Lack of Social Media

While sitting at Mesa High School’s homecoming carnival, I turned to one of our senior AVID elective teachers, Nancy Berthold, and told her about some of the trends that are occurring in social media.  When I mentioned such topics like Fagan-Smith’s idea of social media, “…providing a great way to achieve instant communication.  It’s about social networking- being able to engage and collaborate through a digital medium” (IABC.com)  Our discussion became worrisome, how does AVID connect with students and parents on a local as well as national level?  My interview with Nancy, a decade long AVID teacher, became a conversation about what we were doing, what we were missing, and how could we get our system back on track.

Conversation Part I:  What are we doing?

Nancy: “We have the AVID.org website.  That is a very good resource.  Students can access videos, and get great information on what is happening at a national level with AVID.  Also, teachers can go online and access a huge curricular resource: calendars, units, projects, the 11 essentials of AVID are all at the teachers’ fingertips.  That is a pretty great resource.

Me: “It is a fantastic website- but I haven’t found much social media.  When I searched for a national Facebook page for AVID, I could only find local pages, individual school sites have pages.”

Nancy: “Do we?”

Conversation Part II:  What are we missing?

Me: “Yes, but it is not very well organized.  We are using our page to make announcements.  It also has a very low following of students who are already in the class.  We have no parents, teachers, administrators or students outside of AVID viewing the page.  Outside of Facebook, we have no other social media.”

Nancy: “Social media is something I don’t think about.  I don’t even have a Facebook page.  But we do need to get our school more involved, let our parents, teachers, non-AVID students and the community know what we are doing.  It would help recruit students, familiarize non-AVID teachers with the system and allow our parents to have access to more information about what we are doing on campus.”

****I gave Nancy information about our research module, however, I could not be as specific as I am in the blog.

Me: “We need to be better with social media.  I also think that this is something that we need to do with all of the elective teachers on board (Helene Solomon wrote:  “…you need to create that strives for results everyone can agree on, everyone will be more likely to support it and engage in it” (IABC.com).  We have talked about the importance of communication with all of the stakeholders at Mesa, and I think social media could be a viable avenue to accomplish this, but we can’t do this alone.  I am too unfamiliar with most social media sites.”

Nancy:  “How many would we need?  I am afraid that I won’t be much help.  However, I know that several of of AVID elective teachers had many social media sites, we could ask them which sites students frequent and ask a teacher who is familiar with that site to monitor it.”

Me:  “I don’t think that we should be monitoring, I think we need to be engaging with students on these sites.  It might be possible to have a teacher.student pair work with a social media site.  However, this will be more of a commitment then supervising. ”

Part III:  How can we get back on track?

Nancy:  “So, I need to get a Facebook page?  I really don’t feel that I can give the attention to this as much as I should.”

Me: “I think we really need to bring this up at our site team meeting.  We can see which of our teachers use particular sites, and if they would be willing to work with it.”  Much like James Howe states, “Using your account means that you are meeting the expectations of your online audience and supporters (IABC.com).

Nancy: “I also think we need to get the word out the students to go onto our sites and interact with it.  Maybe we should offer something for our students to get their parents interested.  If they check out something that is being maintained and is important to them, they might engage with it.”

Me: “We will also need to figure out which social media form will be popular with our students, and which will be more popular with our parents/adult viewers.

Nancy: “Alright, we will put this on the agenda for our site team meeting next week.  We will need to get our teachers on board before we can commit to anything, but this is an important component of communication that we are not using- or at least not to its full potential.  Let’s see if this is possible, and if so, when we can roll out our strategy.”

Me: “I will start polling our students to see social media trends, and see if any of their favorites match up with what our teachers are using.”

The site team meeting is on the 30th, and I have already gathered some information about out students’ likes and dislikes on social media sites.  I now need to find out how I can support this more, since I am not big on social media.  However, I believe in what ever works for my students.  Therefore, if I need an Instagram, I will work hard to develop and sustain positive collaboration on instagram.

Old-computer (1)

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7 thoughts on “Lack of Social Media”

  1. I find it surprising that the senior AVID elective teacher did not know if your group had a Facebook page. That could be apart of the problem of our older generation trying to slide into technology and the social generation. It can be very intimidating to try and navigate through social media terms and tools. It might be a good idea, especially after all of our reading on social media, for you to take over and make it a priority. What an incredible resource that would be for parents to keep up on what their kids are doing and for students to get constant reminders from their teachers and things you have coming up for them. You could even feature students who are doing really well in the program or success stories of college graduates who participated with AVID. As long as someone is committed to social media and some people are using it for information, it is a success.

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    1. Hi Keary,

      It probably would be best for someone who is well acquainted with Facebook to take over the responsibility. I think it would be a rough start, especially since our articles suggest hours per day of interaction! However, I think that if it were to become a habit, I would be able to run Facebook with some efficiency. Maybe I could run it until the next big thing came along and I became the older generation. It will be interesting to see how quickly that will happen.

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  2. I really liked your topic and title, it was interesting. I, as an outsider to AVID found it a little difficult at first to know what the program was about. I think the progression of your conversation was really engaging but more reflection might have been good at the end. I was also wondering at the beginning when you describe the AVID site as “Also, teachers can go online and access a huge curricular resource: calendars, units, projects, the 11 essentials of AVID are all at the teachers’ fingertips. That is a pretty great resource” it made me want to see it. Would it be possible, without violating copyright laws, to include some images which would illustrate what makes the site so useful?

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  3. Hi Leigh,

    AVID is a complex elective class, and it would be beneficial to give a brief explaination before I dive in. AVID is a class that prepares low socio-economic, first-generation college students prepare for a university. We teach reading, writing, collaborative, inquiry and organizational strategies and work with students on college applications and scholarships. One of the aspects that many teachers enjoy are the critical reading strategies. I have attempted to attach a file of a critical reading graphic organizer that I cannot seem to get working. When (if) I get it figured out, I will can send it out by email if you would like.

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  4. You know, I just want to say that I absolutely love how natural and wonderful it feels to take what we are learning from our classes here in this program and to apply it in the reality of our lives. It is heart-warming and beautiful to see you begin the post with this truth, and one I share with you. During the conversation, you document well how it shifts from what you are currently doing (including why a website may not be sufficient anymore), what’s missing (and the importance of engagement over monitoring/supervision), and how you can get back on track (particularly how you might collaborate to make this happen). It’s great to hear how you have already “gathered some information” and your commitment to do whatever it takes to “develop and sustain positive collaboration”. What were some of those findings from your surveys? As a teacher, I would love to know! Also, just a thought, but what if students were asked to work together to develop those pages themselves? It might help create a sense of ownership and pride on their behalf, and serve as free advertising as they ask their friends to check out what they made and promote it through their own pages. Amy Pilloton, in “Teaching Design for Change,” points out that sometimes it is better to design “with” as opposed to “for” – and it makes “the youth the biggest asset and the biggest untapped resource in imagining a new future”.

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  5. Christa,

    Great job of associating and communicating our studies and readings to your superior, that is a great experience to read about. I can also really feel how much you believe in what we are learning which is so refreshing.

    I think social media will reach a lot of people who would normally never be reached, but I have to agree with Nancy. I am sometimes too busy to be able to maintain a Facebook page–in fact I don’t even have one.

    However, it is such an important asset to have at our disposal that I think we need to make time to utilize this resource. I have heard many of my students who talk about what they heard in on Facebook or who tweeted what and what picture looked great on instagram. I loved your interview and I love how you were able to turn an ordinary conversation into an interview. That is ingenuity.

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  6. Christa, this is a fascinating post! I chose to read it because I assumed (based on your other posts) that AVID was probably really involved in social media. Do you think demographic plays into it, or has it simply not reached your group of AVID teachers yet? I just Google searched it out of curiosity and it is like you described it–a national website and that’s about it. I look forward to hearing about your next Avid meeting! Also, I think the end of your post is really cool: the idea that you will get on board with social media because it will benefit your students (even if you are not that interested in it). It would be so cool if you could get a few students to run the entire thing! You could provide them with the content (events and announcements), the students could do all the posting and managing of the site!

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