1. Thanks for advocating for positive change and supporting innovation. I wonder how much time decision makers took to talk to Mr. Gomez and parents about the rationale and benefits to his approach. One possible compromise could have been the establishment of a closed social network like NING that fosters communication but may better protect the privacy of young children.

  2. plarkin


    I would suggest that the parents go to the school board and discuss how this teacher created a resources that had helped them to become more engaged in the education of their children and ask how this type of resource could be taken away. This just doesn't add up!? We need more engagement of this type by parents and not less! Bravo to Matt for thinking outside the box! As you say, we need teachers who model this type of thinking for their students. I am saddened to think that this type of thing would be stifled by a school district and left to wonder if they expect the same narrow-minded approach by their teachers when constructing lessons for their students?

  3. Karissa

    Well written post George. I do applaud the teacher in his efforts to share in learning. In our school, one of the means of communication is something called the Agenda. While this may have the ability to be an effective tool, the reality is that the teacher does not have the time to send an individual written message to 20 plus parents. Facebook is a means to accomplish just that, it can send a broad message to the parents on the page. Safety concerns of course are rampant, but those are often driven by a lack of understanding. I am unsure of the extent of this teacher's facebook use, but I do know that most parent's concerns over Facebook are the sharing of pictures and locations. This can be avoided of course. Facebook does have security features. So, to sum that up, yes administrators and parents alike need to understand the Global shift of technology and Social Media. It can enhance learning, and ultimately as you mention if the children do not understand how it is used then they will be left behind. Using technology doesnt mean we forget or lessen the other means of learning (which I would adamantly oppose, such as Arts), it just means we keep pace with the ever changing world through a certain medium.

  4. Britt Gow

    Thanks for giving Matt Gomez's issue a wider audience, George. I was just as curious and affronted as you seem to be when I read about Matt having to shut down a successful line of communication with the parents of his kindergarten children. As a secondary teacher, I also like to "push the boudaries", try new strategies to engage middle years students and give them opportunities to use technology as adults do. I am lucky that my principal is supportive of innovation and allows me to take risks with teaching and learning. Although Facebook is blocked at school (it is a productivity killer!) I have closed groups for my senior students and pages for posting links to relevant articles, videos and other resources. I honestly believe that if there were more responsible adults as role models on FB, it would be less of the ghetto it is now.

  5. Traditionalism fears the new, "The shock of the New" The loom breakers the Luddites, technological innovation shunned for the familiar, history is littered with these examples, we have seen it before, history always shows these movements up as errors of judgement. But when innovation stifles teacher enthusiasm and potentially disengages students, then we really have to think. How long will Matt stay in education if he is encouraged to take risks to innovate? A sad outcome and speaks volumes of the political nature of education, the inertia and fear.

  6. mrsenorhill

    I think the key shame here is that Matt's work seemed to be authentic communication with the families of his students. It was an always open, ever-present, public forum/platform for the relationships every teacher seeks to build with their parents.

    I teach in Missouri, which has recently been in the public eye over the outlawing of teacher/student facebook relationships. The problem with the discourse however has been that the people who "get it" (mostly teachers and some families) and the people who "don't get it" have conducted two separates debates regarding the validity of facebook in the classroom. One group speaks of "openess" and one group speaks of "safety". The problem is that these aren't conflicting viewpoints, and as folks on this thread have alluded two, those who speak of openness value the safety of their students very highly. Those who argue on the side of safety want the same quality learning experiences as educators, they just don't make the connection between social networking and education.

    Unfortunately the discussion regressed to "midwestern idiots" vs. "liberal perverts", which got us nowhere on this issue, and nowhere towards crafting a strategy for true safety in an open digital world.

    The opposite end is that our school has a facebook page only used as a "web page" of sorts. It is uni-directional, not open to comments or posts form community members. The school posts information, but information is not able to be shared with the school.

    This is even more short-sighted than not allowing facebook into the school community. It justifies facebook as a marketing tool, but does not justify the ability of family members to communicate with the school itself. It's the difference between hearing and listening.

    Social networking is a disruption. It will continue to make headway. Implementation grows each day, and it will continue to. It's our job (as a community of everyone interested in the education of young people) to ensure that it is used in the most constructive way possible, with safety AND exploration balanced as best possible.

  7. […] the teachers who try to take away the student’s cellphone, or the administrators that forced Matt Gomez to shut down his class Facebook page.  All the parents had signed off on it, but concerns about privacy were still cited.  And that […]

  8. […] to say in education and should be used.  We need to take the shackles off of our educators (that have been hired and are obviously trusted) and help them make this change we are clamouring to see.  As Derek Sivers says, […]

  9. I keep listening to the news update talk about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i get some?

  10. […] The Power to Kill Innovation – I was disheartened to see a Facebook Page created by a Kindergarten teacher in the states being shut down due to insufficient knowledge on the use of it in the classroom and with the learning community.  This article really shows what can happen to a teacher that will dishearten them if we as administrators are not comfortable with emerging trends and technologies. […]

  11. […] for her staff.  Instead of killing innovation because she is scared of “Facebook” (as outlined in this post), Shauna is modelling an effective way she can be using this technology to connect with […]

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