PMP:105 Using Technology to Message with Students

In Tim Elmore’s book Generation IY, he shares data from his 2015 research showing the following trends among youth.

Photo by danielfoster437 – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

• 75 percent post on Facebook
• 73 percent shop online
• 49 percent Tweet
• 43 percent read an e-book

He also quotes a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation Report that “kids between eight and eighteen are spending seven-and-a-half hours each day in front of a screen,” and a Nieslen Company survey reports that the “typical U.S. teen mobile subscriber sends or receives an average of 1, 742 texts per month” (Elmore).

It is easy to see how many of our youth are communicating. And in 2018, these trends have obviously increased depending on what social media platform you discuss. Although nothing replaces the power of relationship building or face-to-face interaction, you are missing powerful opportunities for connection if you are not including technology in your communication with students.

This week’s post is a replay of a recent webinar presentation from my book Messaging Matters with a discussion of Chapter 6: Using Technology to Message with Students. The discussion includes two parts: Part 1 – Technology Tools for Messaging with Students & Part 2 – Releasing Weekly Student Newsletters.

Part 1–Technology Tools for Messaging with Students

As you enhance the ways you communicate with students, keep these ideas in mind:

  1. Use social media.
  2. Create promotions.
  3. Feature announcements.
  4. Post movies.
  5. Use Reminder Applications.

Check out the webinar episode or presentation slides for visual samples of ways schools are building their presence with these tools.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is one new tool you can commit to using over the next thirty days to enhance your student outreach?
  2. What is one way you are already consistently communicating with students? How could you enhance those messages with technologies that students are already using?
  3. Who is someone on your team you could designate for helping with technology support?

Part 2–Releasing Weekly Student Newsletters

Another way to enhance communication with students is by having a consistent, weekly wrap-up you can share through a newsletter or other platform.

At my school, one of my technology teachers helped coordinate content with students. They shared that content with me for a weekly release via a student newsletter. Other schools do this by creating their own websites, video-shares, or photo releases.

If you are interested in coordinating a weekly newsletter, keep these ideas in mind:

  1. Collect and build content.
  2. Organize information into categories.
  3. Assign student roles.
  4. Create your draft template.
  5. Proof and review.
  6. Share digitally.
  7. Don’t let mistakes stop the momentum.

When it comes to collecting and building content, here is a list of ideas to consider.
Innovative lessons or projects from classroom activities:

  • Award winners in clubs, activities, or sports
  • Updates on recent events, assemblies, or competitions
  • Announcements of upcoming events
  • Reminders of how to check grades or attend tutoring
  • Students of the month
  • Teachers of the month
  • Calendar updates
  • Fund-raiser announcements or other deadlines, like ordering yearbooks

Again, you can see samples of all of the above via the webinar presentation slides. Is there an easier format for you than a traditional newsletter? Perhaps you would be more comfortable with a weekly photo or video share.

Let’s Wrap This Up

No technology or social media option is a magic formula for student communication. But don’t be afraid try enhance your communication by trying something new and speaking to students in the language they are already using. Are you using the technologies of students to enhance communication with students? If not, you might as well be communicating from another planet. Traditional methods of communicating may not be delivering the messages you want students to hear. So be bold in including new ways to connect with them.

Now It’s Your Turn

How do you currently share student and school news in a consistent way? Do you involve students in the sharing? Who in your school or organization has the skills and student connections to take your publications to the next level? Whatever means you choose, keep sharing positive messages from your school!

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Principal Matters–The Book!

School leaders are very busy, so each of the twenty-four chapters is designed as a quick-read and followed with take-action questions for follow-up or reflection. If you want practical ideas on understanding your purpose, managing school teams, dealing with challenges, and leading with courage, action, motivation, and teamwork, go HERE to pick up a copy for you or your team.

Messaging Matters

Harness the power of messaging to create a culture of acknowledgment, respect, and celebration. Written specially for leaders, this title is divided into three parts, helping readers to maximize their role as chief communicators with students, teachers, and parents and community. Each chapter includes suggestions for using digital tools to enhance messaging and ends with reflection questions and practical next steps.

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker