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Professional Opinion

4 tips on how schools can use social media

Strategies to leverage the power of social media to share school stories with students and families
Monica Burns is an edTech and curriculum consultant, author, and former classroom teacher. Her book "Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom" was published by ASCD in 2017.
Monica Burns is an edTech and curriculum consultant, author, and former classroom teacher. Her book "Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom" was published by ASCD in 2017.

Sharing special events, celebrating student accomplishments and telling stories of the small moments from a school day are all part of the role of educators.

Social media platforms are powerful tools for educators who are committed to connecting with stakeholders in a meaningful, consistent manner. It gives them information in the spaces they are already exploring on their own time.

Posting an event update to Twitter, sharing a volunteer sign-up form in a Facebook group, uploading a field trip picture to Instagram, or creating a Pinterest board full of summer reading lists are great ways to connect students and their families with relevant resources.

These spaces provide opportunities to celebrate accomplishments over the course of the school year and to show pride in their school and district.

Although you may already use many of these social platforms personally, a professional account will serve a different purpose. A teacher account lets individual educators share stories from their classroom, while a school account can share messaging about school events or messages for a broader audience.

As you consider using social media to connect with students and families, or as you look to refine your current commitment to leveraging the power of these platforms, here are four tips for connecting with your school community through these online platforms.

1. Prioritize platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest—where should you start? Although having a social media presence on all of these platforms is fantastic, if you’re just getting started, commit to using one platform at first and adding more as the school year progresses.

You might start with Instagram if you want to share photographs from special events, or Twitter if your goal is to share articles or links you think students and families will find useful.

2. Find exemplars

How are other schools using social media to connect with students and families? Looking in your region and then expanding to a larger search can help you find examples of how schools are using social media to share their stories.

St. Patrick’s School in Yorktown Heights (N.Y.) shares updates on its Twitter page to celebrate the great things happening there throughout the school day. Some schools share updates regularly on Facebook while others use Pinterest to create resource boards for families.

There isn’t a “right” answer, but as you dive into the platform you choose to explore, notice how others are leveraging the power of that particular social media tool.

3. Delegate content creation

When it comes to creating content to share on social media platforms, students can become part of the process. From movies and slideshows to websites and e-books, students can use digital tools to create dynamic products that showcase their learning.

These artifacts are perfect for sharing on school social media platforms to celebrate student accomplishments.

4. Talk to students

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Asking students if they noticed your posts on Instagram, or if they’re aware of the school’s new Twitter account is a great way to gather information. From these conversations you can make decisions on how to move forward.

Social media gives educators, schools and districts a new way to think about communication. These channels provide opportunities to share content, from live video and photographs to quick messages and discussion spaces.

Leveraging these platforms lets school leaders take ownership of their school stories, share their students’ successes with the world, and solidify connections with families, students and community members throughout the school year.


Monica Burns is an edTech and curriculum consultant, author, and former classroom teacher. Her book Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom was published by ASCD in 2017.