I have been thinking lately about how Web 2.0 could enhance the lives of administrators and principals. Administrators are busy, overwhelmed with practical tasks required to keep the school functioning smoothly. What can Web 2.0 add? Here are my answers. Please help me by adding yours.

1. Blogging - administrator blogs can reflect on daily tasks or larger issues. They can also be a way to communicate to students, parents, the community.

2. Wikis - how often do you need to work collaboratively with another individual or a group to create a document? A wiki is a good way to do this.

3. Google docs & spreadsheets - another way of working collaboratively with others, or easily sharing documents

4. Google calendar - share information about what's going on, events, schedules, holidays, etc.

5. RSS feeds - get the news and blog posts you want to read all in one place.

What else?

Tags: administration

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Hi Marian, I am trying to find out how administrator are using Twitter. My Superintnednenct has successfully used a blog this year. He just started using Twitter on the blog. Would anyone have some suggestions for using Twitter in piblic schools? This is actually hos question!!! Thanks. readtech
Hi Readtech,

If you ask me how administrators are using Twitter, I would say pretty much that they aren't. I just did a workshop for new adult ed administrators in California on social networking tools, and we spent a lot of time looking at and discussing Twitter. They were very curious, but only one had actually tried using it as an administrator. I have seen a few examples of programs using Twitter as a promotional tool, and I think we will see more of this in the future. Are you from k12? Because the issues are a bit different in adult education, where programs compete for students, and attendance is obviously not mandatory but programs survive based on attendance numbers.

Here is my wiki page for the presentation, and it lists some Twitter accounts that I recommended they check out.
Marian
Marian, you might also include plurk which is a social networking tool that isn't as popular as Twitter but has many features that Twitter does not have. I've been using both for a long time and really like Plurk much better - my PLN has grown immensely and the people in my Plurk PLN are all linked to education in some manner. It's much more of a community in nature where Twitter is more "in the moment" type of network.

I agree with Meg H about Zoho, I've used it for a few years now and I wish I could convince more of our admin group to use it as it has so many great features - equal to any of the google apps.

As an administrator who uses social networking quite extensively, you need to explore how it will benefit the communication between people. There are so many ways that these networks can help us but there needs to be a mindset change - it's about time many administrators moved forward in the use of technology and social networking and using tools to assist them in communicating with parents, students, teachers and other administrators.
Kelly is absolutely right about the need to develop a communications and development strategy regrading the implementation and use of a Web 2.0 environment; and especially what is most important to us, collaboration tools and process. Web 2.0 is now an immense beast, with countless blogs and networks investigating and reviewing the newest and latest tool on the market on a daily basis, and at this point in the game it is counter-productive for a community (be it schools or any other form of business or professional activity) to jump in without first doing a proper needs assessment (of self and partners, or in traditional development talk Business and User Goals), environmental scan of what's out there and how it works, and subsequent project management schedule for requirements and implementation (even the simplest schedule will help - educators should be introducing some of these practices traditionally associated with enterprise information management, it will definitely help and the ROI for time invested will be immense).

And this needs to start at the top, and in most cases that may mean developing a team of tech stars / teachers you have in house or at your disposal to brainstorm, plan, and champion these changes. (A recent report looking at leadership for web 2.0 in education provided a somewhat unflattering portrait of administrators as passive users of Web 2.0, and not progressive enough to implement the real changes needed to allow the educational process to stay on track with the reality of the web-based learning and socializing which our students are involved in everyday - this doesn't apply to all Administrators but given the nature of their work and how busy they are it's bound to be the case unless they create that team of tech starts and champions).

A ton of time can be wasted developing and using Web 2.0 tools which, in the end, may not really serve your needs. A strategy plan is essential.

I'm actually in the middle of writing a little article on developing a Web 2.0 strategy how-to for your school / district, hope to have it up soon.

cheers,
Meg
I would recommend a couple of web 2.0 tools for Administrators:

1. Zoho, and incredible all-in-one online office tool with fantastic online collaboration features, built-in wiki, ability to create a public web docs, and so much more, read my review of Zoho for more info


2. Box.netit's a web 2.0 tool for collaboration and online storage. the unique component is that you can upload files from whatever application you may be working with 9e.g. wordperfect), share it with others as long as they also have the application, and it will still provide version control and list who did what. So it saves you the trouble of having to create docs in a unique environment and then convert them to word if you want to return them to your desktop: Google docs is great, but when you return back to your MS Office desktop you're faced with conversion...box.net gives you an out from that cycle. But it also gives you the ability to create a web document, bookmark links (like delicious), and have an online discussion board on a certain topic. The only catch, for these features you do need to pay, but it's worth it...I'm on it.

meg
Meg's Notebook
I use as pretty controlled blog to communicate with parents rather than the old school newsletter. I type a few lines every few days, much easier than trying to put together a newsletter. All of their responses need to be approved before they are posted. This helps to avoid teacher bashing and rumor spreading. That happens enough on the sports fields, the blog is a truly positive force for getting out information to the parents.

In house we used a wiki last year for teacher collaboration (private). It was pretty successful, but a little cumbersome. I just switched to a private Ning instead. I deployed it last week (over summer break). As of today over half of the teachers are on it and all of them have posted somewhere. It seems like it is the best choice for us.
Rick, sorry, I just sent you a reply to the wrong message. I like the way you describe your blog and I think I will quote you in the next workshop - the voice of experience!
Marian,

I am new to Classroom 2.0 and as an administrator I did not think I had time to manage all this information. However, I have tried the first 4 bullets you mention and slowly I am getting comfortable. Next step is to setup RSS feeds. I do not have anything else but i will keep trying new things.
It's definitely a one step at a time thing, otherwise it seems totally overwhelming. I've found great advice and support on this site, which helps. I still can't keep up with everything, but I guess we choose the tools that look like they will solve an immediate problem, and if they work then they become part of our toolbox.

I'm waiting for wikis to get a little more user friendly. It still takes some patience and skill to figure out how to edit, format, etc. So my trainees haven't been quick on the uptake participating in my wikis, so far.
Dim-Dim is a site which hosts online conferences and chats. In addition to the chat window, there is a white board all can use for illustrations, and file sharing and even video can be added. Our school is using it for mentor-mentee meetings and other small-group meetings.
I would add to Anthony's post that Skype, too, will now allow sharing of desktops. Dimdim is a wonderful tool, by the way.
I don't know ... I'm a Technology Director and there are a whole bunch of us in my state who Skype each other on a regular basis and have back channel chats running at just about every tech workshop. We don't need to pay long distance charges when we're talking about technical issues, and I haven't heard much concern about the security issues.

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