Gone are the quarterly newsletters sent home with report cards that were once filled with irrelevant information. It’s no longer an option for schools or stakeholders to stand idly by and rely on 20th Century methods to stay connected. A new era has come about where educational institutions are leveraging the power of social media and mobile devices to activate stakeholders’ interest in the day to day learning of students. With a few taps of the screen or clicks on a mouse, so many stories can be told and information consumed.
Throughout the world, there are authentic and practical examples of educators tapping into various resources such as Instagram, Skype, SoundCloud, and hashtags to promote and inform. Take for example Billy Krakower, who infuses the Mystery Location Call to strengthen students’ geography skills and bring community members into the classroom setting. On another front, students at Morris Catholic High School in New Jersey utilize SoundCloud to record and disseminate podcasts to the school community. So many more best practice initiatives are happening on a daily basis and really provide a sense of pride within the school community.
Although technology drives much of what is happening with schools activating community engagement, the most important piece of the puzzle, human connections, can not be overlooked. Coupled with the effective use of social media and mobile devices, the duo can have a lasting impact on school culture. There is no doubt that this is one of the most exciting times in education. Posts on Facebook promoting a student or staff achievement to a Tweet showing the school community a visual of how wonderful the school play looks, are just a few ways the educational conversation can be moved forward.
Make it a goal for this school year to activate community engagement through the use of technology. It will undoubtedly change the way everyone feels about their role in educating all children. The pride and passion generated from a simple Instagram post or school Pinterest board image is in a word “contagious.” There is no better time than the present, to take the All Hands on Deck approach in order to make your great school or district even greater.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators, LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Bammy Award Finalist. He currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Middle School Vice Principal for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.