Communicating with Social Media

This morning, I listened to this George Couros interview on Connected Principals:

George Couros: Connected Principals Should Be ‘Learner Leaders’ from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

In his interview, he touches on the acceptance issues of schools embracing teachnology, specificically social media, in the learning process.  As I feel developing the quitesiential “Community of Learners” also involes clearly and effectively communicating with parents and stakeholders (can you tell I’ve just finished job interview season?), I think getting families on board with the social media/school partnership is essential.

Here are a few lines from Mr. Couros I liked:

On filtering

“A lot of stuff that we don’t do is because of fear [of the Internet]”

“What [filtering does] is actually encourages kids  to use their own device for unfiltered access.”

“When schools block stuff, they also don’t talk about it, and what they’re doing is setting their kids up to do unsafe things either during school hours or after school hours because they don’t know any better because no one is talking about it because they don’t have to.”

On District Digital Identities:

“When I actually looked at what would be a logical hashtag [for the district]…we found that parents and community members were actually creating a digital footprint..a d igital identity for that school district, that was very negative.  So I looked it up, and I saw people that weren’t educators, weren’t able to tell the story of what is actually happening in schools, telling the story of that district…creating a digital identity for that district that is very negative.  We are on the other end of that spectrum where we don’t want that happening.  We encourage debate.  We encourage people being critical of the things we’re doing because we don’t learn anything when everyone agrees with us.  We want them to be engaged in conversation, but we want to be at the table, actively involved in the conversations, instead of outside the restaurant.”


As I’m taking on a new administrative role, where do I go with social media?  Our district has and maintains an information-based website and Twitter account.  The district and middle school also have their own Facebook pages.  We have a lot of great things going on (and hopefully even more, soon!) in the district and elementary building that I’d love to share with our community!

I’ve seen the value of effective social media use in schools.  One great example was when Tecumseh Junior High School Principal Brett Gruetzmacher (@BGruetzmacher) used his building’s Facebook page to keep parents posted about late dismissal of students due to severe weather in the area.  We’re nuts for not having systems like that in place.

Surely, however, there are some downsides and things to be aware of.

What are some lessons learned from other administrators/districts/buildings about using Facebook/Twitter accounts to share information?  What do I need a heads up about?  What conversations need to be held regarding privacy, policy, etc.?


One thought on “Communicating with Social Media

  1. Ryan-
    Good thoughts! It is all about being able to connect and converse with other people. Initially I started with Twitter (2009) as a way to connect with my students and the Tecumseh Community. My twitter account was @TecumsehJrHigh. The connection never happened with the Tecumseh community but what did happen was connecting with educators from all other the world. It truly is the best PD. Last year I changed my Twitter to BGruetzmacher. I still identify myself as the Tecumseh principal but I also tweet about my other interests (mainly the Badgers and the Packers). Great experience.

    Facebook on the other hand has been a tremendous way to connect and dialogue with the Tecumseh Community. I have had the page for 2 school years. It is “my” page in terms of posting and monitoring. In the two years I have only removed 5 or less posts that for being inappropriate. I try to serve as a good social media model for the community. Social media needs to be embraced and use it for the good and don’t get caught up in the minor issues that happen.

    Take care and it was good to hear from you.


    Principal-Tecumseh Junior High School

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