Lately, I have been thinking about communication, with parents, teachers, students, etc. As a school administrator, I believe I should always look for better ways to develop this. With this thought in mind, I tried out Wallwisher and received some great feedback. The link to that wall can be found here if you would like to provide some input.
I read many blogs and know of many communication tools out there, regarding social media. I would like to use many for our school. However, I wonder WHO is going to administrate all of these? The VP, tech catalyst, me, all of us??? All would require some form of administration and that takes time. I am principal and still teach at least 20%, while my VP does the same (only a higher teaching load, admin time 30%) and our tech. catalyst has 5% tech time. Hence, I think its prudent for me to search out the best and “streamlined” methods possible. Here are some of my thoughts:
Blogs: These are great for parents/teachers/students to add information or thoughts. In a classroom setting, blogs are a great way to implement eportfolios, promote CCT, develop writing skills, etc. We redesigned our school web page last year and incorporated a blog. This is still in the baby steps for implementation, but I feel can be worthwhile in the long run. I would love to have more teachers use blogs as class pages to share info. More on this at another time.
Twitter: Some schools have Twitter accounts. I see the value of Twitter as I love my PLN. Many students do not see the value of Twitter although I did see a few last year start to “bend” a little bit. I have been told that Twitter is used more by 30 something and up (I will not say what group I am in)! A school Twitter account can be great for bits of information, like scores at a sporting event, posting school events, etc. However, is this just doubling up on what we are already doing with blogs? Here is where administration of social media can grow to more than what you expected.
Facebook: Many schools have these as well. Again a great format for communication as many parents/students have Facebook pages. With so much negativity towards Facebook, a school account could promote the PROPER use of this media for the students and community. With Facebook’s visibility, most can identify with this medium and use quickly. Facebook’s popularity is a draw.
Wiki’s: Very similar to blogs, but require a little more work. I believe blogs would be a little more user-friendly and could accomplish more, but I may be wrong on this.
Email: Still tried, tested and true. Works great for communication b/w staff. Many parents have as well.
Texting: The favorite for students. Does a school get a number that students/parents can text to for information. Does this go hand in hand with one of the above?
Looking at the feedback from my Wallwisher post, it is clear that podcasts, images, student writing are all important elements in the communication plan. Hence, I believe the question is not more media but quality of media produced. we even are retooling our school newsletter this year.
As a principal, I believe in trying new technologies and am open to new ideas. However, I believe I have to be responsible in what we use and how we use it. I only have a staff of 13.5 FTE in a K-12 school. We need to communicate regularly with each other and with community, but more is not necessarily better.
As always, I welcome your input.