Social Media For School Leaders

Social Media For School Leaders is the title of Dr. Brian J. Dixon's new book being published this month by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley.

"Just like websites, which eventually became 'must have,' every school district will ultimately need to embrace social media," says Dixon.

In 264 pages, Dixon, with ten years of classroom experience in public, private and charter schools, shares his deep knowledge of social media to provide detailed descriptions of the best online tools available for school leaders. 
  • And most important, he delivers step-by-step instructions for using the channels to move a school community from awareness to advocacy and from feedback to collaboration.
Long gone are the days of open houses and photocopied newsletters.  A school's community expects frequent updates and vehicles to provide feedback.

Because the book assumes the readers knows virtually nothing about the 14 online tools Dixon writes about, it is ideal for technophobes as well as experienced social media users who by reading the book may find they are overlooking some key strategies.

Dixon addresses the issues of school policies, online student safety, and whether or not to use Facebook.  He also provides best practices quotes from school principals and teachers from throughout the country and includes screenshots and examples from various schools.

Although I am not a school leader, I found most interesting the books' sections on:
  • doing online surveys
  • what to include on a schools' website
  • recruiting teachers with YouTube
  • best practices for blogging
Two particularly compelling quotes from the book are:
  • "Blogging creates a layer of transparency and gives stakeholders a glimpse into what I do, how I think, and what I am passionate about."  -- Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School, New Jersey
  • "One of the most powerful ways school administrators can use Facebook is to provide parents with a unique inside view of the daily operations of the school.  Administrators can take pictures of daily events, record interviews with teachers and students, film student projects or particular parts of a teacher's lesson and share this information with parents." -- Shawn Roner, a high school principal in San Diego, CA
Dixon wrote his book because he is seeing that:
  • because of the abundance of social technology it has begun to shift the role of the school leader from site administrator to community engagement specialist
This is causing school leaders to rethink their leadership strategy, moving from simply communicating to truly connecting.


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