Using Technology to Connect
By Lamar Johnson
Not since Pepsi proclaimed that it was the choice of a new generation has anything swept across the American consciousness as quickly as social media. Facebook is a big deal -- 400-million-users big. Twitter is part of the daily vernacular and YouTube is one of the most visited sites in the world.
Teachers, students, and parents are all using social media to stay connected. New teachers now entering the classroom have been exposed to this new technology since their formative years. Parents are turning to social media to get critical answers, form coalitions, and make sense of the world. Some studies estimate that as many as 60 percent of all teens own their own cell phone, giving them access to Facebook and Twitter as well because no Internet is required. All you have to do is send a text message.
Most school board members, however, have been slow to embrace this new medium.
It’s a natural disconnect, because in general the people making the policies are one to two generations removed from those who live with the policy. As a board member who works with social networks every day, I can tell you with certainty: You need to be aware of this disconnect and integrate this powerful communications tool into your governing life.
If you don’t, you are missing an opportunity.
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