I’ll preface this topic by saying I’m surrounded by teachers. My wife is a teacher. I have a grandma, a mother-in-law, 5 cousins, countless friends that are teachers. I have a degree in early childhood education (PreK-3rd Grade). So I know teachers.
One (of the many) complaints that teachers can have is communication. Whether it be staff-to-staff, staff-to-parent, staff-to-administration or even staff-to-student. Other than email, what is one thing that nearly all of these groups use? Social media.
With our Gen-X & Gen-Y teachers beginning to be the norm as our parents begin to retire, social media is something that a lot of our teachers are familiar, if not experts of. Most parents of the children are in the age group of social media and we know that the students are. So why ignore the vast possibilities of social media as a communication tool? Here are some ways that schools should embrace social media:
Do we still need to waste paper sending home classroom or school-wide newsletters? I’m sure many schools have evolved to an e-newsletter, but even that seems outdated. Go ahead and post videos, pictures and upcoming events on the school’s Facebook page. There is an obvious security concern, but that is something each school has to establish before doing any kind of work like this online.
When I was doing my student teaching in Yellow Springs, OH, I established a classroom web page that featured a blog for the kids to post messages, write articles and share information. That was 6 years ago. I still don’t see schools doing that at all. It’s embarrassingly simple to set up a blog for students to post to. Don’t you think a kid would be excited to do work that anyone in the world could see?
Parents, teachers, administrators, students. 4 levels of communication, rarely do they meet. There is a level of frustration (usually hidden) between each level of communication. Having a central location to have discussions of decisions, ideas, etc would be a great way to level the playing field.
These are just a few easy ways for schools to embrace social media. I understand that we live in a world where parents are afraid of little Johnny’s picture being online, or someone having their feelings hurt because of something someone said. But in a time where everyone seems to have a strong opinion on education, shouldn’t there be a way to harness that power?
What do you think about schools using social media? What are some other ways that you see social media being a tool that educators can use in the classroom?