Many of us in the K-12 sector are experimenting with how we can use social media to connect with families. We have examples of schools using both Facebook and Twitter to build connections beyond the traditional means of school-home communication.
The challenge of Twitter is that very few parents actually have a Twitter account. I really like what one of our schools has done to get past this issue to find a way to use Twitter, to share school news and build community.
Chartwell Elementary (West Vancouver) has a new principal this year – Aron Campbell. Aron uses social media in his personal and professional life and has found a great way to extend this to what he is doing with his school.
Families want webpages that provide dynamic content; they love current highlights of school activities, and photos (shared conscious of student safety) are a huge draw. Aron has done a great job of this with his use of Twitter on the front page of their website. He can now share activities in real time, with a smartphone and a Twitter account.
The details of the how – our websites are built on SharePoint. Aron has taken a widget from yfrog, which is linked to the school’s Twitter account and this has been added as a webpart on the school site’s front page.
Our school websites were refreshed a year ago with the goal of moving away from the webmaster model, and encouraging more current, relevant content shared in a variety of formats. This example from Chartwell is small, and it is simple – but it is a great example of how we can begin to use social media to build community in our schools.