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Twitter reaches school staffs as communication medium

Social media has elevated to a functional medium for communication among administrators and teachers in Madison City Schools.

Discovery Middle School has extended its “professional learning community to the virtual world and is professionally tweeting on Twitter,” Principal Dr. Robbie Smith said.

Discovery is focused on becoming a professional learning community, or “a group of professionals dedicated to best practices in education,” Smith said. For this aim, the faculty pursues professional development and shares within teams at the school.

Twitter is one example of activities to enhance professional learning and further commitment to student learning, Smith said.

In February, Smith heard Dr. Todd Whitaker, author of “What Great Principals Do Differently” and “What Great Teachers Do Differently.” “He promoted Twitter as the best free professional development available for educators,” Smith said.

She started exploring and found “not only can you find a wealth of information about virtually any topic but also great networking opportunities.”

Discovery instructional partner Jackie Flowers has conducted two sessions on using Twitter and helped teachers set up their accounts. The technology department with Madison City Schools also hosted a Twitter session.

Discovery’s staff mainly uses Twitter “for sharing professionally.” Smith has found Twitter is an easy way to communicate to a large group that she can’t reach immediately by phone.

At Discovery’s first baseball game, Smith tweeted scores from inning to inning and commented on the players’ performance. “It’s a great way to keep in touch with all the Panther families quickly,” she said. “It also allows parents to see what and how we’re sharing with other professionals.”

Currently, Discovery students are not using Twitter. “We are exploring using it in classrooms, but we don’t want to jump into anything,” Smith said. “Students are very savvy with social media, but we want to ensure that the content they would be exposed to at school is safe.”

In addition to the Discovery faculty, Smith also tweets to teachers who ‘follow’ her in Madison City Schools. “We use #DMSPanthersPLC for Discovery and the Madison district uses #MCSlearn,” she said.

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