This is a blog post from kindergarten teacher Matt Gomez in Texas. He wrote it last year when he first launched a Facebook page for his class. The Facebook experiment was very successful on many fronts, parent engagement being primary among them. I would encourage you to read the post (and follow all the links!) as well as the comments left by others.
Two weeks ago, he posted this: http://mattgomez.posterous.com/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)My journey into Matt's world began when I read about it on George Couros' blog in a post entitled The Power to Kill Innovation (I added a few more RSS feeds this morning as I checked out my regulars...yikes, the list continues to grow). The title of this post caught my eye, and I was quickly led into a thoughtful discussion of social media, its power, and its potential as a tool for learning. I loved reading Matt's posts about the types of things he could share with his kindergarten families via Facebook, and the screen shots he included let me SEE what he was talking about. I was so grateful for his willingness to share the experiment, including details about how to set it up to protect privacy, and then I was saddened to see it go, in what I view as a fear-based reaction to information that is no longer under anyone's control. Regardless of my personal opinion on the matter, however, I learned to look at this issue of social networking as an educational tool from a variety of perspectives: teachers, parents, administrators and other ed-tech specialists. There is great value for me in considering points of view I wouldn't have otherwise.
Honestly, I used to think following a series of links was a waste of my time, as I didn't really know where to start or where to finish. My earliest attempts to "surf the 'net" didn't really go anywhere, or perhaps I was just missing the big waves. :) My RSS feeds, however, have changed all that. I frequently find my way to places I've never visited, but are now recommended by professional educators whose opinions I respect and trust. There's never a shortage of inspiration out there! I'll share more of these journeys, in hopes that you might find a resource, or a particular writer, that inspires you as well.