May 14, 2012

How to use social media for students & schools

PTA conference: Embracing community outreach while protecting student privacy

JD LasicaOn Friday I flew down to Anaheim to give a 90-minute presentation, “Communicating in a Networked World,” to a packed room of about 250 attendees at the California State PTA Convention.

We had a great give an take about how social media can be used, by Parent Teacher Associations and other organizations, to advance schools’ and school districts’ business goals. I present at a lot of workshops and it was great to see the amount of interaction throughout the session — not just questions to me but PTA reps pitching in to help their colleagues.

Topics covered Facebook, Twitter, storytelling, Pinterest, Scoop.it, community strategies and more. More than half the workshop was spent on Facebook — probably 80 percent of the PTAs in the room had a Facebook page, compared with 20 percent that had a Twitter account.

Business reasons for using social media

Why use social media if you’re a PTA or educational association? I suggested these reasons as a starting point:

  1. Enhance the educational experience at your school (this needs to be the main reason, and one that you revisit time and again)
  2. Promote your PTA, school or school district
  3. Involve the community in decision-making
  4. Feedback loop with community
  5. Enlist volunteers

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