District Administration May 2018 - 58

ProfessionalOpinion
4 tips for using social media to
connect with students and families
Strategies to leverage the power of sharing school stories
By Monica Burns

S

haring special events, celebrating
student accomplishments and
telling stories of the small moments from a school day are all part
of the role of educators. Social media
platforms are powerful tools for educators who are committed to connecting
with stakeholders in a meaningful,
consistent manner. It gives them information in the spaces they are already
exploring on their own time. Posting
an event update to Twitter, sharing a
volunteer sign-up form in a Facebook
group, uploading a field trip picture
to Instagram, or creating a Pinterest
board full of summer reading lists are
great ways to connect students and
their families with relevant resources.
These spaces provide opportunities to
celebrate accomplishments over the
course of the school year and to show
pride in their school and district.
Although you may already use many
of these social platforms personally, a
professional account will serve a different purpose. A teacher account lets individual educators share stories from their
classroom, while a school account can
share messaging about school events or
messages for a broader audience. As you
consider using social media to connect
with students and families, or as you
look to refine your current commitment
to leveraging the power of these platforms, here are four tips for connecting
with your school community through
these online platforms.

DAmag.me/social
58 May 2018

Although you may
already use many of
these social
platforms personally,
a professional
account will serve
a different purpose.
1. Prioritize platforms
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest-where should you start? Although
having a social media presence on all
of these platforms is fantastic, if you're
just getting started, commit to using
one platform at first and adding more
as the school year progresses. You might
start with Instagram if you want to
share photographs from special events,
or Twitter if your goal is to share articles
or links you think students and families
will find useful.
2. Find exemplars
How are other schools using social
media to connect with students and
families? Looking in your region and
then expanding to a larger search can
help you find examples of how schools
are using social media to share their
stories. St. Patrick's School in Yorktown
Heights (N.Y.) shares updates on its
Twitter page to celebrate the great
things happening there throughout the
school day. Some schools share updates
regularly on Facebook while others use
Pinterest to create resource boards for
families. There isn't a "right" answer,
but as you dive into the platform you

choose to explore, notice how others are
leveraging the power of that particular
social media tool.
3. Delegate content creation
When it comes to creating content to
share on social media platforms, students can become part of the process.
From movies and slideshows to websites
and e-books, students can use digital
tools to create dynamic products that
showcase their learning. These artifacts
are perfect for sharing on school social
media platforms to celebrate student accomplishments.
4. Talk to students
Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Asking students if they noticed your posts
on Instagram, or if they're aware of the
school's new Twitter account is a great
way to gather information. From these
conversations you can make decisions
on how to move forward.
Social media gives educators, schools
and districts a new way to think about
communication. These channels provide
opportunities to share content, from live
video and photographs to quick messages and discussion spaces. Leveraging
these platforms lets school leaders take
ownership of their school stories, share
their students' successes with the world,
and solidify connections with families,
students and community members
throughout the school year. DA
Monica Burns is an edtech and curriculum
consultant, author and former classroom
teacher. Her book Tasks Before Apps:
Designing Rigorous Learning in a TechRich Classroom was published by ASCD
in 2017.
District Administration


http://www.DAmag.me/social

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