I constantly preach about the power of social media as a way to activate stakeholder interest in what is happening in our schools. In fact, my new book All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities, brings to light how people are taking advantage of social media feeds to stay informed. At Black River Middle School, stakeholders can keep up with relevant and timely information through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Parents will often comment to me how much they appreciate the timely information that is pushed out on a daily basis. It provides families an opportunity to talk about school happenings at the dinner table.
As a testament to making sure I not only talk the talk but walk the walk, I checked out my son's elementary school Twitter feed. Sure enough there was great information on school happenings and provided me with a chance to have a substantial conversation at the dinner table. Typically I will ask him how school was on that given day and he will answer "good." Then I have to pry information out of him like it was some sort of F.B.I. interrogation. Now I have an arsenal of timely and relevant information that I can use in order to move the conversation forward. My son actually thought it was pretty neat that I knew his principal dyed his hair green for a recent fundraising event. We were then able to discuss in greater detail and have a nice casual conversation without all the stress of truly finding out how his day was.
Schools and parents must make a commitment to leverage the power of social media. With the proliferation of mobile devices, wifi, and web applications it is now more easier than ever to stay in "know" with what is happening on the school setting. The more information and student's educational experiences are shared, the more parents can support efforts at home. For me personally, being able to follow what is going on in my son's school has allowed meaningful conversations to take place at the dinner table. The time is now for schools to tell their stories through social media and for parents to use the information shared as a means to promote the success of their children.