There are so many reasons why I believe that it is imperative that educators and leaders in education be involved in social media, in one form or another. It really has been some of the best learning (if not the best) I have done in my almost 20-year education career! There are many educators and leaders in education out there who still have doubt about involving themselves, their students, and their schools in Social Media. In this post, I would like to briefly describe 4 reasons why all educators and schools should have Social Media presence.
1. Communication. Having a blog, a Facebook page, a Pinterest Page, and/or a Twitter feed is a great way to bridge the school-home gap. Sharing the learning going in your classroom and/or school is a great way to help enhance the learning of your students and the connections of the parents to the school. Gone are the days of monthly newsletters where parents received dated information. Today, there are possibilities of real-time communication and celebrations of daily learning! What a great way to engage parents and family members and make them feel really involved and welcomed into the learning environment.
2. The Kids Need Us. Our students are living in a world far different from when most of us were in school. The future is even more unknown. Our students need us to show them the way. I’m not saying we know the answers, or even that we will lead them, but we need to be there along the way. They need us to help them navigate and learn with them as times change and evolve. They need us to be able to help them answer questions they have. They need us to be able to understand them and their world. If we are not involved in social media, we are losing connection with our students and we are losing our ability to help them in their future endeavours.
3. Connections and Collaboration. As classroom teachers or building administrators our profession can be somewhat isolating at times. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had the best experiences, gain a great deal of motivation and excitement about my work by collaborating with others, as a classroom teacher and as an administrator. Through Social Media, I have learned from so many inspiring educators from whom I have gained so many incredible ideas. I have become even more excited about education and the difference I can make in schools with students, teachers, and parents through the collaboration and connections with so many great educators.
4. Model of Lifelong Learning. In today’s ever-changing and evolving world, it is imperative that we are lifelong learners and as teachers and leaders in education, it is important to share this learning with our students and our teachers. As administrators, I believe we have to be involved in Social Media so that we can understand what our teachers are doing, so that we can encourage our teachers to take risks in their own learning. If we do not know what is out there, how can we, as leaders, really understand and support our teachers in this area?
I know it can be scary for people to try new things. I know also that for many educators, we want to know what to expect when experimenting with something new. Social Media can be scary, there is no doubt about that. It is really worth it though to take that leap. Take some time to engage your community and also build your own PLN (Personal Learning Network). While the learning curve can be steep, you will not be sorry about getting connected.
Reach out. Ask questions. Take risks (isn’t this what we ask of our students and educator colleagues?). Start Small. Jump in!