Sunday, January 22, 2017

When Your Country's Leader Is A Tweeter - Action Innovative Educators Can Take

Twitter, Facebook and livestreaming can all help teachers be the 'storytellers in chief' of school life...
Whether or not you believe America’s president should be freewheeling it on Twitter, it appears that we can expect this to continue as he takes office. Donald Trump said to Matt Lauer on the Today Show that, "Frankly, it's a modern form of communication.” He explained: "I get it out much faster than a press release” and “much more honestly than dealing with dishonest reporters”.
Trump gets what research from Ipsos has shown. When it comes to millennials, they almost always trust and remember user generated content on social media over what they see in the mainstream media.


An important detail that the Ipsos study goes on to explain is that the closer you are to the source, the likelihood that you’ll remember and trust what you read increases. So if we want our students to take in positive and powerful messages, news and information, then our educational leaders in our districts, schools, and classrooms should be turning to social media.  
Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Wisconsin, gives us this advice: “Never give up the opportunity to say something great about your school.” He’s not alone. Award-winning principal, best-selling author, and thought leader, Eric Sheninger tells leaders that we should be the storyteller in chief of our classrooms, schools and districts. He reminds us that if we don’t tell our stories someone else can and will.  
And, it’s not just Twitter that can be the tool to reach our students and families. Educator, author, and creator of the  Hack Learning Series, Mark Barnes asks, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to look directly inside your child’s classroom and see exactly what was happening that day?” With tools like Facebook Live, the most popular reality TV show for families becomes their child’s classroom featuring students and teachers as the stars!
Wondering what to share?
How about livestreaming student government, student performances, or celebrations? Capture student point/counterpoint essays that are well researched with evidence and primary sources i.e. model critical thinking. Work with students to conduct a Tweet-O-Thon to thoughtfully respond to issues that matter. Are their issues that could affect students and families? Have students and staff address them thoughtfully and share via images and words on sites like Instagram. Have students share each day in a Facebook group or using a class hashtag, how what they learned has had an impact. How about using a school Snapchat account to cover stories that matter to the school community?
Today, we have the potential to be the media that influences our children and families in powerful ways. What message might you plan to convey?