How Grade Inflation Hurts Students
Using Social Media to Be a Better Education Leader with Top Tweeting Principal Eric Sheninger
By Concordia Online Staff
The conversion from social media doubter to believer wasn’t hard. Three years ago, New Milford High School principal Eric Sheninger believed there was no place in education for social media. Then, he read an article that convinced him to try Twitter. Quickly Sheninger saw this was a must-have tool for education.
“It was a complete 180,” Sheninger said.
Nearly every class has a social media component now, he said. And nearly every site on the web is available on every school computer. Sheninger even used Twitter to collaborate on his first book, ”Communicating and Connecting With Social Media: Essentials for Principals.” (He’s now on his third). Twitter, blogging and other social media tools make him a better educational leader, Sheninger said. It improves learning, helps prepare students and allows his school to increase involvement.
Here are some of the ways Sheninger uses social media:
Communication: “Parents, teachers, other stakeholders, everyone is on Facebook. Everyone is on Twitter,” Sheninger said. Schools should take advantage of that.
“Why not connect with them in real time and give them information?” His school still sends traditional newsletters and email blasts, but now he backs up that with information on social media.
Public relations: Using social media, schools can get their message out — and brand it with school colors, mascots and logos. It can be empowering.
“We are generating our own content,” Sheninger said. “In this day and age, when we only hear about the negative, social media allows educators to share the positive things that go on between our walls.”
“If we don’t tell our story, someone else will,” he added.
Student engagement and learning: Social tools and technology help learners of all kinds, Sheninger said. And, though social media, educators are able to conquer one of the great problems of education today.
“The challenges for leaders today is the difference between the school world and the real world,” Sheninger said. “This helps bridge that gap.” That’s because students can access information as they would at home and they can add to the conversation.
Professional growth and development: Social media allows educators and leaders to create their own professional learning path. Being able to learn anywhere and at any time is powerful, Sheninger said.
Have a question? Ask your network. “With social media we can create our own education networks. It is a human powered search engine,” he said.
Opportunity: “When you put yourself and your school out there, you are telling your story. People hear that,” Sheninger said. The social media push at New Milford High School and social networking have led to real opportunities, Sheninger said. Companies hear about them and donate equipment. Conferences are hosted on campus. Social media raises a school’s profile.
The benefits of social media, said one-time doubter Sheninger, are clear when educational leaders look with an open mind.< show all "ARTICLES" articles