I get asked a lot of questions about our social media effort. The number-one question is always, “How do you trust your 1,000+ #tweetchers to use social media in the classroom every day?” My answer is usually the same: We trust them to handle classroom lockdowns, to conduct parent-teacher conferences and to email and call parents and community members. Why not social media?
But this past week it hit me! That is the granular answer to a much bigger sandcastle we need to level. The question really cuts to culture and communication. Is your school district communicating from an honest and open mindset or a place of fear-based decision making? Are we always afraid of what could go wrong or are we aggressively looking to capitalize on what could go well?
Here is the contradiction that keeps coming up. I am currently reading a great book called “Social LEADia: Moving Students From Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership.” Author Jennifer Casa-Todd makes a fantastic point in asking how can we expect our students to become digital leaders if the teachers teaching them are not? Is your district moving to more digital learning? I thought so. Why isn’t your communication doing the same? How is it acceptable to trust teachers to use digital curriculum and teaching tools, but not digital communication tools?
I believe social media and curriculum are at an intersection and are about to become forever intertwined. Microsoft agrees with me. They just bought Flipgrid. Flipgrid is and was an aggressive start-up company that made the jump of tying student-created, curriculum-based videos to a platform built for social sharing. Teachers paid out of their own pockets to use it. It is a Twitter sensation under the hashtag #Flipgridfever. The day Microsoft acquired it, they made it free to all teachers. Welcome to the future.
So how do we as district communicators harness this new classroom communication power? It is simple social media math. If you create an open, innovative school and district culture and add that to open and innovative communication techniques and practices, you will develop positive and purposeful connections with students, staff, parents and the community, which will amplify your success!
Isn’t that the ultimate goal of all school district communication plans?