BC Counsellor - Winter 2014 - (Page 9)
Embracing Social Media
in Guidance and Career Education
By Rod Conte, Head of Guidance and Career Education, Westmount Collegiate Institute,
York Region District School Board
Three years ago, a student asked me,
"Why does the school use email to communicate with students when no one
uses email anymore?" In this case "no
one" referred to the Westmount student
body. I replied, "Then how should we be
communicating with you?" To which he
answered, "With Facebook, sir, everyone
is on Facebook."
At the time I had a personal Facebook
page but really didn't spend much time
on it. I used it mostly as a way to stay connected with family and friends. I'm certainly not one to update my status every
hour on the hour.
Honestly, does anyone really care
whether I just had "the best breakfast ever"
or that "I can't wait until Friday"?
My initial thought was "Facebook! How
much work is that going to be?" Not that
much, it turns out! It required the same
level of effort as writing the morning
announcements and a lot less time than
having to organize an assembly or visiting
individual classes. Don't get me wrong, we
still have to do the occasional assembly
and we still visit classrooms when necessary, but not as much. It took me about five
minutes to set up the Facebook account
and publish our first post, "Westmount
Guidance is now on Facebook." Once the
word got out, the friend requests started
Initially, we advertised our new
Facebook page to Grade 12 students only.
The intention was to use Facebook as the
primary communication tool with our
potential graduates. We began posting
items such as graduation updates, news
from colleges and universities, scholarship
opportunities, job posting and requests for
volunteers, just to name a few. Soon after,
Grade 11 students began sending friend
also interested in
the information being
posted. Surprisingly, soon after,
parents and guardians started sending
friend requests as well. Westmount
Facebook had now become the
primary tool for parents and guardians to keep updated on school
We also started creating
events on Facebook for important assemblies such as semi-formal and graduation.
We cross-linked with several student
organizations' Facebook fan pages. The
Westmount Gay Straight Alliance and
Poetry Group were the first school groups
that linked their page to ours.
Since Facebook worked so well for us,
we decided to expand our reach by using
Twitter. I have to admit that Twitter has
become my preferred social media tool. It's
simple, straight forward and to the point.
BC Counsellor | Winter 2013-14 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com
140 characters to
post a message. There is no
maintenance of friend requests,
no lists and no privacy settings to
worry about. It's a great way to blast
out quick messages and announcements.
Most recently, we have been tweeting live
from events such as College and University
Dialogue Days and College and University
Currently, Westmount Guidance has
over 351 friends made up primarily of
Grade 12 students, some Grade 11, 10
and 9 students, and parents/guardians.
Some are even Westmount graduates
who have decided to stay connected with
their high school. Our Twitter account @
WCIGuidance has 243 followers and we
follow 70 individuals and organizations.
continued on page 16
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Winter 2014
The Fine Print
Social Media 101
Embracing Social Media in Guidance and Career Education
Top 10 iPad Counselor Apps
BCSCA Conference 2013 — Full Coverage!
Index to Advertisers
BC Counsellor - Winter 2014