NEW GROUP! Includes discussions from the Administrators and Professional Development groups. What will it take to move our schools into the 21st century? Please share your thoughts and leadership strategies here.

How are you using social media?

Eric Sheninger Principal at New Milford High School

How have you integrated social media into your professional practice? If you haven't, what are you waiting for?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-07-24-schools-social-media_n...

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Instructional Leader

So many ways...so much fear

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I think social media is the game changer for many kids today. There is an instant tech and social connection. But there is so much fear among school leaders of something going wrong in a very public forum. I imagine in 10 years we will look back and wonder why we ever questioned it...but right now it seems like leaders would like some guidance and safety nets!

JH Principal

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For me the social media is a great way ti lnk up with other administrators. I have friends on Facebook thatpost educational info that can be used by all educators as well articles and info about new trends in education. IN my everyday practice, I use an Ipod for walkthroughs in my building. It makes life easier I think.

Principal of Hoggetowne Middle School of the Performing Art

Fear cannot be what rules our decisions.

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I considered using Facebook as a communication tool. The idea is to have the school register each teacher for a "professional" account. This account would belong to the school and not be allowed for any personal use.
Teachers would give this account to their students as a point of contact.

Students could then participate in discussions by posting on walls and email assignments to the teacher. Discussion formats would follow similar protocols and grading that are used by colleges in online discussion. Teachers could also assign projects for the students to complete with their own pages.

The idea is that each student's page becomes like an online notebook. They can be graded on anything they post on the page. It also allows greater flexibility in monitoring cyber-bullying, as anything added to the page would be subject to the school's discipline policy.

I found that most of my staff is very nervous about the idea. There is a lot of bad press about teachers being fired over inappropriate contact on Facebook. I have no statistics on the issue but I would imagine it is fewer than are fired for face-to-face issues. It requires professional judgement and an understanding of any applicable laws. My concern is that if we, educators, do not get involved with social media we are missing an opportunity to teach in a modern format that engages students, and better prepare our students for an increasingly technological world. Another point is that it allows us to teach our students how to protect themselves from cyber-predators, and cyber-bullies. It also allows us a chance to teach them appropriate internet etiquette.
I'm all for it.

Meet them where they are

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I use Constant Contact, Twitter, Facebook, and an automated phone system to communicate school-wide news and to save on paper by sending less of the "traditional" school newsletters. We send home less paper and get a better response to news. as well as attendance at events, because our families are getting more current news delivered to where they are - on the Web!

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