Revisiting Communication

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.

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  1. I agree. As an administrator who has used different methods of communication with parents, staff and students, my greatest concern is the administrative time factor needed to properly use these tools to communicate with different parties. If we are going to seriously begin to use any of these tools to a greater degree, then schools and school-districts/division must begin to factor in the time needed for people to use the tools and build that time into the allocation for whomever will be responsible. At some point, the use of these tools will no longer be on the “fringe” but will become part-and-parcel of what happens at school. While it use to be the realm of a few “geeks” in the past, the use of these communication tools is now part of the mainstream yet schools have not been given adequate resources to fully utilize them or develop them. Instead, they are still relying on “someone” who, usually as an add-on, will give up their own time to develop and resource the tools.
    As educators, it is prudent that we demonstrate the socially responsible use of these tools and provide parents, students and the community with a good example of how these tools can be used to enhance the learning of students and the flow of communication but it needs to become a recognized part of what it means to be a school not an after-hours add-on.

    BTW, love the way you used the Wallwisher. Great idea!

    • Thx. for the comment. It seems we have communication tools galore, but all require some form of management. We also have Synrevoice, but our parents don’t like long messages on this. Sometimes they tune out and we’ve only had it one year! I suppose I am looking for a type of social media where we can communicate, share student work, embed video, images, podcasts, etc. Unless I hear differently, a blog or Facebook would be the choice.

      What town did you move to? Hope you are all settled.

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