I have been fortunate over the past few days to have attended the Authorspeak Conference. This experience has allowed me to listen to and connect with some of the best minds in education (i.e. Robert Marzano, Rick DuFour, Carol Tomlinson, Doug Reeves, Will Richardson). Additionally, I have been able to network with other amazing educators from all over the world and actively share how we are transforming the culture at New Milford High School.
During the second day of the conference I presented on Communicating and Connecting With Social Media
with my co-authors Bill Ferriter
and Jason Ramsden
. Throughout the 45 minute presentation we shared proven strategies to harness the power inherent within social media tools to enhance communications, establish the foundation for a positive public relations platform, connect with other educators to learn, and create policies to ensure effective use. I believe our session went very well and attendees left with a vision and strategies to begin integrating social media tools into their professional practice. For a brief summary check out the synopsis by Nick Provezano at The Nerdy Teacher blog
However, after reflecting on the session and speaking with some of the attendees, it is apparent that the embracement of social media in schools and by educators will continue to be an uphill battle. For those educators and schools that are either resistant to or unsure about using social media I pose these questions to you:
- Why would educators and schools not want to use free social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate important information (student honors, staff accomplishments, meetings, emergency information) to stakeholders in real-time?
- Who would not want to take control of their public relations and produce a constant stream of positive news? If we don't share our story someone else will and we then run the chance that it will not be positive.
- Why should establishing a brand presence be restricted to the business world when schools and districts now have the tools at their fingertips to do this in a cost-effective manner?
- What educator would not want to connect with experts and peers across the globe to grow professionally through knowledge acquisition, resource sharing, engaged discussion, and to receive feedback?
- Why do many schools refuse to allow educators to use free social media tools to engage learners, unleash their creativity, and enhance learning?
- Why are schools missing the opportunity and failing students by not teaching digital responsibility/citizenship through the effective use of social media?
- Who would not want to tap into countless opportunities that arise through conversations and transparency in online spaces?
- When will the profession of education catch up to society?
These are the questions that I believe many of us who are engaged in social media ask. I encourage you to share these with other schools, administrators, teachers, and board of education members who still question the value of social media in education. Together we can continue to be the change that we want to see in education.