Are you a school district leader? A superintendent? Then it’s time to move out from behind that desk, to step up to the virtual mic and start reporting on what’s going on in your K-12 learning environment. Yes, you are busy. Yes, you are overwhelmed by the tremendous changes. But your bully pulpit as a superintendent enables you to share the spotlight with people responsible for enacting the changes you want to see. Capture the stories and share them.

“The rules of the road,” shares Ariana Huffington in the video on Citizen-Journalism at the YouTube Reporters’ Center shared below, “are still being written.” Indeed, there are no rules…Seth Godin suggests that one new effective way to help others understand what pain a system is causing is to do something simple–Make a video. What videos could you make about YOUR education system that would send a powerful message?

  • Challenge: Penn HS is being closed. How could you make a video about what students, parents and others are thinking that would refocus or change the conversation in a positive way? Would this allow you to add to the conversation rather than simply have to wait, like a ship under attack, for incoming missiles from…well…everyone?
  • Challenge: What do teachers really know about digital citizenship and information literacy? Interview them–make a video–and call attention to what they respond then ask a simple question of those responsible for preparing them–What else do they need to know to be effective in their work?
  • Challenge: Your students lack the technology they need due to funding cuts. Make a video that asks students what it’s like to “power down” when they come to school or have to fight over limited technology.
  • Challenge: Students in high school don’t have a clear idea of what college/university life is like. Interview college students that graduated from your district and make a video of their responses.

Place these videos online, burn them to CD and DVD and give them out to everyone. Suggest that they should be required viewing at faculty meetings, community gatherings, and any place where district stakeholders get together. It’s not hard to make a video…this doesn’t have to be the evening news level of quality. What you’re aiming for is citizen-journalism, that is, acts of reporting that reflect the reality of your stakeholders.

The problem is, I wonder if you, as superintendents think you’re up to it. If you’re feeling challenged, then consider that the YouTube Reporters’ Center has lots of advice. Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine) shares that ABC news is training a thousand citizens to captures stories from a variety of angles. These people are out there in your own community…what story will you tell and how will it match up to the stories they tell?

As education administrators who have access to a variety of Read/Write Web techologies, take a moment. Learn how to use simple Read/Write Web tools to become a citizen journalist rather than continue as merely an administrator who waits for a Communications Department to decide what is newsworthy and what isn’t.

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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