Note: Podcast permission has been granted by presenters.

Listen to “Online On-Time: Making the New Media Work for You.

(or listen online at the Internet Archive)

Post-Session Reflections and Podcast Intro Text:
Hi! Thanks for listening to this Around the Corner podcast. Today is Thursday, January 29, 2009.

This is your host Miguel Guhlin. Over the last few years, I’ve been sensitized to the power of social media–blogs, wikis, podcasts, content management systems–and the ways they enhance how we communicate, collaborate, and human creativity. For many school districts, however, social media is a threat to the very way they do business. If employees choose to use social media, they often do so at their peril, facing the challenge of over-turning misconceptions that have sprung from negative news stories by traditional media such as televisions and newspapers.

This audio recording of a presentation delivered at the 2009 TASA Midwinters Conference for administrators. It caught my eye because it approaches using new media in a pro-active way, an attempt to control how media is used. As I listened to this presentation, it occurred to me that it is a mirror of how school districts first begin to try and control social media and manipulate it for their own purposes. I was inclined to dismiss this presentation for exactly that reason until it occurred to me that this podcast serves as a perfect reflection of the reality of school districts grappling with an issue, however imperfectly.

While the presenters have not achieved the pinnacle of social media control, transforming the underlying organization in ways that tap into the full power of social media, I applaud the way they’ve been transparent about their efforts. The question I’m left with is, “How can we can better navigate this process in school organizations?”

Session Notes:
New media and put this info in the tool bag. Kari Hutchison in Comal ISD. Brad Domitrovich (Bandera ISD).

Is your logo part of your marketing?

About Comal ISD

  • Almost 600 square miles
  • Located north of San Antonio
  • 22 campuses, 1 support facility
  • 16,000+ students
  • 2000 employees

CISD Demographics

  • Predominantly white
  • Low SES

About Bandera ISD

  • 400 square miles
  • 4 campuses, 2 support facilities
  • 2500+ students, 400+ employees
  • 32 bus routes, driving the equivalent of going from San Antonio to California

Demographics…predominantly white.

Importance of Communications:

  • Get your message out – parents, patrons, students
  • Allows you to clarify district goals and objectives – tell your story
  • Provides a vehicle to dispel myths and rumors – timing is everything. How do you communicate message?
  • Listening is the key – being good listeners and paying attention and caring about people.

Traditional Communication Tools:

  • News releases
  • Newsletters
  • Meetings/Telephone Calls
  • Web Site (Active vs Static)
  • Invitations
  • Committees
  • Email messages

Traditional communication tools have a limited life and as such are limited relationships. Even public meetings…a meeting tonight about boundaries is limited to that room right there.

Cutting-Edge Communication Tools

  • Electronic Newsletters
  • Listserv email messages
  • Emergency news on web site
  • Automated telephone calling/texting systems
  • 24-hour telephone info line
  • Podcasts/Videocasts
  • Social Media Tools/Blogging
  • Google Alerts

Use blogs to get your message–especially about controversial issues–out there to the public.

Social Media Communication Tools:

  • MySpace
  • Facebok
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube/TeacherTube
  • Wikipedia
  • Twitter/Tumblr/Blogspot
  • Flickr
  • Technorati

CIPA, FERPA impact school district’s embrace/acceptance of these tools.


  • Think before you post!
  • Remember who can see your post: Your mother, your students, your community members, your superintendent/board president, the editor of the Dallas Morning News.

unlike traditional communication tools, social media involve unlimited life, unlimited relationships. As administrators, we have to remember that we can’t control it…we cannot control social media 100%. We’ll have to participate but we need to tell parents that we are limited by laws.

Pros and Cons of Social Media

  • Unlimited relationships
  • Gen X and Gen Y Moms
  • Positive Experiences
  • Negative Experiences
  • Blogging Policy for Employees
  • Emergency Situations

Galveston ISD uses twitter during the height of the hurricane.

var addthis_pub=”mguhlin”;

Subscribe to Around the

Be sure to visit the ShareMore! Wiki.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure