Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ways Your School Can Use Social Media: Instagram

I am excited to be presenting at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference and the Ohio Middle Level State Conference in February about how your school can use social media to connect and communicate with your families.  Many, if not all of these methods would be considered pretty unconventional.  One of those ways is how we are using Instagram.

At Big Walnut Intermediate School, in Sunbury, Ohio, we have set up a school Instagram account and have been using it for about a year.  Now I know that statement right there scares many administrators, but in the year we have been using it, we have had ZERO negative interactions associated with it.

If you are unfamiliar with Instagram, think of it as Twitter with pictures or 15 second videos.  It is more along the philosophy of "A picture is worth a thousand words."  One of the ways we use it is probably what you would expect.  If I see something worth sharing, I snap a quick picture or video with my phone or tablet and put it on Instagram as a way to share the great things happening in our school.  The kids LOVE it.

The second way we use Instagram, and I got this idea from Eric Lowe, an assistant principal at Beaver Local Middle School in Lisbon, Ohio, is to share a positive message each morning (some examples are below).  The majority of the the people who follow our school's Instagram account are students.  The feedback I receive on Instagram is based on how many "likes" a photo or video receives.  The daily positive message receives MORE likes than any other photo or video I post on Instagram.  Even if these positive messages are only getting one or two kids off on the right foot in the morning, it is worth doing.  I believe it is impacting more than that.

Our kids and our staff work very hard, and that is no different than any other school in this world.  That work should be shared with as many people as possible.  Using social media allows us to do just that.  

Eric and I will be presenting on the various ways we use social media to tell our school's story.  Feel free to connect with us.