Apps and platforms offer great opportunities for principals
- There are a multitude of social media platforms and apps that could be beneficial for principals, including many common apps that are not always utilized for professional use by principals, according to Bobby Dodd, principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School in Gahanna, OH.
- During a presentation at the 2017 National Principal’s Conference, Dodd said principals could make their Facebook and Twitter profiles an extension of their professional work, additionally detailing an unconventional use for the voice app Voxer where his staff used the app as a type of walkie-talkie on testing days or during emergencies, negating the need for that expense.
- Though principals do not need to be tech experts, they must become knowledgeable about what is available, particularly free or low-cost options, and they need to have the ability to share that information with faculty, staff and parents. These tools and platforms will not dissipate, Dodd asserted, but will keep changing.
Dodd noted that common platforms like Facebook and Twitter have increasingly moved away from being social platforms to become part of one’s professional presentation, but that means that school leaders need to conduct themselves above reproach on such accounts if they are to be used in any way as a professional extension of the school or district. Higher ed professors and adjuncts have faced similar concerns about how to utilize social media, and what lines cannot be crossed due to professional concerns. K-12 principals and administrators will share this concern, but must also worry about being a model for students, especially when there is increased anxiety about how social media usage has made cyberbullying easier to accomplish.
Dodd also noted how some platforms and sites were often given short shrift as cheap means of professional development for educators and administrators, specifically calling YouTube “the most underutilized tool in education.” Considering the funding for professional development and training may not always match the ambitions of administrators for forward progress, those leaders can look to commonly used apps as a means to disseminate online resources in an accessible manner, at least as a temporary measure.
In a recent Education Dive interview, New Teacher Center CEO Ellen Moir stressed how important it is for administrators to enact and support “instructional leadership teams,” which could create spaces and opportunities for teachers to learn from administrators and each other. As more robust and long-lasting changes are instituted, resources like YouTube could offer a stopgap for administrators to acclimate their staff to new tools and approaches.