Most of the time, many of us consider traditional means of communicating with parents: such as notes home in the backpack, newsletters, or flyers. But how often do newsletters get lost? Perhaps there can be a better way of communicating with parents that is more up-to-speed, and a way that helps schools go paper-less. Thus, I believe social media is a means that allows the connections we make to parents to be all that much stronger, richer, and more valuable.
I believe connecting through social media with parents is important for a number of reasons. Through social media you can offer activities or specific learning assignments that parents can do at home to perhaps strengthen or enhance their child’s learning process. Also, through social media, such as a classroom website, or a blog you could give a summary of what the class participated in, and what the proceeding day’s assignments are. This would allow for both parents and students to stay on top of a homework schedule.
This article discussed 6 main ways that teachers can connect to parents via social media.
(For all of these means of using social media, I believe it would be important to gain consent before posting pictures or videos of students, as well as perhaps only using first names to protect student privacy. )
1. Facebook: By creating a professional Facebook page for your classroom, you can update parents about upcoming trips, school performances or recent student work. A very large population of people have Facebook these days, and many people check it throughout the day, so it creates the possibility of parents being able to quickly comment, like, or give feedback when they go to check their Facebook.
2. Twitter: Personally, I am not quite sold on this means of connecting to parents. Twitter seems somewhat of an informal means of communication. However, the article did say that Twitter was a valuable tool for allowing parents to view tweets about the terrific things that were happening in their school.
3. Blogging: Instead of answering the same questions over and over again, clarify what you mean for upcoming events, for student homework, or what you did that day by blogging about it. That way parents can access accurate information and you can have more time to devote to other parts of your job instead of receiving multiple phone calls.
4. Tumblir: I think Tumblir creates a unique opportunity for students to have a say in their education. On a Tumblir site, students would be able to upload videos, artwork, presentations or stories that they have written so parents can see what their children have been up to.
5. YouTube: By creating a YouTube channel, you could upload videos of class presentations, school plays, or you could get your students to create and upload their own video presentations for group projects. This helps parents stay connected with what their child is being involved with at school.
6. Live Stream: This is something I had never considered before. The article suggested the use of LiveStream where parents can view things like morning announcements as they are happening, or if they can’t make parent-teacher visits face to face at the school, they can be LiveStreamed in with the teacher. Personally, I believe I would prefer parent teacher visits to be happening face-to-face if at all possible, but if this provides the means for parents who absolutely cannot make it under the circumstances, than this is a creative tool for that.
I think each of these tools holds value for helping parents to connect with teachers. Ultimately, I think that parents and teachers both want the best for their students and social media helps to provide a means for parents to be updated in what is going on in their child lives, as well as ways in which to promote their personal growth.