.
  • practice using guidelines and resources to support decision making.
  • reflect on and discuss the multiple perspectives at play in each scenario and the implications for themselves as beginning teachers.

Session 1: Case Study #4: Snapchat Mishap

Short URL:


  • Teachers should assume that anything they post online can be found and shared, whether their social media accounts are public or private.

Table Discussion: in groups of 3-4:

1. Read the case study and consider your response to the personal reflection question as you read.

2. Discuss each question below with your group, using the resources to support your responses.

3. Take notes on your discussion to share when the large group reconvenes.

Personal Reflection

While reading the case study, consider your personal response to the following question:

Teachers can use social media accounts as a way to effectively communicate with students, but this type of communication also poses risks. How would I manage school-designated social media accounts?

Case Study

After being encouraged to take advantage of communication apps commonly used by her students as a teaching tool with her high school Social Studies classes during her practicum, Jessica decided to make teaching accounts on a few different apps and websites in order to engage her students. Her school advisor mentioned at the beginning of her practicum that he had looked her up online and suggested that, if she wanted to use social media, she should probably make her current accounts private and consider creating new accounts to use with students. After discussing the idea and getting permission to create school-related social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat with the school administrator, Jessica made the accounts under her name Ms. Yu and advised students and their parents that, though it was not a requirement, they could all add and follow her teaching accounts on these apps instead of her personal accounts. Doing so meant that she could send out links for news articles that were relevant to their class material, communicate with parents and students about assignments and other classroom news, and get in touch with students even outside of class hours when they had quick questions or wanted to share images and other items they found relevant to their schoolwork. Thus far, Jessica has found her students to be engaged in their work and has received positive comments from her supervising teacher, who has found that her incorporation of social media adds creativity to her lessons.

While teaching a unit about BC elections, Jessica was determined not to share her personal political views with students, despite her being politically active outside of school, as she did not want to impress her views on anyone or upset any students, parents, or other teachers who felt differently. Instead, she was focusing on the ways in which elections were conducted in BC and decided to run a mock election with her students. As a part of the unit, she wanted students to study and create political campaigns, encouraging them to take and share photos of real campaign strategies they found with her school-designated social media accounts so that they could discuss them in class. She advised them to check the accounts, as she would also share images she found outside of school.

One day, after taking pictures of some political flyers and posters she found on her way home and sharing them with the class account, she decided to post one of the posters that she particularly disagreed with to her personal Snapchat story, captioning it “How could anyone possibly vote for this f&#%ing moron?!?” A short time later, she received a Snapchat message from one of her students that said, “Tell us what you really think Ms. Y!” Realizing that she had accidentally sent the message from her school account instead of her personal account, Jessica quickly removed the image from the account's story feature, but could see that multiple students and some of their parents had already opened it and she had a notification indicating that someone had taken a screenshot of the post.

The next day, her school advisor informed her that he had received complaints from some of the parents of her students. They were upset after seeing the image and felt that it was inappropriate for a teacher to express political opinions to students, especially with that type of language. Jessica was told she would have to meet with her facilitator and the school administrator to decide how to handle her mistake. She is now trying to figure out how she can discuss this with her students and their parents, and she is also concerned that this could jeopardize her practicum, as she has heard stories of other teachers being disciplined for political posts on social media. She also thinks it may be best to delete all of her school-related social media accounts in order to avoid having anything like this happen again.

Discussion Questions

1. Does Jessica's use of Snapchat violate any social media policies and/or the Teacher Education Office’s practicum guidelines?

Consider these resources as you answer:

  • Read the "Staff Guidelines" section on page 3.
  • Read the “Respect for Others” and “Responsibility” sections on page 5.

2. How should Jessica approach this situation with students, parents, and school administrators? Can she turn this into a positive experience? Would you recommend that she continue using social media in her teaching despite this incident?

Consider these resources as you answer:

  • Read "Making Connections" on pg. 45.

3. Do you plan to utilize social media as a tool in your classroom? How would you incorporate social media into your instruction while managing the associated risks?

Consider these resources as you answer:

4. What do you consider before sharing your personal beliefs and opinions on social media? Would you share more on a private account than you would on an account that your students see? Are there any beliefs or opinions that you would avoid sharing on social media altogether?

Consider these resources as you answer:

  • Read the section titled "Social Media."

Questions for Feedback

  • How did the scenario, discussion questions, and resources help you meet the goal of the case study?
  • Do you feel more prepared to handle this scenario, and similar scenarios, as a result of this case study?
  • How did this case study help you think about your social media presence?
  • Do you have any other feedback regarding the case study itself, the discussion questions, or the provided resources?