Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership
I’ve been researching school administrators’ experiences on Twitter, and recently presented a paper at UCEA about theoretical stuff (materiality and sociomateriality) around what technologies “really mean” to work. But I also intend to share practical tips and tricks I’m gathering from people. Here’s one:
Teach your parents, families, and community members to “fast follow” your school’s Twitter feed. This allows people to get text messages to their phone of your tweets. This expands the audience for all those tweets about club achievements, early dismissals, or live updates from field trips.
I emphasize the teaching part. People know and think different things about technology, and convincing them that Twitter can be valuable to your school takes time and a lot of talk. A lot of the Twitter faithful believe in the power of PLNs, but getting the skeptics on board and acclimated with fast follows might be a good first step. That can be the foundation for other other changes. First, it doesn’t require a Twitter account — just text message abilities. My guess is that’ll be easier to learn. Second, it’s kind of neat to feel “up to date” on the latest in events around one’s child. Third, this “one way street” of information is kind of what people (parents and educators together) expect from schools at first. By the way, this monologue can be changed to dialogue over time. I really like the idea of schools getting good at two-way communication via technology (and in real life).
Update: I keep thinking that this might also be a good way to get parents to read the school blog. Speaking to my class last night, one local principal described repeatedly emailing lists of the (ever expanding) news coverage about his high school’s football team as they ascended in rankings. It kept occurring to me that if parents weren’t yet tuned in, reaching them at their phones would be a neat way to start.