Keeping parents apprised of their child’s academic performance has always been important for teachers. It is especially important to have close communication with parents of children who are struggling in school. New technologies are constantly being rolled out that can have a phenomenal impact on the lives of students, if applied properly. The Internet and social applications like Facebook are an excellent method of facilitating communication between parents and teachers. However, it must be done carefully in order to not violate any privacy rights of the students.
Facebook is notorious for having a wide variety of privacy settings, some of which can be quite confusing. Privacy settings are crucial to student confidentiality. Even if you never post pictures of students or mention a specific student by name, it is still best to make sure that only those people you have accepted as friends of the class are allowed to see any of your information. The most important privacy settings will be those that limit anyone but your confirmed friends from seeing information you post and limiting the ability of people to write on your wall. The first is rather obvious as you would not want people other than parents or students to be able to access details about what is happening in your classroom or school. The second may seem a bit more confusing. Why shouldn’t parents or students be able to post to your wall? Because they may inadvertently share information that is not appropriate for other people to read about, or that violates another student’s privacy. If parents or students want to contact you about something in your feed they can always message you directly.
Facebook for the Classroom
If you are going to use Facebook for classroom announcements, it is best to start with a fresh page each calendar year. This way, previous parents will not have access to information about new students and you will limit the number of people you are interacting with to those involved with current students only. While it is nice to stay in touch with old students, a class page should be just for the class you currently have. So, what should you have in your Classroom Facebook Page? Really, anything about the school or your classroom activities (excluding specific student information) is appropriate. The following ideas will give you a place to start.
- Lunch menus
- Sports activities
- Club activities
- Events and closings
- Assignments – use the note feature to post the full text of any instructions given to the class on the day you make the assignment and emphasize the due date.
- Test dates – post these as far in advance as you are able
- Lesson plans and homework - these could be posted daily, weekly, or by the chapter
Benefits of Facebook in the Classroom
With so many parents and students using Facebook, it is an easily accessible way to provide parents with the most current classroom information. Once they friend you, all class assignments will be placed into their friend feed. This will make it easier for them, and for your students, to know exactly what is going on and when assignments are due. It has never been easier to help parents help their children.
How do you use Facebook to help your students?