Saturday, 26 January 2013

Connecting With Parents

            This week I came across an article (click here) that helped me reflect on the importance of how social media can be a valuable tool to coordinate and connect with parents. I found it through following Edutopia on Twitter. (I have found the Eduptopia website to be super empowering for how it connects it’s followers to up-to-date educational resources and solutions.)

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.


  1. I really enjoyed your post. The video presentations would be a fun way to allow family to view different presentations and class plays!

  2. Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. Making connections with parents and guardians is important. Choosing the right tool, if there is a right tool, is difficult. In the past I have found any communication to parents and guardians has been well received and appreciated. While all of the methods described in the article are excellent, I am surprised that good old fashioned email was not listed.
    Thanks again for a great article.

  3. Good coverage of the social media options, Rebecca. As I find parents becoming more and more connected, it is important to try to catch them in their preferred medium. Unfortunately this is often a moving target as some check email every few days, and others have 3 social networks all feeding to their smart phone!!! Parents (and the rest of society!) are almost expecting that we communicate across ALL mediums, lest they be missed. An 'all together' app like HootSuite or ifttt might answer this call. By publishing a blog, but automating it's release to all of the above, you not only catch all parents, but save yourself a boatload of work too! All the best in your upcoming placements...

  4. As much as it can be a pain (in terms of time commitment), I've really come to love old fashioned email as a means to connect with parents. It took some time to learn how to communicate well using, but as a one on one tool I find that parents are starting to prefer it to the even older fashioned phone call or meeting in person.

  5. Hi Rebecca! Neat post. Like Stephanie said , I think the video presentations would be really cool way to allow family to view different things that the class may be involved in. Thanks for the article!

  6. Wow.. so many ways to connect! I think it would be cool to do the YouTube thing sometimes.. but I would probably stay with emailing. Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned? Great post though! Gave me some helpful information. :)