Thursday / February 22

All Hands on Deck: The Key to Community Engagement

Social Media

Social MediaContributed by Brad Currie

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.

Written by

Brad Currie is the Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is also the Founding Partner and Chief Information Officer for Evolving Educators LLC. Brad began his career in 2001 as a Middle School Social Studies and Computer Education Teacher for the Hanover Township School District in Whippany, New Jersey. He is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader, Google Certified Educator, Google Education Trainer, author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Parents, Educators, and Communities, Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development, and the newly released 140 Twitter Tips for Educators.

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