I received an email yesterday from a parent that made my weekend. She shared some links with me (I love the progress we are making towards being a learning community) that she thought would be beneficial to our progress using social media for innovative learning. Here is how she ended her email:
…I asked Evelyn if she knew what Facebook was and she mentioned that Mr. U taught her class about it. I think that’s really great! Although she’s too young to have an account, she knows of it from home too because she sometimes watches her Dad and Grandma play ‘Farmville’, a popular Facebook game (farm setting). Things like Facebook, blogging, Skype (web-cam), etc are becoming more and more a part of every day life, and from a child’s perspective it can appear to be all fun and games. I’m very impressed that you and your staff are ensuring that children learn how to use social media for learning through blogfolios, classroom blogs, Skype Interviews, Forest Green TV, etc, and that they are also very aware of the dangers too! Thank You!
We have put a lot of work into not only using these tools for innovative learning and instruction, but also into preparing our students to be safe while creating a positive digital identity. There has also been an enormous emphasis in communicating with parents in many different mediums (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, school council meetings,) not only on what we are doing, but why we are doing it.
I have seen that in my career that many teachers have been worried about implementing new ways of learning in the classroom because parents will be concerned about doing something “different”. What I have found in my own experience is that there are many parents who believe in this innovation and want the best for their child; we just need to communicate with them. Even better, get them involved in the process.
If you want real progress in whatever you are doing in your classroom, strong communication with parents is not only going to help them understand what you are doing, but it will also help to bring their expertise into your class. Shifting to a “learning community” where we all work together will make some amazing opportunities for our kids.
Keep communicating and keep being innovative and you will see some amazing things.