Today I found out who my son's teacher would be this school year. What was the first thing I did upon finding this out? I went directly to Twitter to see if his teacher had a classroom Twitter handle. Sure enough she did. In fact I was quite impressed with the number of high quality learning experiences that were tweeted out last school year. It put me at ease knowing that my son would be in tremendous hands for the upcoming school year.
Since becoming a connected educator back in 2011, I have been intrigued by the way educators leverage the power of social media to engage stakeholders in the virtual world. From my son's 4th grade teacher to Sylwia Denko's classroom to Tony Sinanis' school to Joe Sanfelippo's district, educators around the world understand the importance of helping the outside world experience what is going on inside the walls of our schools. My infatuation with branding in education actually started way back in 2011 after attending a workshop given by Eric Sheninger. The bottom line is that sharing best practices on social media helps everybody out in long run.
This upcoming school year I challenge to setup, maintain, and diversify the way you tell your personal, professional, classroom, school, or district story through social media. Here are nine challenges to conquer....
1. Start a Twitter handle for yourself as a professional, as a classroom teacher, as a school leader, as a district leader, as a board of education member, as a community member, as a student, as a parent.
2. Create a Facebook page to highlight student and staff achievements or to get the work out about your organizations events. Make sure to leave the comment feature on. This will help conduct positive two communications with all involved.
3. Maintain a weekly blog that houses written points of view from all school stakeholders. Perspective and insight are key to make good schools great.
4. Set up a Pinterest page that serves as an archive for all the times that anyone affiliated with your school or district is mentioned in an online article.
5. Tell your story through pictures within Instagram account. There is no better way to model the value of a sound education then through social media. Students will truly understand what it means to be a digital citizen if adults lead the way.
6. Post videos on a YouTube channel so stakeholders can watch school events on their own time. Folks live a very hectic life and providing this type of service will help them stay in the loop.
7. Push out a digital newsletter utilizing a tool like Smore. It's easy on the eyes, to the point, and canbe easily shared in stakeholders' virtual circles.
8. Utilize the Remind app to push out content to school stakeholders via text, email, or push notification.
9. Create a Week in Review Animoto photo montage. It's a great way to celebrate all that is right with education.
Overwhelmed? That's perfectly fine. Encourage school stakeholders to help contribute to and maintain your tools of the trade. Start the challenge today and see your educational world become more transparent and vibrant. The impact of one social media post can last a lifetime. At the end of the day it's imperative that you control the story. Why? Because somebody else will and could be wrong.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities and the newly released Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Google Certified Trainer. Brad currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Dean of Students for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is a Google Certified Trainer and speaks nationally about tech integration. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.