Ask anyone who advocates for the effective use of technology in schools if they have a story about a teacher or administrator who simply refuses to participate in social media. We all do, and it’s a shame. Our unconnected educators wear their status like a badge of honor. They know that their students, their families, and their community are using it; yet still they refuse. No digital footprint means a good digital footprint, right?
I’ve listened as some of my colleagues vilify these holdouts as failing educators, stuck in a 20th century mindset when it comes to teaching and learning. It’s a valid criticism, one that’s probably true in some cases. More often I find that they’re simply misinformed, scared, over-burdened, or under-trained. They’re not bad educators because they don’t tweet, but it’s my responsibility to show how social media can help them do their job better.
- Need to update your dinosaur unit with some fresh ideas? Let’s search Pinterest for “dinosaur unit”, and we’ll grab a few ideas before the students get back from lunch.
- Need to recruit a bigger pool of job applicants? I’d recommend we post our career fair on Facebook, and within 24 hours, I bet it’s shared more than two dozen times.
- Need to know what students are really saying about us? Gather the counseling team, and we’ll search Twitter for the name our school. It might be a little traumatizing, but we can use the results to show why teaching digital citizenship is so important.
The internet abounds with similar examples of why teachers should be using social media, but I can’t fulfill my role as a technology coach with a Top 10 list. I can’t browbeat my reluctant educators into submission or mandate their adoption practices. My job is to paint a realistic picture of what’s possible when they connect online. I don’t expect change overnight, and some may need an ongoing intensive intervention to be successful. But if nothing else, I want to hear them say, “I don’t do social media…but I’m willing to try.”