Why headteachers should embrace social media
There has been increasing pressure in many organisations to embrace the digital community over the last couple of years. With social media impacting on so many people’s lives, leaving it as an afterthought could bring your reputation in to question.
The use of social media in education has been a topic of discussion for some time, with arguments both for and against. Below, I’ve highlighted the benefits of getting your name out there through these channels, and some of the reasons why I think it’s time you took the trip to the digital world.
Creating a central page for your school means you’re giving your community a chance to speak up and share their views and opinions. Using your page as what is effectively a broadcast account means it’s quick, easy and cheap to deliver your message. Need to know information can be easily circulated for those parents who don’t seem to get your letters!
Use Facebook to communicate with your students! Facebook groups don’t require members to be friends on the site, so you can collaborate with them from a safe distance, without either individual seeing the others’ profile, depending on their privacy settings. Exchange files, links, videos and polls, and so much more between your group, and receive notifications every time someone leaves a comment.
What are you currently promoting in your school? Want to promote it further? Social media has proved to be one of the most effective outlets to reach a wider audience, as a number of universities and schools have chosen to market themselves through at least one of them! Maybe you’re looking for teachers to work in your school? Post a job on social media and get ready for an abundance of replies, whether it’s applying directly or other people tagging suitable candidates in the comment box!
Twitter is another account which can be easily used to circulate any messages you may have for members of your school and your community. Twitter usually links to an RSS Feed, which shows parents on the go that you have tweeted a new article/source of information. That way they can pick it up straight away, whatever they’re up to.
Some teachers have created Twitter accounts for specific classes to share useful information with their students. The students would follow the account, and the teacher tweets the information related to this class. It’s a great way to set up homework/lesson activities!
If you’re new to this, it would be a good idea to find someone with a little more experience before you jump straight in to it. Having experts on your side can help to create the safe environment you should aspire to have when dealing with others online, so that everyone (you and your teachers) all understand the do’s and do not’s when communicating through your chosen channel/channels.
If you don’t have an expert handy, you have a wonderful opportunity to connect with plenty of them online. Being online also presents the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with other major influencers in your industry, promoting a range of new and brilliant ideas.
It’s essential to begin embracing social media, especially when it’s the main form of communication for many youngsters today – it’s not always appropriate, but when you use it to deliver to the right kind of information, it’s entirely effective.
There will always be the worry of inappropriate use, and some of you may deem it hypocritical to accept, especially when most schools do not allow these channels to be accessed. The first step is educating both staff and students on how to use Facebook/Twitter/other channels appropriately.
Most students use their smartphones to access the likes of Facebook and Twitter, so filtering them in school won’t make much of a difference in how they access it. Moving on from this, you can begin to create your community for everyone to have a voice, in a safe and accepting environment.