Moving Beyond the Newsletter: Communicating Through Social Media


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Presentation at the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) annual spring conference in Richmond, BC. Working with parents and families to become aware of the possibilities for enhanced home-school communication and helping PACs to connect with the parents community at their schools.

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  • Thank BCCPAC
    Fall session
    My experience is with connecting people – home:school and people with a common purpose
    My intentions 1: to create awareness of the possibilities home:school communication
    2. Give some ideas for tools to connect with others in your school community
  • People want to help, people love to connect and love to belong…
    Connection is not about technology
    about relationships, connections with others.
    Consider home-school connection
  • 5 mins
    My mom – at the school regularly. Now, not so easy.
    Most use traditional newsletter – monthly magazine
    These served their purpose to push information
    Now, lack of time.
    people want information in smaller bits, more often.
    As a parent, I want
    Technology can help with this… info more often, wherever and whenever
  • What is our purpose for communication in organizations?
    For me it has 6 key purposes:
  • Traditional reasons for parent communication.
    Newsletters, report cards, phone calls etc
    Still very important and something that can be enhanced with tech.
  • Build culture, build community
    What do our students do? What does our staff do? What do our parents do?
    Share the stories, provide windows in to our school.
    Also share who WE are. Let people in to get to know us as people.
  • start a conversation online.
    build new relationships.
    enhance current relationships.
    Make positive contacts.
  • When we have better relationships, we can build trust.
    When we have more transparency, we can build trust.
    Communication is not just about sending out information. Communication is 2 way.
    We need to move from communication TO people to communication WITH people.
  • I never thought that social media would help build community like it has.
    When people have a chance to connect with others in a network, we enhance our community.
    When we connect with a similar purpose, we build community.
    A stronger, more informed, more engaged community makes our schools that much better for all of us.
  • Moving from involvement to engagement (both important)
    Parents need each other and schools need families.
    Exciting times in education that includes significant changes with pedagogy, curriculum and assessment.
    With change, the first question is often WHY?
    Technology can help spur conversations – assessments, combined classes, inclusion
  • So if we want to move from the traditional mindset of communication as simply informing…
    to one that includes relationships, sharing of stories, community in the broad sense, and real engagement…
    How can tech help?
  • 13 mins enhance, Not replace, face to face.
    People can connect when it works for THEM.
    Do not necessarily have to be in the same place at the same time.
    Power of social media is… when a group of people are driven by a similar purpose
  • I want to meet parents where they are and this means options
    Communication that embraces WITH rather than TO
    Heidi Hass Gable – critical friend and mentor to me – parents appreciate small bits of information more often.
    ONGOING classroom and school communication.
    Also with an understanding that we have options for paper model – not all prefer online
  • COMMUNITY – included people that cannot get into the school
    Media consent – we never use names with photos and only post those that we have consent for.
  • Posting pictures to the cloud is a tricky FOIPPA one and at this point, I would not recommend going there until you have worked with the district to get the correct media consent
    Accounts and groups– creating community, sharing. (less public)
    A parent that was very anxious about sending her daughter to school… this shows how a picture can have a huge impact.
    Enhanced by social media
  • School Facebook Pages
    Creating a community… information in real time
  • Smaller bits more often. Focused on sharing the positives.
    Small windows in.
    Every other week plus information about events and changes to our school.
    Static place where information is updated and stored. Can be easily found.
  • Twitter – linked to Facebook – information goes to both so people can choose how to interact, stay informed.
  • 18 mins What is your purpose?
    Poll your organization and find out where they are
    Which skills do you have in your organization?
    Web content? Facebook? Twitter?
    Start there and build
  • My recommendation TODAY is have a website for information.
    To connect, start with Facebook… add Twitter when comfortable. (cannot be the only way)
    I know the concerns of Facebook… but like it or not, most of our parents and families use it.
    Tap into someone who using it.
  • 2 main aspects of Facebook to consider.
    Both have their benefits and limitations
  • Need to determine the purpose for your communication within Facebook
  • Sharing information, stories
    Connecting people with an organization
    Public, easy to find and bring people in
    Put on others timelines
    Can see your “reach”
  • Groups
    Collaborative- post as individuals and create dialogue between members
    Private or public (although social media is NEVER really private)
    Connecting members with each other
  • 23 mins Events and tech are ways we can reach out to parents… but the most important this is what happens after this. Do we acknowledge the feedback? Do we do anything with the feedback? Do we engage in the conversation? Use 2.0 tools to enhance, not replace relationships.
  • Share the stories of your PAC
    Be the main story teller
  • When we have a goal in mind and are all driven to that collective purpose… we can accomplish great things.
    Social media can help connect more people to that goal.
    People that might not be able to physically be at the school.
  • explore other avenues to enhance communication
    Start using tech to enhance your parent-parent communications at your school.
    There is no one right way… PAC blog, PAC Facebook… wherever your parents are.
    Whatever you choose… stick with it. Use it. Build your network. Build relationships. Build Community.

    Move beyond the newsletter.
  • Any other ideas to share?
    Any questions?
  • Moving Beyond the Newsletter: Communicating Through Social Media

    1. 1. Moving Beyond the Newsletter Communicating through Social Media Chris Wejr @chriswejr www.chriswejr.comcc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Judy Baxter:
    2. 2. Me
    3. 3. “Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others -- Brene Brown cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Andrew:
    4. 4. Home-School Communication: How Far Have We Come? cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Danie van der Merwe:
    5. 5. cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Eric:
    6. 6. Informcc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Anthony Crider:
    7. 7. Share
    8. 8. Foster Relationships cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by Nomadic Lass:
    9. 9. Build Trust
    10. 10. Build Community cc licensed flickr photo by gibsonsgolfer:
    11. 11. Engage cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Mila Araujo @Milaspage:
    12. 12. Communication: Beyond Informing
    13. 13. How can we use tech to enhance communication? cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Jeremy Keith:
    14. 14. Use Technology to meet parents where they are.
    15. 15. Connect, Create an Online School Community
    16. 16. Blogs
    17. 17. Where do we start? Where are people? Start THERECC Image from Martino Sabia
    18. 18. From Pew Research Project
    19. 19. Pages Confused ? Groups ?? CCImagefromIanSane
    20. 20. Determine Your WHY
    21. 21. Pages Share Public Searchable Interact with organization Timelines Metrics
    22. 22. Groups Collaboration between members More private Build online community Document sharing
    23. 23. It is not about technology nor is it about events… it is about how we build relationships in our schools. Cc photo by Dominic
    24. 24. Share the Stories
    25. 25. Engage with others. Start the conversation. Build community CCImagefromL.Carranza
    26. 26. Pulling Together with Purpose CC Image from Carsten ten Brink
    27. 27. Move beyond the newsletter CC Image from AJ Cann
    28. 28. Questions?
    29. 29. Connect With Me @chriswejr