Approximately one month ago I posted an article seeking feedback from people who had a school Twitter account. A huge thank you to everyone who replied by posting comments in response to the ten questions and to those who tweeted or emailed me. Information came from schools in the UK and the USA.
Here is a summary of my findings and key points to note, where I have felt this might be helpful.
Please do leave a comment so I know if you found this informative, helpful and or it gave you food for thought. Thank you.
1. Who writes your school tweets?
Responses: Heads, SLTs, Director of ICT, librarian, school secretary, members of staff who do the newsletter or who have a specific interest and or it’s part of their job description. Pupils via members of staff.
Key point: Anyone at your school could potentially write school tweets. What is important is to agree who can write tweets (all or restricted) and to agree the style/format they should take before you launch your Twitter account.
2. Who posts your tweets?
Responses: as for 1
Key point: From the esafety and quality control angle, the less people who post the better. Consider submitting all tweets via one person who quality controls and posts the tweets.
3. On average how often is a school tweet posted?
Responses: Once a day seemed to be typical with some generating more or fewer tweets. The most was about 4 a week for the main school account and about 3 a day for each class account!
Key point: People felt regularity was important for the school Twitter to have value and to maintain followers’ interest.
4. Who follows the school on Twitter? Parents, pupils, staff, other schools, people working in education, business/marketing companies and or?
Responses: All of the above plus grandparents, governors and members of the local community.
5. Why do you have a school Twitter account? To push information, for marketing, to engage and motivate parents, pupils and staff, to showcase your school, ..or?
Responses included: Info for parents – communication of events, dates, changes etc. Class pages do also motivate children with web2.0 and raise the standard between classes.
It was intended to increase communication between pupils and parents about school events.
We do post about sporting events & recognize award winners for contests and other extra curricular competitions.
We share learning and school information, links to our blogs and audioboo clips.
The aim is to engage parents, let them see what goes on in our school and engage children with a real audience. It has also allowed us to collaborate with classes across the globe.
I tweet to remind people of events, to showcase new and updated pages on our website, to let people know what we’ve been doing at school, to motivate and engage parents, pupils and staff. I also use it to update parents of children on school trips, both residential and day trips.
To celebrate our brill academy and the achievements of our wonderful students.
We have many reasons. It has (along with Facebook) become the fastest way to get information to families. It is also a very cheap, effective, and quick marketing tool. Whether it be internal marketing to our current families (parents love to see pictures of their children in the middle of the day doing fun stuff) or future parents, we want them to see what we are doing. Twitter has provided a window into the classroom!
Key point: Establish what you wish to communicate and achieve through your tweets, then you can target them appropriately.
6. How long have you had a school Twitter account?
Responses: 6 months to two years.
7. What have you identified as the main benefits since you have started the school Twitter?
Responses included: Communication! So much positive feedback from working parents who feel part of their child’s day.
Community awareness, we have found that in a school our size, some of our own teachers were not aware of what other teachers were doing in different levels.
It reaches a few of the parents that other forms of communication don’t reach.
It has increased the volume of traffic to our blogs.
Parents like instant pics or messages.
Staff love it and brilliant engagement with international schools.
A presence in an increasingly noisy and crowded on-line world of communication.
Key point: There are many benefits to using Twitter, see above, and some benefits cannot be facilitated as effectively and quickly by any other means.
8. What are the pitfalls in having a school Twitter account?
Responses/key point: Consider esafety. Monitor comments and block followers who’s posts are inappropriate or you would not wish them/their company to be associated with your school.
9. Do to reply to tweets from others or is it only one way communication?
Responses: varied from the school never replies to, it is not easy – there is so much to read – but the 2-way communication is essential.
Key point: Decide if you are going to reply to comments or not. If you are going to reply who is going to do this and when?
10.Please give any further advice you have for a school about to have a school twitter account.
Responses: It’s absolutely fab! Our parents love it. We are promoting our blogs and other web2.0 communication strategies electronically and it works really well. Just make sure you teach the parents how to block dodgy followers – some of our children have signed up being enthusiastic and then found themselves with dodgy accounts following them. But that is not our responsibility. That’s the parents’ job. Twitter is another line of communication for us. And our parents love it
Protect your tweets/account to start with so you can control who follows you.
We like it, another way to communicate with parents.
I love using twitter in the classroom and am gradually working towards the children saying “we could tweet that”. I have only been running it since September.
Just do it, give it a try!
Take the plunge and promote, tweet and promote some more.
We also have a permanent search for the name of the school running in Tweetdeck. We can sometimes pick up news about ex-pupils and the suchlike this way. It also means that we can go and have quiet words with students about their tweets if we need to!
I think it’s a great way to let people know what’s happening in school. The only advice I would give is to keep an eye on who follows you. Miss Busty from P……… probably isn’t a parent or carer and you may like to block her (and the things she advertises!)
Be creative and be yourselves – authenticity shines through.