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Running head: TWEETING GOOD NEWS

Tweeting the Good News and Other Ways to Use Social Media
Article Review #5
Klaressa L. Howery
Oakland University

Author Note
This article review was prepared for EA 740: School as a Formal Organization, Section
901, taught by Dr. C. Suzanne Klein

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Mr. Patrick Larkin, newly appointed assistant superintendent for learning in Burlington
Public Schools, is the author of Tweeting the Good News and Other Ways to Use Social
Media. As the districts former high school principal, he found that many times he was
responding to the negative sides of social media. However, he begins the article by stating that if
schools can look beyond these isolated incidents, then we will discover how using social media
thoughtfully can increase student learning and help us to reach out our community. In 2011, his
high school was the first in Massachusetts to distribute iPads to all students. School leaders were
willing to look at social media resources to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities to
reach out.
Building digital citizens prepares students for what they will face after leaving high
school and helps them transition to college and/or the workplace. Larkin noted that schools
cannot teach the appropriate use of digital communication tools if students arent allowed to
access them. School leaders need to face the fact that were not teaching responsible citizenship
in 2013 if we arent modeling appropriate use of digital resources. Burlington High School runs a
help desk to help to facilitate this idea that is open during the school day to support students and
school staff. There is also a student technology team that keeps a blog and posts reviews of new
resources.
Mr. Larkin said social media can be a principals best friend. This can be done by putting
positive news from out from our schools daily via Facebook pages or a twitter account. This lets
them be the source of breaking news from their schools. Further, this eliminates the need for
print newsletters or press releases and it provides transparency within a district. Crisis situations
have been communicated by using a district alert twitter account that has been reserved for
emergencies. Questions have been answered swiftly because parents had instant access to

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information which saved time for school administrators and more importantly, lessened anxiety
for parents.
There are five areas of leadership connected to technology use (visionary leadership,
digital age learning culture, excellence in professional practice, systemic improvement, and
digital citizenship). The article suggests that the place to start is the International Society for
Technology in Educations standards for administrators in order to gain concrete ways to show
competency within the five areas. Teachers should no longer look at technology as an add-on, but
as integral to their job. Therefore, professional develop needs to be offered within the five areas
both formally and informally. Time for exploring these resources and sharing them with other
teachers also is also necessary. The final idea that the author shares is that in order to get all staff
and students to employ social media tools for higher-level learning, they must see their principal
using them for at least basic communication.
As a middle school counselor, when I hear words like Facebook, kick, twitter, it often
leads to hurt and punishment due to misuse of social media. Each week, I am reminded how
hurtful social media can be when speaking with my sixth, seventh, and eight grade students
and/or their parents. Two weeks ago, one of my girls was self-injuring because she said she was
being bullied. When questioning her and listening to her story, I found out the source of these
hurtful messages came from unknown faces on a blog that she joined from her favorite band.
When a particular blogger tweeted something negative about the band, she decided to
communicate with this unknown face in support of this beloved band member. This unknown
face responded to her saying she was ugly and that she should kill herself. Unfortunately, my
eighth grade girl didnt stop communicating with this unknown, instead she internalized these
hurtful comments.

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My feelings on social media have been associated with more negative connotations, than
positive. After reading this article, I realized that I can no longer use these fears as an excuse not
to embrace technology. Most likely, this is why this article intrigued me enough to read and has
now inspired me to share with other members of our school community. How can we fight the
battle of cyberbullying against these faceless and sometimes nameless bullies? First we must
model appropriate use and align our stakeholders with useful cites as the first step in order to win
the war.
I spent time one afternoon looking at the student run website listed in the article to get
some ideas. I plan to develop some QR codes on various topics that can be shared with students
and parents tailored to their need. I think that students would think it would be current if I told
them to go get there phone and return to the counseling office so they could take a picture of the
QR that would give them positive, helpful advice or support depending on their reported need.
When changing behavior, we teach those to stop the undesirable behavior and more importantly,
put a new positive behavior in its place. For example, if a student needs academic reminders or
emotional support they could use their phone to access this information in a times of need.
I also plan to share this article with my school improvement team, as well as our middle
school technology teachers and the high school computer teachers. Even a technology tidbit
shared in some way at teachers meeting where teachers have to use their phones or devices in
order to access information from our principal or SIP team. Our principal is very tech-savvy so
Im sure that we can find a concrete way to do this by starting with the suggested cite in the
article.

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The challenge right now with technology use in our district is that very few devices can
be supported at one time due to our internal network. However, our computer labs are very
capable of being used to carry out these strategies, so a teacher would need to reserve a time in
our lab. A district initiative for the spring that our central office has spoken about is to run a bond
for technology. Wouldnt it be wonderful if the teachers began learning from each other about
positive uses of social media so they had some ideas and reasons why this initiative would be
useful? This is why I plan to list these resources in my tech tool box which I will offer share with
interested staff at a future staff meeting.

References

Larkin, P. (2013). Tweeting the Good News and Other Ways to Use Social Media.
Educational Leadership. 70(7), 70-72

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