The End of Facebook in my Class
My class Facebook page is shutting down this week. I was told that the district does not support it and thus must close it down. I knew this might happen, it was a risk I took in trying something so unknown without permission. I had prepared myself for this day. The page was very successful and I feel I met my goal of showing that there is more we can do to engage parents (see HERE) . Actually the success of the page is what led to its demise. The great teachers I work with also wanted to use the tool and parents began to ask why I was the only one using it. This made my principal need to address the situation and the final solution is closing it down. (Curious how I used Facebook in the class? Here are some examples)
I know there are other tools out there that are more accepted for use in the class. Well I can’t use those either. I was told is that if technology is not “approved” then we cannot use it. I guess we must let others show us things can be successful before we use them or the idea must come from the administration dept. So much for finding things that work in your class and bringing your passion to the room. This top-down way of professional development must be adjusted. My district must realize that teachers are capable of finding things that work in their classroom and intelligent enough to use them. We have been a leader in education and technology for many years but now I fear we are falling behind. Look no further than my last training on web 2.0 tools. The focus was on word clouds and Google earth… yes tools that almost everyone in the nation already knows about. Actually the first 20 minutes of the training were spent defining web 2.0 tools. The culture must change when it comes to professional development. It is time to let teachers led the way in trainings. The edcamp model clearly shows the value in this way of thinking.
Next, I was told that one of the main reasons they don’t support using social media type tools with parents is they really don’t want parent “comments.” They are perfectly content with the sterile “news” model of communication. I really don’t know how to respond to this. I will just say that relationships are everything in my classroom. It is the foundation for everything I do. Parent interaction and feedback is valuable! There are so many schools that would do anything to get parents involved and we are pushing them away. I have more to say but will stop there…
Regardless of the success I have shown and the information I collected showing the tool the district uses was not working, I am still being told the district tool is the only one I can use. I still plan to stretch the boundaries when I feel strongly about something, and I will not give up trying to engage the parents of my class.
Thank you to all who have supported me on this journey and I am still available to help others wanting to use Facebook in the class. I might have tried and failed, but I learned a lot about the importance of a true home-school connection in the process.