Social Media: School Leadership in the Digital Age

Social Media: School Leadership in
the Digital Age
J. Howard Johnston
University of South Florida
Ronald Williamson
Eastern Michigan University
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Social Media: School Leadership in
the Digital Age
Part 1: Social Media and Schools
Part 2: School Safety & Crisis Management
Part 3: Communication
Part 4: Productivity
Part 5: Professional Growth
Key Lessons About Social Media
• News travels fast and can “go viral” in
• Information is distributed through
conversations rather than broadcasts
• We trust information from a trusted
source (friend) or neutral source
(consumer agency)
Key Lessons About Social Media
• Schools are not usually trusted sources
• Production of information no longer
edited, consumption of information must
be done with care
• Communication must be brief and to the
Why Pay Attention
• Do you communicate with students, families
and staff?
• Do you monitor community views about your
• Do your kids use social media?
• Do you need to stay on top of cutting-edge
educational topics?
• Do you need to promote good news about
your school in the community?
Getting Started
Five Step Plan
1. List ways you communicate with your “publics;”
how you might employ social media?
2. Draft a vision statement for social media in your
3. Ask your kids to show you some apps they use.
4. Ask parents how they use social media.
5. Subscribe to an online newsletter about tech in
schools: e.g.,
Social Media and School Safety
Legal Guidance
 Tinker Test – can restrict speech that is likely to cause a
“substantial disruption”
 Fraser Test – can restrict speech that is “sexually explicit,
indecent or lewd”
 Morse Test – can restrict speech encouraging “illegal drug
 Hazelwood Test – can restrict “school sponsored speech
that is inconsistent with the school’s basic educational
Social Media and School Safety
Five Step Plan
Learn about social media and how it works
Recognize that most teens use it responsibly
Don’t attempt to ban it
Help students, families and staff know about
how to manage social media
5. Focus on responsible student use
Social Media and
Crisis Management
Key Ideas
Provides a faster response
Keep messages brief and pertinent
Be sure to listen and respond
Have a plan to monitor messages (sent and
• Create a “Fact Check” site
Social Media and
Crisis Management
Five Step Plan
1. Don’t wait for a crisis. “Get your feet wet.”
2. Only the facts; avoid emotional response
3. Provide timely and useful information (no
4. Be willing to live with critique and rumors
5. Post information and updates regularly
Social Media and School
Key Ideas
• It builds relationships
• They’re already talking
• Listen as well as share
• You’ll be well received
• It’s here to stay; not going away
Social Media and School
Five Step Plan
1. Look at and update school’s website
2. Examine Facebook and Twitter sites of other
3. Visit the blog of other school leaders –
4. Check out YouTube ( as a
way to promote your school
5. Think about Flickr ( as a tool to
communicate about your school
Social Media and Productivity
Key Ideas
• Managing time and tasks is a challenge
• Importance of staying up-to-date
• Gen Y employees expect to be
connected, updated, and involved
• Expectations around access to
Social Media and Productivity
Five Step Plan
1. Use it to schedule meetings (
2. Manage access to information using RSS
3. Collaborate on planning and projects using wikis
4. Build connections (
5. Create a personal learning network (PLN)
Key Ideas
Social Media and
Professional Growth
1. Individualized professional development is now
2. Professional networks span distance and time.
3. Peer-to-Peer and embedded in the work is best.
4. Students can be teachers and coaches for school
5. Parents expect social media competence on the
part of school staff.
6. Social media is economical.
Social Media and Professional Growth
Five Step Plan
1. Survey staff for social media skills.
2. Create a coaching/training cadre of students & staff.
3. Model use of social media for your own professional
4. Subscribe to a school leaders’ blog:
5. Have staff showcase social media use in meetings:
For Additional Information
J. Howard Johnston
Ron Williamson
e-mail: [email protected]
e-mail: [email protected]
School Leaders’ Social Media Blog