Parent Engagement and Social Media

Like many of my fellow Edu-bloggers, my posts often reflect both my parent and teacher perspective. As a parent,  I worry that my children, while in school,  are not experiencing the realities that technologies offers in the real world. As a parent, I worry that my children are being limited at school and are not accessing their full potential due to both the lack of infrastructure in schools, as well as the lack of teacher education around the use of social media tools as educational resources and literacies. As a teacher, my worry for my students is mostly about online safety (although I also worry that we are missing a big opportunity to prioritize a medium that has become dominant for most of our children). I know that my students are using social media the moment school ends (Facebook, Twitter, texting, MMORPG’s…. ).
But who is teaching these skills? Most schools are not explicitly teaching online social media skills to students. If they are, it is taught as a lesson or unit (ie: cyber bullying) and not practiced authentically- as part of daily learning and socializing. So, if schools are not teaching them – are parents? Some are. Some want to. Some are not sure what to teach, because they don’t know it themselves. Mostly, kids are teaching themselves and each other. I am not comfortable with that. And so, I am committed to helping other parents understand their tech savvy kids – so that they are better equipped to support and direct them – if and when their child is confronted with a tough online situation. I also want parents to see the beauty in the web. It is not just a “dangerous” place, but a place for creativity, design, collaboration, sharing and learning. The following resource was part of a presentation for a group of parents at the Waterloo District School Board, also committed to better understanding their tech savvy kid.