Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Social Media: Shining a Needed Spotlight

When I began my career as an administrator, back in the day when Microsoft MSN ruled the day, virtually all student conflict either started or was exacerbated via social media.

Jaded by these experiences, I perceived social media as sewer-like place for human interaction.  A dark place for mundane, useless and sometimes "crappy", negative and hurtful interactions.

This view of social media continued  even as Facebook became king.

And then something happened on October 23, 2010.  I, myself, decided to take the plunge into that self-described "sewer".  I entered the social media space with Twitter.

Today I am here to officially recant my previous views and beliefs regarding social media .  Since that October day, not only have I embraced social media in a multitude of ways, I have also been supportive of our school fully engaging with social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

And it's not just me and the school.  More and more teachers have signed on.  They are using social media to connect with, communicate with and engage students (and parents) and their learning.

As a result something remarkable has happened.  A bright light has been shone on that previously unknown and dark "sewer-like" place.

Seemingly, as more adults engage with social media- the more the students realize that they need to pay attention to their own digital tattoo (footprint, legacy, reputation, etc).

Students now can see the modelling of appropriate interactions in the digital world by those whom they respect and look up to in the  face to face world.  Nothing is more effective than when we, as teachers, lead the way with integrity.

As a principal I feel more empowered and more informed to speak to students and parents about all aspects of "digital citizenship".  I can give advice and tips based on first hand experience.

I can also provide a testimonial about how social media, if used appropriately, can be such a powerful and positive force for learning and connecting.  

As teaching professionals we have an obligation to shine a bright light on social media - our students require this from us!


  1. It is amazing how quickly we can shift in such short periods of time our views on technology. As the number of adults in the space grows we have great opportunity to be models for students and our community on the power of engagement on important topics. I have been a little worried as of late that some of the adults are not providing the best modelling, but then again, the job of the community is to look after this and do what you have done - remind us of our values and purpose and the need to lead with integrity.

    1. Well said Chris. Interesting you mention some of your growing concern about some of the lack of positive modeling by some adults. I share some of your concerns. Like in our face to face interactions, some made need more reminding. I see my social media presence as no different than being in an auditorium full of parents and students. That image has really helped guide my digital presence.
      Appreciate the comment