One of the biggest criticisms I hear from people is students only use technology for social media opportunities. I tend to think a statement such as this is unfair. I see students each and every day use technology for research, homework completion, collaboration, and reading. Students have a world of information at their fingertips that I couldn't even fathom when I was in high school (the Internet didn't hit it big until I was in college). I have seen students connect with students from around the country, participate in class activities while sick at home and write their own music…all with the aid of a small fraction of the technology options available to them. Student and staff are continually finding new and creative ways to learn, connect, think critically, and be part of the world around them. Technology is so much more to our students and staff than social media.
Speaking of social media, I get the feeling the term is starting to develop a negative connotation. Like many of you, I hear stories about bullying, inappropriate material, and other forms of negative usage of social media. Of course those are concerns we all share and address when brought to our attention. However, I think we need to be more proactive on social media education. Our students are in a digital world and have a hard time understanding a world without technology. It is my belief we need to help them grow in that world and become responsible digital citizens. Our school preaches "Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible", these themes are taught in the classroom, the lunchroom and on the playground. These lessons also need to be discussed in terms of technology use. We can't possibly block every site and prevent apps from being used, but we can make efforts to teach our students right and wrong when using them.
Instead of sticking our heads in the sand we have staff who have jumped into the social media world and created another avenue to enhance students education. Twitter has become a great way to connect with students to provide information, create dialogue, and conduct research. Furthermore, I feel our staff is beginning to embrace the possibilities of Twitter in terms of their own professional development. In leading by example, our staff can provide valuable evidence of how to take advantage of the many ways Twitter can be a great tool.
I am by no means an expert of the uses of technology in our schools, but I believe in embracing technology and using it to provide an even better school for our students. Being proactive is how our school has become an example of what many other schools around the state strive to be.