Social media has quickly become the way that people communicate with each other. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other websites like these have become common place for young people and adults alike and have replaced the practice of calling, texting, and writing letters to peers. In an effort to utilize current technology to engage families, teachers needs to research appropriate ways of “getting their message out” using social media sites. In carefully looking for ways to share calendar dates, important information concerning the school and classrooms, and curriculum guides, teachers must be aware of the pros and cons of each media site in order to find one that will best meet their needs.
In looking at social media sites that will help raise awareness for the importance of high quality early childhood education and after school care for my Pre-K program, I looked at Facebook and YouTube. These two sites were chosen primarily because they allow me to minimize public viewing with privacy settings so I can protect my students, their families, and myself from unwanted visitors to my pages. Facebook is a good fit for promoting Union City Elementary School Pre-K after school care to students, families, teachers and administration because I can post important parent information about registration, rules and consequences, days and hours of operation, curriculum information, and pictures of daily activities. Parents can comment or ask questions as needed either on the news feed or send a private message to me as the director. Facebook also will share our address and phone number to others needing information about our after school program. Each week I will post a list of our daily activities and learning goals and follow up with photos of the children engaged in fun small and large group activities. YouTube is another great media site that I will use to promote a connection between school and home. Videos of me sharing important announcements, small and large cooperative group projects, children reading, and creating special messages for parents and families are a few of the ways UCES Pre-K after school care can be used. Also I can subscribe to other channels that provide educational videos that parents can use at home to assist their child with readiness skills, such as saying the alphabet, counting, and learning nursery rhymes.
In communicating with families through social media sites, it is important to consider the possible benefits or challenges that may come up. With any type of social media, major obstacles are parent access to the internet and privacy issues concerning children. Facebook is a versatile way to publish information, photos, calendar dates, and announcements easily and make it convenient for parents to see quickly. The downside of Facebook is that if a parent shares a photo or comments on a post, it is then posted on their wall and visible for all their friends to see and this will allow information about our program and students to be less secure. I hope to alleviate some of these problems by sharing with parents the need for privacy and discouraging sharing of Pre-K after school information with their friends. Similarly, You Tube is a great site for sharing videos with families of classroom activities and allowing students to present cooperative group learning. Another benefit is that students can save their videos and watch them over an extended period of time. One negative impact of YouTube is the unlimited access students would have to other videos posted that would be inappropriate for them to view. Again, by using YouTube, it is important that parents understand exactly how I will use this social media and what the dangers are when their children use it at home. Social media has become the major form of communication between adults and youth alike so it is important for teachers and schools to become proactive in using technology effectively. When using social media, there are many concerns with posting children and their activities. By making sure to provide appropriate family education and attention to privacy, Facebook and YouTube can share exciting learning activities and important information with parents in an engaging manner quickly.