Schools and districts can (and should) leverage Twitter to their advantage
- Despite the potential pitfalls that can come with social media, the rewards outweigh the risks for schools and districts when it comes to leveraging platforms such as Twitter for greater relations with students, parents and the community at large.
- One of the easiest ways to take advantage of Twitter is to engage with hashtags, either by creating new ones to facilitate your own discussions and brainstorming sessions, or by joining popular existing discussions like #EdChat or #BFC530 — a practice some administrators have referred to as "PD in your PJs."
- Twitter can also provide an outlet for a district or school to humanize itself, eSchoolNews reports, letting accounts from districts, schools, administrators or teachers appropriately joke or share the occasional non-school-related info with followers.
Before launching or expanding their Twitter presence, districts, schools or individual educators should be wary of best practices for the platform — especially if no formal guidelines are in place yet. These guidelines don't just have to focus on what you shouldn't do, either. For example, a school might put in place a policy that engages students by establishing student-led teams to oversee and produce content for accounts on set days or times, additionally providing real-world social media management experience.
And for individual educators, greater engagement with platforms like Twitter also provide experiences to connect with peers nationally or even worldwide to share experiences and best practices. In a profession built around the 3 R's (relationships, relationships, relationships), the power of platforms that help educators expand their peer networks can't be underestimated.
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter