Is Social Media the only way to communicate with Students?

Is Social Media the only way to communicate with Students?

It's happening.  Again.

We love that our daughter is in the bands program, however the lack of school provided tools and resources for groups to communicate is frustrating. This leads each individual group to form their own communication tool using whatever-app-dejour is out there for use.

This past summer it was the Band app. This seems to be a way for groups to communicate en-masse. It was selected, I believe, to provide a common platform for all members to communicate with instead of text messages. This is expected to be a real-time platform, meaning: "The rehearsal today is CHANGED to indoors due to the weather and meet at 1 instead of 2PM." That requires push notifications to be enabled for users to hope that they get them in real time. More interruptions. More things to check.

Who wouldn't want to free themselves from the chaos?

Another tool already in use by the school Bands is the Remind app. This, much like Band, is a way to communicate near-time messages to students and parents. From their website:

Everything is easier, but who is asking if it is needed?

Some of the other classrooms have used Remind, but then others have used Class DoJo. That one only popped up for one year and we haven't seen it since (yet). Their website helpfully shares that:

So 95% of U.S. schools are using it. What they don't say is, it may only be one classroom in the school. There could be 10 other apps in the other classrooms in use today, so just wait until next year and things will change. Again.

Today it is Facebook. We have a student in a Winter Percussion ensemble and this group uses Facebook (same Band Department that uses Remind already). Great, now we have to expose our kid to Facebook in its entirety, just so she can see the group page and get updates on rehearsals and schedules? Seriously? Does anyone even care about what we are throwing in the faces of our children? This will require all the students to be assimilated into checking a Facebook feed many times per day looking for updates, meanwhile they are  getting bombarded by other interesting (read: shiny!) things that will be curated for them on Facebook. This is especially an issue if the sole purpose you are there is for this group and this group may only have a posting every few days or so. Now the students are checking-in frequently and are susceptible to going down ratholes of what is presented to them by the Social Media Machine.

Congratulations, you have finally reached the 2000 notifications / interruptions per day level! Collect your star! Soon you will reach the 3000 level!!

I know that some form of communication, both for students and parents is needed, but having dozens of conduits to navigate seems unwieldy and irresponsible. Add in the mix of Social Networks here and the associated costs with them and we have a recipe for making students with even higher levels of anxiety.

We read about the increased anxiety everywhere. Are we willing to do something about it?

I highly recommend reading the book Generation Z Unfiltered ( by Tim Elmore. It shines a bright light on what struggles our youth are facing these days with school, home, extra-curricular activities and more.

Whatever happened to the phone tree? Remember that? Joe calls Mike to let him know the change. Mike calls Sarah. Sarah calls Toby. Toby calls Mark. Mark calls Joe to let him know the tree made it all the way through? The phone tree meant that some people might just end up missing an event or they showed up when it was cancelled. However it did not require that we have 1000's of notifications per day reminding us of what we are getting and missing out on.

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