For this week’s blog I had 3 mini interviews with three different people within my field. I interviewed Brittany Sutton, Sara Coatney, and Clifford Shawver. Each of these people works at a different school and district. I previously interviewed Brittany Sutton for my first blog entry. So some of the things that we discussed were already discussed in the first blog. In regards to Mrs. Sutton’s background, Mrs. Sutton has worked at Barry Goldwater High School since 2002. This is her first year as an assistant principal on the campus; therefore, she has the perspective of both a teacher and administrator on the campus. During the interview, she reiterated that social media is used to connect to staff, students, and parents/guardians. This is everything from football games, grade updates, and special events that are happening on campus like spirit week. The main avenue for doing this is Facebook. I asked Mrs. Sutton why Facebook is utilized over other sites like Youtube or Twitter. She said that Twitter was utilized in the past, but that Facebook basically took care of what Twitter is able to accomplish. She said that e-mail is used sometimes, but not too much because this generation doesn’t use e-mail that much anymore.
This relates to Smith’s comment when she said, “How often do they use e-mail? Not very. Why? It’s too slow. They have to sift through too much information, including spam. They prefer mobile and real-time communications—texting and Facebook. So what does that mean for the workplace? We need to answer that question today, not tomorrow” (Smith). The goal is to communicate to with students and parents/guardians as effectively as possible. She noted that parents generally do prefer e-mail, but when it comes to communicating with students Facebook has generally been the best avenue. Youtube has never been something that is applicable to the campus’s form of communication.
The second person that I interviewed was Sara Coatney. Mrs. Coatney has been teaching 8th grade math for the Peoria Unified School District for 14 years. She noted that a big way to communicate with students and parents in her classroom is the use of Edmodo.com. Edmodo is similar to Facebook, but it’s used solely for academics. I asked her what the appeal to Edmodo is for her and she said, “It looks a lot like Facebook. Many of my students obviously use Facebook so it’s an easy transition for them. And many of my students are going to have to start using technological aspects in their classroom and this will help them to transition into that.” She also noted that not only does Edmodo appeal to students, but it appeals to parents/guardians as well. This is because it’s easy to use and it has assignments loaded onto the website along with important classroom updates so that parents/guardians can know what’s happening in the classroom.
Similarly, Helena Solomon noted that it’s important to know the tools and pick what works best for you. She said, “Before creating a social media strategy, research which tools fit your needs and resources” (Solomon).
Lastly, the third person I interviewed was Clifford Shawver. Mr. Shawver and I went to college together and graduated at the same time with the same teaching degree. He’s currently in his fourth year of teaching. Recently, Mr. Shawver moved to California and now teaches in the Redondo Beach Unified School District. He used to teach for the Peoria Unified School District. I wanted to interview Mr. Shawver because I wanted his perspective on what it’s like to use social media with that particular demographic. He told me that he too uses Facebook, but he also told me that some teachers use Youtube to connect to parents/guardians and students. He says, “Some teachers have their own Youtube site and use it to upload certain videos that they show in class. And sometimes teachers will film lectures and put them on the website.” James Howe says, “you need to give them something of value. Generally that means sharing content that is interesting or useful” (Howe). It’s important to add value by sharing interesting or useful content and by using Youtube teachers are providing that at Mr. Shawver’s school. Also, the availability to social media is different in his new location. He says that the biggest difference that he’s noticed between teaching here in Arizona and in California is the availability to the students. He said, “When I was teaching Arizona many of my students didn’t have access to social media because they weren’t able to get access at home. A lot of my students here in California have more access. A lot of it probably has to do with the area that I teach in. The area is really nice. I wouldn’t say that the students are rich or anything, but they definitely have more resources.”
The three different perspectives made me further realize that social media is used differently and that it must appeal to a certain demographic. Yes, all three people are in education, but the area in which their schools are located have an effect on how they approach social media. They need to be cognizant of who their audience is. As with my example with Mr. Shawver, how social media works in the Redondo Beach Unified School District is drastically different from how it’s used in the Peoria Unified School District. This is because the audience changed.
Coatney, Sara. Interview by Danny Harvell. Sept. 2014.
Howe, James. “10 Social Media Basics Every Nonprofit Needs to Know.”
IABC.com. International Association of Business Communicators, n.d.
Web. 28 Sept. 2014. .
Shawver, Clifford. Interview by Danny Harvell. Sept. 2014.
Smith. Barbara. “The Changing Role of the Communication Professional. International Association of Business Communicators”., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.
Solomon, Helene. “Social Media for Nonprofits.” IABC.com. International
Association of Business Communicators, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.
Sutton, Brittany. Interview by Danny Harvell. Sept. 2014.