Communication Tools For School Leaders

Communication today requires a clear eye on what is happening in today's web and mobile spaces. Everywhere people are easily and quickly keeping in touch via technology. What does this mean to schools or organizations? How can they select communications tools that make sense for their school or organization? As a beginning, knowing what each tool is and how it is used is very helpful. Then you can choose what works best for you! In a recent presentation to elementary school principals, I worked with Jim Meredith to present options to school leaders. Here is our list!

  1. Facebook

  2. Facebook Cover Maker/Facebook Profile Maker

  3. Twitter

  4. Email Blasts

  5. Text Alerts

  6. Events Online

  7. Blogs

  8. Podcasts

  9. Youtube

  10. Vimeo

  11. School Mobile Apps

  12. Website Makeovers

  13. Google Forms/Survey Monkey

  14. Google Docs

  15. Google Plus/Google Hangouts

  16. Google Communities

  17. Instagram

  18. Shutterfly/Flickr

  19. Pinterest

  20. Linkedin

Cloud Computing and Privacy

Do you ever wonder what happens to your data in the cloud? to your children's data? Then you are like just about everyone else! Since the NSA news many of us are hoping to learn more about cloud privacy. Meanwhile, we continue to upload more and more information, images and more each day!

I am doing some writing for Intel's K12Blueprint. As a part of this, I have the enjoyable task of reading Educational Technology Research. I especially like reading new research and information because I feel it really can inform our day to day decisions and hands on work with technology.

A recent post I wrote involved Cloud Computing and Privacy as it relates to schools. The research was done by Fordham University's CLIP (Center for Law and Information Policy)



  • A significantly large percentage of schools rely on cloud services: 95% of schools used cloud services for a wide range of functions such as student data, classroom activities, financial payment and scheduling.
  • Information was loosely governed and poorly understood: Only 25% of school systems inform parents of the use of cloud services. A full 20% of schools lack sufficient policy or documentation regarding the use of online services.
  • School systems often surrender control of student information: In fact, 25% of agreements don’t specify disclosure information. Only 7% of contracts ruled out the sale or marketing of student information by vendors. Many agreements allow vendors to change terms. FERPA laws do give schools control over student information when disclosed to vendors.
  • Most cloud services contracts do not address parental notice with regards to use of cloud services and student information: When parents are given online access, the terms they agree to can easily differ from the one between the school system and the vendor. FERPA, PPRA and COPPA laws give school systems requirements regarding parent notice and access to information.

This study gives schools lots to think about. It also gives vendors a big challenge as well. Design practices and policies to protect students and communicate them well. 

What stands out most to you about this information?


Tools for Meetings





What is your favorite way to use technology at meetings? Meetings can easily benefit from regular use of online technology tools

Luckily many web tools can help simplify meeting planning, participation and documentation. 

View the list below - Add others in comments. 



Google Docs: Create a shared Google Doc for sharing meeting agendas and notes. Encourage people to add agenda items and ideas. 

Pinterest: Create a Pinterest board and invite teachers to add to it or create their own.

Edmodo: You can set up groups for grade levels and departments with this social network for schools. Share documents, set up polls, questionnaires, and more.

Google+ Communities: Create a social network for your faculty. They can share discussions, images, links, and more.

TodaysMeet: Create a backchannel for discussion in real time at meetings. Encourage teachers to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and give feedback. 

Twitter: Encourage your attendees to use Twitter to grow a professional network and to learn

Dropbox: Share files in advance for quick and easy access at any time.

Titanpad: Collaborate in real time with attendees and teams. Each user is assigned a color so that you can easily see who is editing. You can even co-create minutes

Mindmeister: Use this mindmapping tool for brainstorming and generating ideas.

Jing or Screenr: Screencasting tools for creating quick videos and tutorials. Though it may sound like a fad, the flipped meeting has much to offer. If it means bringing a better environment to meetings, it may be worth flipping for!

List also posted at: