Monday, March 14, 2011

Classroom Facebook?

At a recent faculty meeting in my preschool, many of the teachers were complaining that parents never read the bi-weekly class letters. The letters, which are posted to our school’s Moodle site, contain information about the current classroom themes and recent events and projects, as well as upcoming events for parents' calendars. Teachers often include wonderful photos of the students engaged in learning or exploring something new. What parent wouldn't want to check this out, right? Well, the problem is that they aren't. We don't have any great answers as to why not, other than Moodle is cumbersome/impossible to check on a handheld device, which is how many of our parents stay connected.

This got me thinking. Why not use Facebook as a way to communicate with parents? After all, most of our parents are already on Facebook. Half jokingly, I suggested this idea at that same faculty meeting. I say "half jokingly" because I knew that it would not go over easily. Like all schools, our administration and faculty are greatly concerned about internet safety and privacy, especially for our youngest students. But is the idea of Facebook as a means for a classroom teacher to communicate with families such a far-fetched idea? Many of the teachers at the meeting immediately began discussing the "how-to’s" of such an endeavor. They immediately recognized that "yes, in fact, parents would read a Facebook page". But almost immediately, the concerns too came up. How would we make it secure, how would we limit access to just our parents, how would we ensure that our parents used proper etiquette while on the classroom page?

So, I’ve recently been given the task of figuring this all out. Is it possible for our preschool to set up Facebook pages for each of our classes? I would love to hear from any of you who have ideas or suggestions that might help me along in this process. If you are a teacher, how do you currently communicate with your parents? Or if you are a parent, what would you think of a Facebook page for your child's class?

You might also check out one of Christopher Dawson's recent blogs, "Will it ever be time for Facebook?" It is an interesting read, but the comments that follow are where the real discussion takes place. Let me know what you think.

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