This is a presentation focusing on communicating and interacting with families using social media. The three of us do not work in a classroom or directly with families in our roles so we wanted to focus our master plan on communicating using the technology of today. We felt like researching this topic would help us better support the families that our organizations works with on a daily basis.
Kim Hendrick is the eLearning & Marketing Specialist at the Indiana Online Academy (IOA). IOA partners with schools to offer high school classes online for credit. She is the co-creator of the Digital Essential Skills & Knowledge or eDESK which provides a collaborative place for educators to connect and learn. She is a dynamic educator, consultant, & trainer with 23 years of professional experience in facilitating, project management, presenting and training delivery at both a local and national level. She has trained hundreds of teachers throughout Indiana and across the nation through videoconferencing, web and face to face instruction. Her passion is technology and she is very knowledgeable in web 2.0 applications and virtual education. Her expertise has helped schools on the planning, implementation and integration of eLearning and related technologies into the curriculum. You can connect with Kim on Twitter @evolvewithkim or on her website at evolvewithkim.com. She is a self-proclaimed Connected Educator.
Kim will explain the back channel
Times have changed, and communicating with parents is easier than ever when you utilize the social media platforms available today. Fadel (2010) points out that social media can be a family portal and can provide two-way communication. Before social media, the only way parents could communicate was through handwritten notes, phone calls, email, or face to face. Now parents can become part of the school day by seeing pictures from the day that were posted on Facebook, read a Tweet about the latest experiment with a link to the resource, or go to the school's Pinterest page to get ideas about science fair projects. Parents can interact with other parents, collaborate on a topic, share the post with other family members, or just leave a comment.
We believe in this quote by Gordon and feel like schools must use technology in these ways to interact with their families. The word seamless really stands out in the quote, and schools should try to attain this level of interaction. If schools offer professional development opportunities for their teachers and have a strategic plan in place, they will have a better chance of helping this to become a seamless process.
Do you have need to collaborate with other educators about specific topics or themes? Do you feel disconnected? Today, we will discuss how to get connected and stay connected to other educators by teaching you how to create a do-it-yourself DIY environment using social media. Give you practical ideas for building your Personal Learning Network or PLN Self-proclaimed connected educators teach themselves about their interests rather than being taught by others Connected educators use multiple forms of social media to network with other educators from across the globe.
Many of the ideas I am going to share with you today were inspired from this book. It is one of the best resources for educators who are interested in becoming a connected educator. It has truly changed the way I think about professional learning and my practices for becoming connected to others. It is a must read for educational leaders. The book will help Define the connected learner and discusses Do it yourself (DIY) learning How to get connected & develop a connected learning model Practical activities to help you connect right away The DOE office of eLearning is finishing a book talk on the connected educator if you would like to see the conversation at http://elearningbookclub.blogspot.com/ You can also follow Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on Twitter @snbeach and Lani Hall @lanihall
Willingness to be a findable, clickable, searchable-on-Google person who shares openly and transparently. Once you are willing to do this you can form connections, have conversations, build relationships & begin to collaborate.
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach describes pd for the 21st century as building a Personal Learning Network or PLN – which is a group of knowledgeable colleagues & recognized experts who are eager to learn and share what they know. Instead of just working with a small team your pln is world wide with experts or teachers just like yourself who you can connect with and learn from. A PLN will help Make your learning highly transparent.
When you think about building your pln and connecting to others, you have to think about not just following or listening. You have to contribute. It’s ok to not participate at first, but truly connecting and learning from others means you need to contribute.
Many times when I work with educators, they just aren’t sure where to start because there are so many choices I am going to try and break this down for you and discuss 3 tools that you can start using but first let’s look at more specifically how to build a PLN
Kim The 5 C’s to building a PLN Consider what resource and who to connect to Consume information and resources – follow blogs, join a prof or social network Converse with colleagues and peers Create content – a professional identity – curate Celebrate your accomplishments You are on your way to be a globally connected educator able to tap into amazing resources around the world 24/7. http://bit.ly/16x7U9b – Lisa’s Blog
It's important to remember that “Educators need access to resources and tech support that will help them to reach out to parents and increase their involvement in their student’s success in the classroom" (Althauser, 2012). When working with teachers, district administrators and integration specialists need to be mindful of teachers' needs. It would not be realistic to require or encourage teachers to use social media in their classrooms without giving them the proper access and professional development they need to be successful and supported with it.
Selwyn, Banaji, Hadjithoma-Garstka, & Clark (2011) suggest providing a platform for parents to get involved. Social media tools can be part of that platform, a chance for parents to communicate and contribute to the educational discussion. Today, parents can communicate using a social media site rather than sending notes back and forth using the child's folder.
The 3 sites we are going to talk about today are Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ Please list in the chat area which sites you currently use. Poll Which of the following social media sites do you use most often? Pinterest, Twitter, Google+. None
Interactive Poll How do you feel about using social media to build a PLN? Overwhelmed Nervous Scared Happy
We all have light bulb moments throughout the day and most of us have to write them down before we forget them. One way you can easily organize your ideas is by using Pinterest Pinterest is a free website that allows people to create pin boards (virtual bulletin boards) to organize their ideas by pinning online images for later reference. It is very visual and is becoming a favorite with educators for prof learning. You have the ability to connect with your colleagues and share your teaching ideas and interests
Pinterest– started in March 2010 As of fall 2012, Pinterest had 11.7 million users, with the majority of the users being female. The purpose of Pinterest is to share your interests with others Other Pinterest users can follow you, follow your pin boards, as well as repin and like your pins Pinterest can also be linked to other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook
When you create a Pinterest account your profile with look like this You can view the people you are following as well as the people who are following you You can view and create your pin boards You can add pins My pinterest acount is http://pinterest.com/evolvewithkim/ I’d love to connect and learn with you through Pinterest
Here is an example of one board I pin to for work As I find relevant websites, resources, blogs or have ideas that will help me at work, I pin them to this board.
You can also invite others to collaborate on your pinterest boards. So colleagues and teams of people could post to boards to truly build a great resource for everyone. I’ve invited Ronda Eshleman, our principal at IOA to post to my board as she finds resources. I also have it set to notify me if she posts any pins.
These are all the people I follow. You can follow specific boards or all the their boards. I follow individuals, schools and companies.
When you first login to Pinterest you have a visual of pins from the people or schools you are following From there you can search popular categories or type in keywords of whatever it is you are looking for You can see here that there is a category for Education but I find it easier to search by using a very specific term in the search box
I also manage the Pinterest board for the Indiana Online Academy You can see I have multiple pin boards with pins that relate to that specific topic Another great thing about Pinterest is that you can tweet your pin or have it post to your facebook account. I would love for you to follow the IOA pinboard so I can connect to your school or professional boards http://pinterest.com/inonlineacademy/
I wanted to showcase Richmond Community School Corporation because they have created a Pinterest profile for their teachers, staff, students, and parents. Their pin boards showcase important topics in their school corporation It also appeals to K-12 students, and it is not grade specific Personally, my favorite boards are the Science Fair Experiment board and the “R” community board The Science fair board list great ideas for students in case they want to do something besides the standard volcano The R community board showcases sites around Richmond and would be helpful to a family who might have just moved to the community. This would also be a good example to show other teachers and administrators who are thinking of building a Pinterest board for their school
The other board that I would like to showcase is the indiana elearning board. It has so many ideas posted into many different categories. There are high quality resources available through this board. http://pinterest.com/INelearn/
One of their boards is titled pinnovation. Last February they added a daily pin focusing on an indiana educator or organization as part of the month long digital learning celebration. This board will lead you to many other educators or organizations in Indiana and is a great resource. http://pinterest.com/INelearn/pinnovation/
There are multiple ways you can use Pinterest in education, this infographic shows various ways for educators to use pinterest. Curate Content Create boards based on a specific topic or interest Organize ideas Create boards to keep your ideas organized for your colleagues, students, and parents Collaborate with others BECOME A CONNECTED EDUCATOR Allow students to use Pinterest Use boards to promote student work, projects, and help students brainstorm project ideas In Today’s eSchool News there was an article titled how Teachers use Pinterest in the classroom. http://bit.ly/16xbG2p – they highlight Melissa Dillard , an Indiana from Lake Central – her pinterest board is amazing with over 14,000 pins on 163 boards – here is the link http://pinterest.com/mel_dillard/
Pinterest also has apps available that you can use on your mobile device so you can pin on the go or pin pictures taken with your mobile device.
Kim As you can see on this info graphic there are over 465 mil accounts on Twitter with over 175 mil tweets a day. These numbers were from 2012 so I’m sure they are even greater. That is hard for me to wrap my head around. If you haven’t done so, please posts your Twitter handle so we can connect to you. Remember we are using the #inelearn hashtag during this webinar if you are Tweeting. I like Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s analogy of Twitter being like a river. The river keeps flowing but sometimes you might just walk past and have a quick look, sometimes you might hang around and dip your toes in, other times you might spend hours swimming around. Effective teaching and learning doesn’t occur in a vacuum. To be the best teacher you can be, you need a diverse and innovative network. Traditionally, the staff at your school was your only network of teachers to collaborate with. This network may not be diverse or innovative. With Twitter, the barriers of distance and access are broken down and the world is at your fingertips!
Learning needs to be ongoing. The world is changing. Teachers cannot maintain a professional outlook by attending two or three PD workshops a year. To keep up with new learning, you really need to be plugged in to an ongoing source of professional dialogue and resource sharing. It needs to be something that happens regularly, at least several times a week. You have to create relevance for yourself. So Join, follow people, lurk, contribute & stick with it
I’d like to share how I’ve evolved with Twitter. Just like many educators, I joined Twitter a few years ago and just didn’t get it. It didn’t make sense and I thought who would want to follow me and what do I have to share of importance. Many of you probably feel that way too. We had to tweet for one of our grad classes so you can see my first tweet from August of last year. I really was nervous and wasn’t sure what to even say so I just retweeted Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach because I knew she was respected.
By December I started participating in a Twitter chat with other educators from Indiana using the #inelearn I also trained my colleagues how to use Twitter because I started to see its power!
Twitter is an amazing resource when you attend conferences. Many conferences will use a hashtag specific for the conf and then you can search the hashtag later and get all the resources and connect to people at the conference. This is one I attended at Southmont HS in Crawfordsville. Everyone was posting resources and I found more people to connect to via Twitter including Kevin Honeycutt who is a national speaker so now I can continue to learn from him. Look for hashtags at the next conference you attend. This summer everyone will be tweeting using the #inelearn for the conferences
By March my PLN had grown and I was listed by another Indiana educational leader that I have never met as someone to follow on #FF follow Friday or Friend Friday. I truly felt honored to be included on his list. Talk about powerful! This makes me want to find quality resources to share with my pln.
In April, I had a professional article published on edudemic and ConnectEd Tweeted out a link to my article and listed my twitter handle as the author. I received quite a few more followers from this post. If you give Twitter a chance, I promise it will help you evolve in your professional learning too.
If any of you are following anyone that you would recommend, please share in the chat. Do any of you Tweet with your classroom? If so share how you’ve incorporated it and what challenges have you faced?
If you have any favorite hashtags you follow, please share them in the chat as well.
Just by searching the hashtag #inelearn, I can see what my fellow IN PLN members are posting. There are posts about the summer conferences, and a link to a good article. The top post is from the IOA Twitter account I manage promoting a guest blog post from Rachel Porter on our eDESK website.
If you truly want to push yourself and learn quickly, participate in a Twitter chat. Twitter chats will help you find your voice and it a great learning tool! I try to participate at least 2-3 times per month if my schedule allows. You will be amazed at the knowledge and resources that are shared during these chats. Weekly Twitter Chat Times | Personalize your PD- Love that #INeLearn is included! Google Docs http://ow.ly/kjYha 8 great twitter accounts for students to follow http://bit.ly/ZlNJry
If you happen to miss a twitter chat, Indiana elearning curates them in Storify so you can go back and read all the tweets. They post the link to the archive after the chat is over.
In just 10 minutes, I can find a new tech tool to try, link to a professional blog, read a whitepaper about eLearning, look at the chat log that I missed the night before, find at least 5 more educational leaders to follow and the list goes on and on. Twitter works for me because I find resources that are more relevant to what I am doing, more timely, ongoing, interactive, daily and personal. Traditional PD just can’t offer all that. I have learned more from my PLN on Twitter in the last 9 months than I have in the last 10 years of attending one day workshops. I’m going to post a link to a Live Binder that will help you get started with Twitter. Resource – Live Binder http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/34291?present=true http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/155310
Who knows maybe one of these days, you’ll be the one in the large blue bird suit.
One social media tool that is free and easy to use is Facebook. Many parents already use Facebook so the transition to "like" a school or organization's page would be very easy. We all plan to utilize Facebook more to communicate with parents. We have found that photos of students or videos seems to reach more parents based on the weekly page analytics. Part of our plan is to include more photos, videos, and resources for parents. We feel that we market well to the students and schools and want to market better to our parents.
This quote from Gardner was especially beneficial because it refers to creating a structure and fostering interaction. We feel that a well established communication plan using Facebook will help create that structure for students and help them feel empowered to interact with the school or organization.
According to the following infographic, men and women are almost equally represented as Facebook users. Many income levels are represented as well as educational status. The majority of users range from age 25-54. These statistics show that many families of various backgrounds who have school age children are already using this social media site. We feel this is a worthwhile social media tool to communicate with families.
One way we make this easily accessible to our parents is by including a link on the homepage of our website so all they have to do is click the "like" button. Many schools and organizations include this on their homepage. This creates easy access for the parents and/or family members.
This is the screenshot of our IOA Facebook page. As you can see, we only have 413 likes so far and are trying to increase that number by promoting more to our parents. If we could even get just one third of our parents to like our page, that number would skyrocket. Part of our plan is to at least double our likes which will help us assess how many families we are reaching.
Here are examples of the types of posts we make to promote summer school, share information about Teacher Appreciation Week, and highlight our online instructors who were honored. We feel it is important to post various types of posts for all stakeholders.
Here are two other examples of the types of things we post. The first one is a puzzle which would hopefully stimulate a conversation with the family to 'get' the right answer. I know my family had a discussion about it. (Go ahead, we know you want to try and guess how many squares there are.) The second post was part of a fundraising campaign to collect donations for our student scholarships. We asked families to donate if possible and provided an active link to our donation site. This campaign was not very successful so part of my master plan is to try and raise more awareness with families and organizations to raise money to support our students who have difficulty paying the tuition.
Here is an example of the Center Grove Global Campus Facebook page. This is a fairly new page so it does not have many 'likes' yet. Posts are made regarding their online school and showcases the new logo to bring awareness to parents.
One way that the Center Grove Global Campus communicates to parents is through Remind101. They posted this on their Facebook page so parents could subscribe to receive texts regarding news and updates about Global Campus.
Opened Sept 2011 - It is the second largest social networking site in the world,. As of December 2012, it has a total of 500 million registered users, of whom 235 million are active in a given month. If reminds me of Facebook but has many more options and a better way of organizing your connections in circles. So when you are logged in to Google you are connected via email, calendar, google + etc.
Google+ Profile page
Find People – will give you suggestions of who to add based on the current people in your circles.
PLN Circle – way to organize your contacts. Then I can initiate a hangout, chat with, or invite to events. The next page shows how to set up an event
If I’m hosting a workshop or a meeting, I can create the even in Google + and invite right from this page.
Teachers need to set goals and develop new ways to communicate with parents/families in their classroom. First, teachers need to understand the issues, concerns, and disconnects that they may face when integrating connections into the classroom.
When teachers start brainstorming ways to connect with students and their families, they will need to set goals and they will need to achieve these goals within the first year of adoption. It is critical that the teacher becomes comfortable with the social media site they are going to use in the classroom. To do this, they need to register for the social media of their choice and spend at least one hour per day exploring and learning how to use it. In addition, the teacher should develop a plan to use the social media site within the class by determining the social media site parents and their families use the most. Lastly, planning to achieve your goal during the 2013-2014 school year would be ideal for integrating social media into the classroom.
Social networking increases the likelihood of new risks to the self, these centering on loss of privacy, bullying, harmful contacts and more. Opportunities vs. risks Need for digital/media literacy in schools Moran, Seaman, and Tinti-Kane state, "When asked about potential barriers to the use of social media, faculty say their two most important concerns are privacy and integrity: 80% report that “lack of integrity of student submissions” is an “important” or “very important” barrier, and over 70% say privacy concerns are an “important” or “very important” barrier" (pg.14-16). It seems that educators, students, and parents sometimes forget that whatever they are putting on social media sites is leaving a digital footprint. They need to be aware of bullying, their privacy, and who they are communicating with on social media sites.When teachers decide to integrate social media into their classrooms it is their responsibility to model and explain how to be a considerate digital citizen who is aware of what they are posting online. Teachers can also partner with parents and educate them about the concerns that social media raises. Overall, "The end result is often a knowledge and technical skill gap between parents and youth, which creates a disconnect in how these parents and youth participate in the online world together" (O’Keeffe, Clarke-Pearson, & Council on Communications and Media, 2011, pg. 801).
Here are some of the barriers that faculty members faced when integrating social media into the classroom. Some of the main concerns expressed were that student submissions may not have the integrity that traditional assignments have, there may be privacy issues, and they may be need to create separate courses and accounts. Other concerns were how to grade or assess students' use of social media, lack of time and resources, and lack of support at the institution level.
Using social media has endless possibilities that can benefit students and their families. Adding a personal touch and staying connected with your parents will keep open lines of communication between the teacher and families. At the beginning of the school you may want to consider the following tips when providing student's and their families, "To ensure that families receive your communications, offer a brief orientation to your classroom Web site during Open House or parent-teacher conferences. e-mail response). Distribute information about computer availability at public libraries and any other local organizations that provide computer access" (Mitchell, Foulger, Wetzel, 2009, pg. 48).
I like the sentence in this image that says, "Access to technology is also a right that brings equality to all students and educators around the world and even within our own communities." I would like to elaborate on this to include parents and families as well. In order to really level the playing field and bridge the digital divide, I think it's important to provide families with access to technology that will allow them to communicate with teachers and schools.
Like it says here, technology (and social media) and access to it is only part of the answer. Teachers and parents really need to be committed to keeping constant communication with each other for this to be successful.
When families have access to technology and social media, there is significant potential to remove barriers that exist in education and literacy.
A great way to assess this plan would be to survey parents using online tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey at the beginning of the year to see which types of communication they prefer and how they can best be supported. After the survey results are in, the plan can be designed or adjusted accordingly to best meet their needs and requests. At the end of the plan's implementation, the school leaders can refer back to the survey responses to ensure the needs were met. Another way to assess the effectiveness of this plan would be to monitor how many followers, likes, and repins our communication efforts get. Since social media is all digital and easily interpretable, it will be easy to see the impact we are having on families. The plan can also be assessed by monitoring the comments that community and family members add to the social media sites. This assessment plan can be connected with AdvancED accreditation standards 3 and 5 to measure the effect. Standard 3 includes engaging families in meaningful ways which helps keep them informed regarding their children. Standard 5 relies on the administrators and leadership to monitor the communication to all stakeholders. To connect with our goals for Center Grove, Ivy Tech, and Indiana Online Academy, we can check to make sure we have incorporated the additional resources such as Pinterest boards for parents, proactive marketing for stakeholders, and data-driven decisions to include and empower parents.
As Adams said in Education Gets Blamed for Moving Too Slowly, But There Has Been Real Progress in the Past Seven Years (2013), "Social media has transformed the way teachers interact with students and parents, not to mention its effect on school promotions, internal staff relations, professional development, crisis communications, and emergency operations." The ways in which teachers and families are communicating with each other is really innovative and effective. In order to take our master plan to the next level, we would like to encourage entire schools or corporations to embrace social media and implement it. The reason for this full implementation can be explained in the following scenario: One year, a teacher may embrace social media and a parent will feel very connected and "in-the-loop." The next year, the child's teacher may not use social media or instant communication at all, so the parent will feel very uninformed. As you can see, embracing a school-wide or district-wide social media policy may be very beneficial in order to provide parents with consistency communication and support so they always know where to go to get important and time-sensitive information. If we could add something else to our master plan, we would add blogging to the "social media" umbrella. I think providing parents with a place to go to have a more formal discussion with other parents or educators is a great idea. Unlike Twitter that is limited to 140 characters per response, Pinterest that is primarily used to share resources, and Facebook that is more personal and informal, blogging could be a great avenue to have a deep educational conversation. We think this would take communication with parents to the next level.
As Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said in her book "The Connected Educator: Learning and Learning in a Digital Age," choose to be powerful. Choosing to use social media to communicate with families can be a very powerful experience for all involved. For more information about family and school partnerships, go to http://parentinvolvementmatters.org/. We hope you have learned more about using social media to communicate with parents. We plan to incorporate the strategies presented in this master plan presentation to improve our communication with our families at Center Grove Community Schools, Indiana Online Academy, and IVY Tech. We "choose to be powerful" and hope you will too.
Are you a Connected Counselor?
o Indiana Online
• How do I grow professionally?
• How do I communicate with others?
• How do I collaborate with others?
• Am I connected to my students, parents,
• Do I reach my students outside of the
• Can I do things differently?
Rationale for exploring a new direction
Using social media and technology to
encourage "involvement through the creation
of a “family portal” supporting two-way
communication between home and school"
(Fadel, 2010, p. 5).
“Districts should be using
communications much like
they want schools to use
technology for instruction--as
a seamless part of their
approach to doing business”
(Gordon, 2012, p. 59).
"Facebook can increase a sense of
belonging, build bonds between classmates, and
increase the bond between students and instructors
as well as create a structure for students to support
one another, it can foster student-teacher
interaction, and enhance motivation" (Gardner,
2010, p. 2).
Infographics & Data Visualization | Visual.ly. Social Network Demographics | Visual.ly. Retrieved June 18, 2013, from
Start with 1 hour a day1
Take a strategic approach to online
Determine when you will begin
using social media in the
classroom to promote
Evans, D. (2012). Social media marketing: An hour a day. Indianapolis, IN:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Barnes, N. G., & Lescault, A. M. (n.d.). Social media adoption soars as higher-
Loss of privacy, bullying, harmful contacts, and
Opportunities vs. risks
Need for digital/media literacy in schools
*Raised by Livingstone and Brake (2009) in Children & Society, 24(1).
Andrews, M. (2012). Social media and teaching [Blog Post]. Inside Higher Ed:
Blog U | StratEDgy. http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/stratedgy/socialmedia-and-teaching
"The more ways you can find to
communicate, the more transparent
you and your district can be" (Schachter, 2011, p. 30).
End your day in the classroom with a tweet to a parents or relatives for real time collaboration.
What's Working. (2012). Curriculum Review, 51(9), pp. 6-9.
Survey to parents and results
Monitor growth through followers, likes, re-pins, and weekly data statistics sent from Facebook
Monitor comments via social media
Rating for AdvancED accreditation for Standards 3 and 5
Looking Forward - Special Wishes
"Social media has transformed the way
teachers interact with students and
parents, not to mention its effect on
school promotions, internal staff
relations, professional development,
crisis communications, and emergency
operations" (Adams, p. 43).
“Choose to be
Nussbaum-Beach, S. & Hall, L. R.
(2011). The connected educator:
Learning and leading in a digital age.
Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
“Choose to be powerful.” (p. 145)
~ Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Flickr. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2013, from Flickr website: http://www.flickr.com/
Google+. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2013, from Google+ website: https://plus.google.com/
Lepi, K. (2012, October 12). 35 ways to build your personal learning network
Retrieved April 14, 2013, from edudemic website: http://edudemic.com/2012/10/35ways-build-personal-learning- network-online/
LinkedIn. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2013, from LinkedIn website: http://www.linkedin.com/
Nielson, L. (2011, August 12). The 5 C's to developing your personal learning network.
Retrieved April 14, 2013, from Lisa Nielson: The Innovative Educator website:
Nussbaum-Beach, S. (2012). The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading
in a Digital Age. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.
Pinterest. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2013, from Pinterest website:
Ray, B. (2010, June 7). How to use Twitter to grow your PLN. Retrieved April
14, 2013, from Edutopia website: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/twitterexpanding-pln
Twitter. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2013, from Twitter website: