Joined: 05 Mar 2012
Social Media + Teachers
Yesterday we talked about some ways that teachers can encourage students to use social media. While the social networks that professional communicators use can be a great tool in the classroom, they are a great way to get your teachers and administration involved in your district's communications plan.
While doing public relations for a school is quite different than doing public relations for a large company, there is one similarity: it is common for senior administration or senior leadership to feel hesitant about using social media. Social media is a fast-paced environment that requires honesty, transparency and sometimes, quick-thinking. Social media is supplanting traditional media, such as newspapers and radio, as a go-to source for news and information about all topics, including education and school news.
Communicate with parents. A school administrator can make a Twitter feed either for herself or for the school that parents and community members can follow for updates about school and community events, fundraisers, early closings and scheduling. Social networks like Twitter are a great way to mass communicate in the event of a fire, security threat or other crisis that may alarm parent. School adminstrators can also use applications like Yammer, which is a microblogging site similar to Twitter but only approved users can join a conversation, offering an increased sense of privacy. Principals or guidance couselors can also write blogs for a school's website that parents can access with a password, so that they are privvy to updates but again, with increased privacy for the school and students.
Communicate with each other. One tool that many teachers probably already use is an online course management system called Blackboard. It has many purposes, including iteractivity with students and parents in a controlled seting. This platform is also a favorite of non-profit organizations and corporations who want to improve their internal communications. It is important to remember that it is equally valuable to have strong internal communications among teachers and administrators as well as external communications to the greater community.
Develop and adhere to a social media policy. In this age of technology, as many students may be using Facebook as their teachers and administrators. Friending or following each other on your personal social networks might seem like a good way to communicate, but it also makes your personal photos and information accessible. In fact, even the New York City school system has developed a policy that prevents educators from interacting with students on social media to avoid potentially compromising situations.
Do you use social media in your school? How do your teachers use it? Do you have a social media policy for your district?