Communication: Communication and community relations have been identified as one of the most important skills school leaders can master. Hoyle, English, & Steffy (1998), Principals cannot be effective unless able to communicate with public=the public is now on Facebook, Twitter, & other social media, principals must practice 2-way communication to get support for their schools, communication beyond the schoolhouse has become more important that ever, ability to articulate the school’s vision to stakeholders outside the community, 21st century school leaders are public relations specialists, developing your school brand, monitoring your school’s digital footprint or online reputationModeling Connectedness: Administrators who lead 21st century style lead and model what it means to be connected. They engage in the tools of connectedness, they encourage others (students & staff) to become connected, they advocate for connectednessEngage in personal learning network: Personal learning networks are about individuals gathering information and sharing resources that enhance personal and professional learning, while professional learning communities are focused on the school---personal learning networks are about professional growth and personal learning, PLNs are a reciprocal learning system where educators participate by sharing and learning from others who share with them, PLNs are personal, because we select our connections and we select what we ant to pursue in learning, , “Personal Learning Networks are the do-it-yourself piece for the 21st century professional development menu.” As educator Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach writes in her book The Connected Educator.Participating in Global Conversation about education: There’s a global and national debate about the nature of education in our country happening in social media spaces. What constitutes effective teaching? Is it test scores? Is it something else? If, our education system is in decline, then what is the best direction of reform? What is the professional role of the teacher? How do we best measure teacher & adminstrator effectiveness? All major policymakers have realized this conversation is happening, that’s why Sec Arne Duncan, education scholar Diane Ravitch, and AFT President Randi Weingarten have turned to Twitter.
Twitter: Microblogging platform, one of my primary tools of engagement, used as both a professional communication tool, and as one of my primary PLN tools. Relatively easy to set up. Easy to use. Easy to set up a plan for use.Google+: The new social media kid on the block. Still finding its way, but offers some real promise for the educator’s PLN. Ability to highly customize social media experience through the use of connection circles, setting up hangouts and video conferencing. Has great potential as a cornerstone social media product for the PLN.Blogging: Not a specific web platform or tool. Three of most popular: blogger, edublogs, and wordpress. Blogging is more than posting diary entries. Blogging as a PLN component is a thoughtful & thought-provoking process. Requires investment of time, reflection, and engagement.Facebook: Personally, I have not found this tool as useful in my PLN as others. It seems to attract more personal connections like old friends from high school and family members. I just haven’t made the educator connections on Facebook that I have on Twitter, Google+ and Blogging. Linked-In seems to be a better PLN product but it is limited.Diigo: Social bookmarking site, useful for sharing resources with stakeholders and with others, also useful for getting ideas and suggested resources from others.
Establish separate Twitter accounts: Important to have distinct Twitter accounts for school and person/professional, the school account can be used to communicate, promote the school, announce school events. PLN Twitter account is about the individual, about individual professional growth, about individual connections not connections to school, PLN Twitter account expresses the opinions, ideas, and thoughts of an individual---not the school. Each Twitter account should have clear purposes: School Account---the voice of the school or district, speaks for the school as social media voice. PLN Account---voice of the individual, in my case me---the opinions or ideas expressed there are not those of the school or district, they are mine as a professional educator.Post Thought-provoking Tweets: You don’t have to be rude or obnoxious, but you do have to Tweet ideas that provoke response. This is especially through during online chats such as #edchat or #itchat. Make statements that catch attention but also express your own thoughts. Posting what you had for lunch is hardly engaging to others---except someone who either ate the same thing you did or your friends. Your PLN Twitter persona will grow as you engage others in Twit-chat and to do that you have to have something to talk about. The weather won’t do it here.Participate in online chats: Your first time participating in one of these events will perhaps be dizzying. Yet, these events will help you become more plugged in the global conversation about education if your PARTICIPATE. Now participating is not lurking. Participating is posting and responding. You have to present during these chats to get plugged in. If you’re lurking no one knows you’re there. Speak Up and Be Heard.Share Thoughts, Resources, Ideas, & Reading with others: Share your thoughts on testing, block scheduling, new assessments, politics (be careful here), share resources you found—others have shared with you—resources about teaching, leadership, technology, etc. Share your ideas for ed reform, use of technology, social media etc. Share quotes from your current reading. Always a favorite way to tweet out thoughts and usually will get responses.AT THIS POINT, GO TO YOUR PERSONAL TWITTER PAGE AND SHARE OUT THE INTERFACE, USE OF TWEETDECK AND OTHER CLIENTS.
Share with more control over who you’re sharing with: with circles, you can specify which “circle” or groups receive which message. You are in the driver’s seat regarding which of your circles can see what you post. Theoretically, I could set you my entire school, if they were all Google+ users and divide them out by departments within circles, could do the same with other stakeholders in school community.Use the hangouts to videoconference: admittedly, I have not yet used this part of Google+ as much because I have been a Skype user for this for quite some time. But, Google+ offers users this ability to hangout with others through video and audio. Potential departmental meetings when no one else can get together physically? Other meetings where it is just so hard to get together?Create additional pages: Useful when you want to have multiple pages representing different things. Create a page for your different roles, or classes, or interests.Upload & share photos: You can do the same in Facebook. But again, with Google+ you have the ability to determine which circles you can share these with. Choose the circle with which you want to share the photos. Also view photos shared by others in your circles.
Blogging another tool of “Connectedness”: Through blogging, you have another tool to connect with educators worldwide. I’ve connected with educators in New Zealand, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, All over Canada, US and South America. I’ve connected with authors of books I’ve reviewed, leading state policy makers and politicians. Having a “Blog Presence” is a sign and badge of 21st century professionalism. (And I am not talking about a blog where school news is simply posted. It’s a blog where you contribute your professional expertise in education.)Blogging promotes your own professional brand: Certainly you need to have a web presence for your school, district or even classroom. But blogging can provide you with an online 21st century professional presence on the web too. This is you as passionate educator, not as principal of this particular school or teacher at this school. There’s a place for those kinds of blogs, but they rarely plug you in to the global education conversation like a personal/professional blog connected to your own personal brand.Blogging fosters professional reflection and self-examination: The act of creating a blog post makes you think about issues and your professional practice. Searching for topics for posts is an act of self-reflection in itself. Posting, if it’s about professional topics, makes you think about what you do as teacher, principal, or central office administrator.SHOW PARTICIPANTS MY BLOG. ITS FEATURES, ITS POSTS, ITS STATISTICS
Use Facebook to extend interactions beyond physical boundaries of building: This tip for Facebook actually comes from the educators William Ferriter, Jason Ramsden & Eric Sheninger in their book Communicating and Connecting with Social Media. Facebook allows for classroom & schoolhouse conversations that do not end once everyone has exited the building. College and community college classes have discovered the power of using Facebook for this very purpose. My own step daughter has a nursing class that is using Facebook as it’s primary class environment.Use as opportunity for feedback on school policies and practices: Now this perhaps is a gutsy move of sorts. But Ferriter, Ramsden, and Sheninger suggest this as use of Facebook too. The ability to Like and comment would allow users to make comments about the things in a proposed policy they like and the things they think need work.Use to deliver messages to community: Let’s face it. A large number of our parents have now begun to embrace Facebook too. It has a growing potential to deliver news and information about school happenings in a format and medium our students and a growing number of parents prefer. Using Facebook in this manner means going to where our parents are.Use to foster communication among stakeholder groups. Facebook allows for nodal interaction meaning, messages can be communicated outwardly, then there can be discussion and interaction among the many out there. It is not a one-way medium like the intercom system or even local access cable TV. It is an interactive form of communication. To use it differently means to miss out on its real capabilities.SHOW DISTRICT AND SCHOOL FACEBOOK PAGE.
Collecting Resources for Sharing: Diigo is a collecting and sharing tool for web resources. Using the Diigo toolbar in the Chrome Browser, this is made even easier. Resources can be shared through email, Twitter, Facebook, by email. I typically save them as a bookmark and then later include the link in my email updates to staff. Sharing Out to Groups: I’ve created Diigo groups for staff at my two schools and I post links to these two groups to resources and information to share. With Diigo I can set up and customize how I share resources by using groups.With the Note Taking Tool in the Chrome browser, I can take notes, save them into Diigo and then share them out to the groups I wish to have them. I can use the Read Later items in the same manner, espcially when there’s an online article I want to get in the hands of my staff. I can also upload and share photos here as well.
As a “Connected Leader” I’ve taken control over my own professional development. I engage others online in issues and concerns I have and want to know more about. I decide who to connect with, and I decide what I want to explore. Being Connected means I am the master of my own learning.As a “Connected Leader” I have an enormous network of other educational experts to utilize. I can crowd-source big concerns. I can connect with individuals that was not possible when I became an educator: I have connected with individuals like Diane Ravitch, Randi Weingarten, and even my favorite novelist of all time---Pat Conroy. Being a connected leader means I have an enormous network of professionals and people with like-minded interests to which I can turn.As a “Connected Leader” I am engaged in a global education conversation that is looking at reform, looking at the nature of teaching, learning and technology’s role in education. I am as a connected educator contributing to something enormously larger than myself. I am what Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach calls a “Connected Educator.”
Becoming a 21st century leader
Becoming a 21st Century Leader Engaging in a World-Wide Conversation on Education
Why Engage in Social Media as School Leader?• Become an effective 21st century communicator• Model “connectedness” for teachers, students and staff• Engage in a personal learning network (PLN)• Participating in Global Conversation about education
5 Tools of Engagement for 21st Century School Leaders• Twitter• Google+• Blogging• Facebook• Diigo
Effectively Engaging Others Using Twitter• Establish separate Twitter accounts for school or district & one for PLN• Post thought-provoking Tweets• Participate in Online Chats: #edchat or #leadershipchat• Share thoughts, resources, ideas, and your reading with others
Getting the Most Out of Google+• Share with more control over who you’re sharing with• Use the “hangouts” to video-conference with others• Create additional pages• Upload and share photos
Blogging: Contributing to the Conversation• Blogging another tool of “Connectedness”• Blogging promotes your own professional brand• Blogging fosters professional reflection and self-examination
Effectively Engaging in Using Facebook as PLN Tool• Use to extend interactions beyond the physical boundaries of building• Use as opportunity for feedback on school policies and practices• Use to deliver messages to community• Use to foster communication among stakeholder groups
Diigo: Tool for Engaging in Connecting and Sharing• Collecting resources for future sharing• Sharing out to groups• Share Notes or Read Later Items
On Becoming a Connected School Leader• Control over my own professional development• Networks with other administrators and educators• Global Education Conversation
Contact InformationJohn RobinsonPrincipalThe Discovery High School at Newton Conover605 North Ashe AveNewton, NC 28658Twitter: 21stprincipalBlog: http://the21stcenturyprincipal.blogspot.com/Wiki: https://21stprincipaltools.wikispaces.com/Diigo: principal21st