April 10, 2012 by Brad Currie
This past October I was fortunate enough to attend NJPSA’s Fall Conference (@njpsa) on effective school leadership. There were many wonderful keynote speakers and workshops for school administrators to attend. One in particular, Leading with Social Media by Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) changed the way I viewed social media and the important role it plays in school. In particular, he spoke about the importance of using tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Blogging to communicate with stakeholders and expand professional learning networks. Upon returning to school the next day I immediately contacted building (@cathollinger) and district (@MHall_MST) level administration to share my excitement about the prospect of using social media to inform stakeholders, expand PLNs and promote student achievements. Fast forward to the present and @RMS_VIKINGS has over 200 followers on Twitter and Facebook and close to 1,000 hits on our blog https://bcurrie.wordpress.com/ that promotes student and staff achievements. The social media initiative for Readington Middle School, where I am the Vice Principal, has fortunately now become a way of life.
Over the past five months social media has had a profound impact on my professional life. Twitter has provided much “food for thought” and I am now connected with educators from around the world. At first I followed people like @tomwhitby and @NMHS_Principal to gain insight on cutting edge web 2.0 tools and best practice educational strategies. Then I began to feel comfortable enough to retweet articles, blog posts and educational resources. Soon, I had people following me (@bcurrie5) and commenting on my tweets every once in a while. Fast forward to April and its nice to know that currently I am following over 200 educators world wide and have close to that many following me. Great connections have been made with such educators as @ToddWhitaker @Dynamic Schools @scottrrocco @iSchoolLeader and @TeacherCast. Many opportunities have come to the forefront because of my ever expanding professional learning network. Recently I joined several educators on @TeacherCast podcast and will soon be hosting a live Saturday morning chat on Twitter with @scottrrocco under the hashtag #Satchat pertaining to school leadership.
The positive impact of using social media to promote student/staff achievement, inform stakeholders and expand professional learning networks has been so tremendous that I am now trying to get others to “drink the Kool-Aid.” Over the past several months I have made “Twitter PD” presentations at various department meetings and curated daily Bundlenuts (http://www.bundlenut.com/b/187027) containing useful EdLinks that are emailed to staff and shared on Twitter. Every morning when I wake up, the first I do is open up the iPad, tap on the Twitter app and read away. Some of the great people to follow in Twitterland are @bhsprincipal @iEducator @cybraryman1 @rmbyrne @Joe_Mazza to name a few. Recently I did an online radio interview and I was asked about the state of education. My reply was that it is the most exciting time to be an educator due to the fact that technology has allowed us to collaborate and thus provide our students with a top notch education. This indeed is an exciting time for education and for that I give thanks to Twitter and my ever expanding professional learning network.