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Social media: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
Social media: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
Posted on 03/24/2017
By Christine Peets 

Does social media make it more complicated to connect with educators, or is it easier than connecting in person?  Social media is often the only way some people communicate now, but sometimes, face-to-face is best, and may be the best way to find out more about your child(ren)'s progress and discuss ways that you can become more engaged in the classroom, or the school. As everyone’s schedules are tight, connecting through social media may be less time-consuming, but it doesn’t replace the need for, or the benefits of, an in-person meeting or telephone call. Take advantage of every opportunity to meet with your child(ren)'s teacher(s), and don't wait until there is a problem to discuss. Join your local school council. If you are really keen, the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) welcomes new members.  
 
Using social media, parents may find it easier to keep up with current news about and from your child(ren)'s teachers, school, and the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). More often used are  Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/UCDSB/)  and Twitter (https://twitter.com/UCDSB). You'll soon figure out which one(s) work for you. Twitter is useful because messages are short—less than 140 characters—and may contain links to articles of interest to parents and educators, and link back to Facebook, where posts can be longer. Videos are often linked on both platforms.  UCDSB Today (http://paper.li/UCDSB/1404155016#/all) is the official e-news paper, where you will find articles from a number of different sources. School councils may have social media channels and the PIC has its own accounts with Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UCDSB.PIC/  and Twitter. Just look for @UCDSB or #UCDSB by going online to https://www.twitter.com 
 
Many teachers now use email, not only with parents, but with the students themselves. Some teachers have a “classroom newsletter” that gets sent out by email. Email might be a good option for you, but they can be a little impersonal, and you may want time to chat with the teacher. Use email to set the appointment can save a lot of “telephone tag” when you’re trying to reach the teacher or vice-versa.  How you connect with your child(ren)'s school is not as important as the fact that you are connecting.  
 
The world of social media and the digital highway may be tough to enter for some, but it gets easier once you get going, and it definitely is a good way to connect parents, students, and educators. The more lines of communication you can keep open, the better it is for everyone.  Using social media doesn't have to be complicated and it may become a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join em.”  
 
Christine Peets is the Writer-in-Residence for the Parent Involvement Committee, Upper Canada District School Board 
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