I recently read a post debating the use of social media in the classroom. He cited some interesting comments and discussion that was taking place on the New York Times website with regards to teachers and students using social media to communicate. I tend to agree with the author’s assertions but it really got me thinking about the importance of communication between teachers and parents and how technology should be used in that relationship.
Communication between teachers and parents is crucial. How much more important it seems for them to embrace social media and communication technologies…at least before the kids and teachers do! Communication channels need to be clear. Parents want to know how to reach the teachers quickly and they want to know what their kids are doing at school. Yes, I want to know that tomorrow is Wacky Wednesday and I also want to see pictures of them being wacky! More seriously, parents need to be able to contribute.
“But I’m scared of what parents might do.”, you say? Just like the arguments against using social media with kids, there will certainly be backlash against using it for teachers and parents. It seems obvious that the teacher needs to know how to use the tools effectively and manage the conversations before implementing technology for their classes. But here’s the deal:
- Parents are online and using social media tools just as much as kids are
- Conversations are happening already
- Parents have good ideas
I say bring these conversations into the light. 90% (if not more) of the communication between parents is logistics. Of course you’ll have the outraged parent from time to time that has a grown-up temper tantrum and leashes out online. Here’s my response (not a shocker here)…don’t use Facebook, use MemberHub. It’s easier to control and you can kick the irate parent out if need be. But just keep in mind a complaint is always an opportunity to make your school better. So listen. Listening is what social media is all about about anyway.
Question: What experience have you had using social media or group collaboration tools at your school?