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|Image by Erin Crew|
As more parents and educators join Twitter each day, use of the fastest growing social media becomes more applicable for all of us in the educational community, and more possibilities to harness this tool come to mind. However, just because Twitter isn’t the most popular tool for all of your stakeholders yet doesn’t mean you cannot bring this social media tool to them.
While our school has only thirty or so parents who currently have their own Twitter account, our school Twitter account, @knappelementary still sends out multiple “tweets” per day to keep the parents in the loop with ongoing happenings at Knapp Elementary School. So why move forward with only 30 of the 500+ families using it?
Most schools have a website where important information for parents and communities is on display to “help all stay up to date”. It is often a one-way communication tool with little opportunity for two-way communication.
At Knapp Elementary School, together with the Home & School Association, staff and parents have collaborated over the last few years to develop a tool that allows the opportunity for two-way communication, and currently employs a wiki which allows for school and parent access. There are a great deal of mutual privacy options set up prior with the support of our district technology department.
Currently, this Family Engagement Wiki provides parents and school staff the opportunity to add meaningful content throughout the school year to keep everyone connected. Home & School representatives update event content and volunteer opportunities throughout the school year, while school personnel provide academic and social-emotional opportunities for parents and students. Our visitor rate has grown to over 200 clicks per day on the Family Engagement Wiki, so we feel it is being used purposefully by our learning community.
Knowing our parents have subscribed to our wiki has allowed us to take the next step and embed a new school Twitterfeed directly onto the front page of this wiki (as pictured).
As the school’s principal and Home-School liaison, I am easily able to share tweets throughout the day as I move between classrooms, assemblies and Home & School events. These 140 character tweets appear directly on the front page of the wiki, and provide talking points for families to refer to later when their kids arrive home from school. I try to send a picture with each tweet to maximize the information shared with our families. (These images are archived and will later be used for entry in our school yearbook.) Most mobile devices now have Twitter account access, but I use an iPhone and iPad each day at school to update the Twitterfeed while on the go. The result is a daily visual timeline of school events, kid quotes and updates that is clearly archived on the school’s front page.
On November 21st, our school will be hosting a Twitter Town Hall for Parents in hopes of sharing the capabilities of Twitter with our families, and evidencing how others around the world are using it as an information sharing tool as well as a fantastic resource for the learning of adults and children alike.
Questions? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @joe_mazza.
For more in depth information, I am presenting eFACE strategies with Lorna Constantini on Monday, November 14th at 9PM EST on ‘Parents As Partners’ on EdTechTalk. Follow this link to join us for an opportunity to learn more ways you can embrace various technologies in connecting schools and families.