From the Principal's Office: For Teachers on Twitter
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January 27, 2013 By: PJ Caposey
It worked!! After slightly less than one year of promotion, my wife @mrscaposey, who is an all-world 1st grade teacher made a full-fledged lead into the Twitterverse. Not only did she make an account and begin tweeting, but she also went a step further and made Twitter the new home for her weekly updates in place of the traditional paper newsletter many parents have become accustomed to receiving in their child’s take home folder. Being familiar with many of the heavy weights on #edtech I assured my wife that I would find a sample letter she could send, email, and the tweet to her parents about why the transition was made, how it would impact their receipt of information about their child, and what they needed to do stay up-to-date with the happenings of the classroom. While, I found many blog posts that did a chunk of answering each of those questions, I did not find a template that my wife could easily borrow, personalize, and then deliver to parents. So – I thought I would give it a try since many more teachers will find their way to Twitter, and many more already on Twitter may eventually make the site a home-base for parent-teacher communication in the future.
I would like to inform of you of a shift in practice of how I will be focusing my communication with you in the coming weeks. Traditionally, I try to communicate with each of you via email and through sending home paper copies of information with your child. While this has proven ‘to get the job done’ I found that trying to communicate in such a manner did not allow me to communicate as frequently or as timely as I would like to. My plan is to communicate in the same manner I have for the next three weeks until ____/_____/_____ as well as communicate via Twitter during that time. My hope is that we can gradually become accustomed to Twitter before the full switch occurs. As with anything, if this presents a hardship or you have concern please let me know and I will find a way to accommodate the needs of you and your family.
Below I will provide some additional information/rationale and Twitter-basics for those of you who are not familiar.
WHO: This switch should impact each of us in the class. The data and evidence regarding Twitter use is ever-present in our society. It is difficult to make it through an hour of television programming or an article in a newspaper without seeing the use of (#) or (@). Twitter has become the norm. This transition is showing that we are not ignoring social trends in education, but embracing them. Besides for simply following me on twitter (@> > > > > ) you can also follow a number of great accounts which provide support and resources for parents, including @mytowntutors,@Joe_Mazza, and @Edotopia.
WHAT: The goal is for all general or mass communication that does not need to be sent via paper format to parents to take place over Twitter. Updates as to what we learned each day, including objectives and any work for students to complete at home will be transmitted. This instant, quick format will allow for changes that have occurred to be communicated to parents quickly. How great will it to be to know what your child needs to do for the next day before they are even off the bus?!
WHERE: Anyone with a SmartPhone can access Twitter directly from their phone at any time. All others, can access Twitter anywhere the internet is available.
WHEN: I will Tweet often – throughout the day and occasionally at night. This will allow me to stay much more in contact with each of you. For instance, if one parent sends me a question, I will be able to respond to the whole group to clear up any confusion instantly.
WHY: Twitter is quicker, easier, and will be more reliable form of communication. In addition, using Twitter to communicate in the educational world will also allow us to model the appropriate use of social media to students and also demonstrate to them that we are trying to communicate on their platforms.
· It should also be noted that your child (if you have determined that they are able to be active on Twitter) can also follow for updates, reminders, and other types of information that will support them through the learning process.
NEXT STEPS: Please sign up for a Twitter account by visiting www.twitter.com or downloading the Twitter application to your SmartPhone and follow me @>>>>>>>>. If you are having trouble finding me, click on the search icon and type in _____________ then click follow. Once you have found me send me a message letting me know you have found me and the site. I will begin sending out more information on how to maximize your Twitter experience in the coming weeks, via Twitter of course.
All the best,
PJ Caposey is the principal of Oregon High School in Oregon, IL and the author of Building a Culture of Support. Read more at www.pjcaposey.com and twitter.com/PrincipalPC.