Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teachers Using Social Media to communicate with Parents

Teachers are turning to twitter, blogging and Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with parents about their child's learning, and according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) education expert Associate Professor Margaret Lloyd it is a trend which is meeting the needs of busy parents with time restrictions.

Professor Lloyd said contemporary teaching involved teachers' blogging with students to capture their learning, and tweeting and emailing parents with information about the school day.

"Gone are the days of finding a scrunched-up newsletter in the bottom of a bag, squished between the rotten banana and mouldy sandwich," she said.

"Parents are now able to find out what their children are doing, virtually as they are doing it." Professor Lloyd said in many families today both parents worked, meaning parents were not able to be as involved in their child's schooling as they perhaps would like.

Prof Margaret Lloyd
"This trend of using digital technology as a means of connecting with parents, essentially bringing parents into the classroom, is really taking off," Professor Lloyd said. "It also fits with the trend that the walls of the classroom are disappearing."

Professor Lloyd said the notion of classes fitting inside four walls was a thing of the past, with digital technology rapidly being used as a communication tool between teachers and parents, teachers and students, students and students and teachers and teachers.

"For example it is common for students in one classroom to work with students in another classroom halfway across the world using digital technology," she said.

"There is also a change in the relationship between teachers and students with teachers nowadays able to see the students' work as they are working and comment and provide feedback progressively.

"There is a huge change in the way we are teaching and communicating." She said universities were leading the way in this method of teaching.

"At QUT we model this teaching practice. Future teachers are working on collaborative wikis, they are talking about collaborative learning and they are being afforded that enhanced teaching experience," Professor Lloyd said.

"The classroom is changing and our teaching students have to be positioned to lead that change and once they get on board, it just clicks into place."

Firstly, one wonders if the schools and teachers would be open to enabling wider Social Media forums that would allow parents to discuss general school and education matters more openly.

Thus allowing parents to see and share difficult areas and comments on potentially bad teachers /pupils and to bring group thinking into the discussion.

Secondly, this is an excellent step forward in teacher /parent communications but unfortunately, in some areas and countries the teachers and parents can be less able to use and understand the Technology, reported here.

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