In many districts, employees are left isolated and without guidance when it comes to using social media technology to facilitate their own Personal Learning Network (PLN).
Texas based Navasota Independent School District has taken a different approach to support their employees’ PLN efforts with their #navasotaisd chat channel. Jim Russell (@teachfangs), current principal of Navasota Junior High, answers this week’s 5Q about their district’s commitment to use a Twitter chat channel to support PLNs.
Why did your district decide to launch the #navasotaisd effort?
While at TASA's Leadership for the Digital Age featuring Alan November (@globallearner), our superintendent and other district administrators discussed ways to increase professional learning using Twitter and unique hash tags. We determined we could deepen our professional discussion, and include other participants, by using the #navasotaisd identifier.
What kind of training have you given to your staff or other stakeholders on use of twitter?
Our technology trainer has introduced Twitter to all teachers in the district in several sessions over the past couple of years. I introduced the idea of using Twitter as a professional learning opportunity in a recent faculty meeting on my campus. I gave the teachers an assignment to look up #PBL and #flippedclassroom and to retweet their discoveries using #navasotaisd. Our next campus goal will be to expand on that activity and to help them continue to learn how to use social media for professional purposes.
Are any stakeholders besides leadership staff participating in the chats such as teachers, parents, or students?
At this point, most of the participants in #navasotaisd are those who attended the Digital Leadership training (where we also decided to use #tasanov to share our learning). A couple of teachers have posted to #navasotaisd but most of the district's educators have not yet embraced the concept.
What benefits have you seen from the use of the #navasotaisd chat?
We are able to communicate with successful educators who face the same opportunities for growth that challenge us, and we can learn from their successes and attempts at success. Additionally, we can model the peer collaboration that we expect from our students.
What advice would you give to anyone who was thinking of implementing a district chat?
Train the staff to understand the difference between professional and social uses of new technologies and media and encourage them to share and contribute to the discussion.