Is your school administration or your school’s PTA using Facebook to communicate with parents? Are your teachers using social media in the classroom to help teach?
According to one website 90 percent of teachers are using social media in their classrooms or in their professional careers. I think that numbers seems high for in the classroom but I do think there are lots of opportunities to use social media and communicate with kids/teens in ways in which they are comfortable. Buzzom offers ideas for teachers such as:
“Use Facebook apps and groups like Flashcards and WeRead to make learning more enjoyable
• Use Twitter to post supplementary materials and links to articles and videos, so students can learn more about the subject even outside the class
• Follow other educators on Twitter to keep up with the latest teaching trends and get new ideas
• Allow students to use Pinterest for presentations and projects
• Record your lessons and post them on YouTube, so students can review them whenever they want.
• Create a class blog, and post weekly homework assignments on it.”
(The university encourages us to let the students live Tweet us questions. They think it would help if they are too shy to speak up but then how do I know if they are screwing around on Twitter instead of listening? I will try that this term and see how it goes. )
I think though a lot of the social media sites are blocked within the elementary school. I’m not sure about middle or high school. I love the idea of using Pinterest to collaborate on projects. But you’ve got to have a teacher and a district very comfortable with social media for these ideas to work.
Our school’s PTO (they say O instead of A) started an open page last spring and has been doing a great job updating it throughout the summer. They even posted to remind parents when a new booster seat law went into effect in Arizona.
(Just to make sure we’re all talking the same lingo: An open page or fan page on Facebook can be seen by anyone. You will see it on your feed if you “like” the page. You can also create a closed group where the page is private like your own Facebook profile. Families have to be invited to join or ask to join. You will still see the info in your feed but outsiders can’t see it.)
The PTO posts reminders about ordering your supply packs, spirit wear and signing up for the student directory. (I just asked a question on the page about that because I forgot to sign up but want to be included.) They posted the times and deadlines for meet the teacher. They also were asking parents to vote to get Target gift cards for the school.
They posted school photos from the first day. Some of the photos were parent submitted, and some were of the staff. I assume any posted of the students were done with the parent’s permission. They also gave instructions on how to send your first-day photos to the yearbook organizer so they could be included.
The PTO and school both have websites but I think it’s a fast way to keep parents posted and to create community.
Last year we used a closed group for Rose’s class and that worked well for party planning. (Although I would leave the teacher off the site so you can discuss presents more easily.) What’s interesting is the parents are still using the page this year. We communicated about middle school pods and procedures on there.
I am going to email my kids’ teachers at the end of the week to see if they want me to set closed pages up for their class to use. I think it would be especially helpful for Rose’s pod in middle school where it’s four teachers.
Our swim team uses a closed group as well. It makes it very easy to ask questions about practice or meets.
So what do you think: Is Facebook a fast, easy way for the school to communicate with parents? Would you rather check the website every few days or just see posts on Facebook? Is it not fair to folks not on Facebook? Are you worried about privacy for your children? Would you use a Facebook page for your class or team? Would you want it to be a closed group or open page?
How do you feel about using social media to teach? What methods would be effective for your kids or teens? If you are a teacher what have you used in your classroom?