Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How to connect in the post e-mail world

How will I connect to parents this year?  A big question as I get ready for a new year and a new school.

Due to CASL legislation here in Canada, we are not allowed to send out unsolicited e-mails to parents. The fines are very high, so the risk is real.  So, we have lost some terrific, innovative tools in the rush to comply with the legislation.

Remind  is gone.  Constant Contact is gone.  Too bad, these were the two mainstays of my communication strategy.  There are always other options however.

My main communication tool for the community will become Edublogs.  These folks are really my heros.  They supply a great variety of templates and their customer service is unbelievable.  They actually had me doing css code this week to redesign one of my blogs.  Not sure what css is, but its pretty cool.

I have one blog up and running for staff - the SAN Script (the code for our school is SAN).  It's in the development stage, so if you see something that I should change, let me know.  During the year, I will be posting to it every day to keep this really diverse staff connected.

Next, will be St. Anthony Connects - this blog will be for parents and the great community partners I am meeting. Haven't got a template ready for that yet.

I will go with a 'pro' account so that people can sign up to get my posts.  This will satisfy CASL and it will allow me to break away from the deadly weight of the monthly drab newsletter.  As you can tell. I can't stand newsletters.  Why does anyone do these things any more - we live in a world of instant information, why should parents wait for some stale document at the end of the month?

Twitter and Facebook will round out the strategy.  Both are set up and I hope through IFTTT they are linked.  I will use Flickr and Instagram so people can see what is happening every day.  This is a key point - parents need to see what is happening almost as it happens.  I want engaged parents who are hooked into what we are doing.

That's a good start.  Lots of work to do, but this is so important!

Am I missing anything?  Just let me know.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Human Factor

It's been a great summer! I have had some time to work on my blogging and I have reorganized my twitter so maybe it will be more effective in September.

I have had the luxury to take part in some great twitter chats #whatisschool - from Australia -  very cool!  I am working on new blogs to use for September thanks to the patient people at Edublog!

Now comes the transition to the human factor.  I'm not stopping all my PLN reorganization, but I am moving to a new school and there are lots of really exciting opportunities coming up.

I have met the man who runs a coffee shop and espresso repair store right next to our school.  Today, he showed me all the ins and out of maintaining your machine (you need to clean it out every week).  I also met Bob the custodian at my new school - a really great guy and a very hard worker - he comes in at 5:30 am!!  The other custodian is Guatemalan, so we are going to work together on my Spanish.

I started learning about Vox today and I think it is going to lead to a very cool collaboration with some of the real stars of my PLN.  Its a little hard to turn my iPad into a walkie talkie, but I am trying.  I had a very cool conversation with some people from Nearpod - a really cool new technology (new for me).

I also met some community people who run programs to connect kids to recreational programs - we are going to look for office space for them. And - the best - I got to work with my wife on setting up a new Edublog, a better Dropbox and Discovery Education!  I also read some of her blog posts - truly amazing writing!

We also met with some terrific people who want to run a pilot program at our school to encourage our kids to get into running.

All this is just in the past few days.  In the near future I am going to start working with another group of great educators on a blogging workshop for administrators.

All to say I feel so blessed!  There are so many great learning opportunities out there, so many great chances to collaborate with others.  Its all about connecting to people and really getting into all the wonderful possibilities that come from being in this great line of work.

This is about to become a terrific year!!