I’m the new guy at our school district, and this is my first administrative role in a school. Let me first say that it is a lot of hard work, but it is also a lot of fun connecting with new teachers, administrators, and an entire community.
In the past few months all of our Building Principals have joined Twitter. I’m the first person to say I love using Twitter as an educator, but I’m also not too pushy in getting people on board, because (as I’ve written before) “It’s OK to Not Be on Twitter.”
Now that they’ve each joined I want to make sure they know the different ways they can use Twitter as a “Lead Learner” for the schools. This started out as an email I was writing to the group before I realized it would make a very useful blog post!
Here are 10 ways new school leaders can use Twitter (without feeling overwhelmed):
1. Upcoming School Event Details
The easiest way to start sharing information to your followers on Twitter is to use it as a platform to broadcast upcoming school events and information. Chances are this information is already available on your school’s website and newsletter, but Twitter is another great place to share this information and interact with the school community. The difference with Twitter is when you share an upcoming activity, a parent might respond to your tweet with a question, and then you can answer right back. That’s a simple and powerful connection that most websites won’t allow you to do!
2. Live Sharing of School Activities
If you want to get really good at this “Twitter thing” then live-tweeting an event or activity is the place to get to the next level! The next sporting event you go to, or Reading Olympics, or Spirit Day…make sure you have Twitter open and tweet out what is going on so your followers and community can be included in a real-time feed. If you use a #hashtag while tweeting you can go back and look at the event through a tool like Storify to see all that happened!
3. Accomplishments of students, teachers, parents( and anyone else in your school community)
You probably have a Bulletin Board up somewhere in your school with Student of the Month and a whole host of other awards and accomplishments. Take those accomplishments and share them on Twitter with your community. Broadcast all of the great things happening in your school and don’t be afraid to continue sharing these more than once.
4. Community Events and Resources
Sharing school events and activities is just the start. Make sure you are showcasing all of the great things happening outside your school’s walls an in the community as well. Follow local organizations, companies, and institutions to retweet and share what is going on each week. This will keep your followers informed of new opportunities they might not have heard of and provide a new way for you to interact with local companies and organizations that can help your school and students.
5. Links to Educational Blogs and Resources
If you are new to Twitter makes sure you are following some educators who are blogging and educational sites that are sharing resources. This will allow you to stay current with best and next practices, and share this with your community. A simple retweet will send it out to all of your followers and hopefully this will lead to finding other blogs and sites that share the type of educational information you are looking for! If you don’t know where/who to start following, check out this list.
Quotes are some of the most “retweetable” things you can share on Twitter. Share quotes from books you are reading, blog posts you are checking out, or from different places that you have found inspiring.
Who doesn’t love pictures? They do say a 1,000 words right? Share pictures of your students, staff, school building, and activities. Allow your followers and community to see what is happening behind those walls and inside the classrooms.
8. Join a conversation using #hashtags
I believe each school and district needs to have a hashtag that collects all of the tweets you share and also can be used as an ongoing conversation. To start understanding how hashtags work, begin to join the weekly chats and hashtag conversations already taking place in education. Here is an awesome list to get started (with times of the chats as well). This is another way to show your community the types of conversations that can happen on Twitter to benefit the entire school.
9. National news/studies related to education/learning
Don’t be afraid to branch out a bit to national news especially when they are tied to education and learning. Your feed can and should be relevant to what is happening in your area, state, country and world.
10. Who you are!
Last, and probably most important: Be you. Your school community does not want a robot to lead them forward. They want you and your personality needs to shine through your Twitter feed. Just as your personality comes out in conversations with teachers, students, and parents…it should also be a part of your Twitter presence. This can be tough to do in the beginning, but look at how some of the other school leaders online are able to be a voice for their school but also be unique…that is the real goal here.
So, what did I miss! There are many other ways to use Twitter as a school leader. Share them in the comments below!