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.