Whatever Happened to “Vintage” Social Media and Recruiting?



(Image via Edudemic)


I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Teacher Candidates last month {Teaching in Public Schools???}.

My presentation included a number of tweets and also links to blog posts which I thought might be useful to illustrate the points I wanted to make and as a resource afterwards.  During a Q & A period one student asked if he would be at a disadvantage when applying for jobs because he wasn’t on Twitter.  Another asked who to follow to increase the chances of getting a job.

In retrospect, perhaps I needed to frame my presentation differently.


Is Twitter use essential/required of applicants to our District?


Do we use social media for recruiting?

A little.

Is an understanding of and a facility with technology expected of our new teacher applicants?



For those drawn to social media, each person has their own reasons for being engaged through the use of technology.  In the education world, Twitter and blogs have become very popular.

Twitter for me has become crucial for professional development in staying connected to and current with teaching and learning conversations.  In HR, my interactions around teaching and learning are mostly connected to the hiring process and teacher evaluation.  In the world of hiring, how do I determine what constitutes a great teacher ready to work with today’s students?  How do I support my school-based colleagues in evaluating teacher competence above and beyond explaining the Collective Agreement processes?



A by-product of using social media for my own learning is also the connections initiated by teacher candidates.  It is interesting to get a sense of their journeys during their university education classes and practicums.

I am looking forward to seeing the experiences and growth of these teacher candidates.  Maybe these social media connections are their foot in the door as they prepare for the application process.  Perhaps this is an aspect of networking I discussed in the presentation. So, maybe there is an advantage for some teacher candidates in making that initial connection.

However, in the end, we’re still looking to hire the best teachers {Don’t Wait for Superman}, and there are many different ways of demonstrating excellence just as we have several different ways to assess it.

Is social media one of my go-to tools for recruiting?

I don’t know yet.


I still like face-to-face interactions.


But I am paying attention to my new connections.


While technology is not my world by nature, I am surprised to the extent it has become woven into my day to day work and personal life.  I can see how easy it would be for the time spent on social media to become all encompassing.


I appreciate the perspective this video provides.


How connected are we wanting to be?





vine (2)linkedin (2)tumblr (2)appstore (2)googleplus (2)etsy (2)  (Vintage)




The Social Media Journey


UPDATED:  Added a new list of NVSD Educators on Twitter


The journey with social media for educators seems to be easy for some and difficult for others. The use of Twitter, blogs, etc. can be powerful tools for professional growth, connecting us with others and initiating and continuing dialogue farther reaching than ever before.

Some educators newer to our profession have grown up with technology, and the experiences and understanding developed can be applied to newer tools. For others, technology is now far different from our early experiences. I referenced some of the “technology” of my childhood in an earlier post.

As an educator, technology has been in my tool box, and I have used what’s required when required. However, technology was not my world. I have a Facebook account which I don’t use, and still don’t quite understand. For years, I had heard about celebrities and athletes using Twitter to publicize where they were, what they were doing, and even what they were eating. For me, at the time, there was little attraction or value.

After ignoring it for years, I started experimenting with Twitter last Spring. At that time, my purpose was to receive up-to-date information on some issues that were relevant to my work. As my role changed and I became connected to other responsibilities, I had the opportunity to see how Twitter could be used for accessing other information, particularly for professional development. My eyes were opened while attending the DL Spring Conference, featuring a keynote by @gcouros and @courosa. Twitter for me is still not as interactive as it is for others, and as what I had hoped, but what I’m currently getting out of it for professional development has been irreplaceable.

During the summer, I started reading the blogs of other educators, and quickly began to visit their sites frequently. I then learned more about RSS and RSS readers, which made following blogs so much easier.

I started experimenting with creating and using blogs to better understand how they could be used in the classroom with students. My thought at the time was that I couldn’t encourage and support teachers’ use of blogs with their students if I didn’t understand them myself. I created this blog as an experiment and have used it infrequently to process, refine, and articulate my own thoughts. Using a blog, I’ve found, is not too difficult, but writing publicly much harder. I also created a professional development blog for the staff in my building to share. Our building Professional Development blog is still in its early stages and not yet well used, but my hope was, and still is, that it will become an interactive site which will include the contributions of many, not just those within the building.

In our District there are a number of educators using social media in a variety of ways. Many of our schools have blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook accounts to share news and current events. Many teachers use blogs to share class news and to remind students and parents of homework and assignments, and some have students blogging as part of the writing process. Some schools are now experimenting with Edmodo, which is apparently Facebook-like. Some educators are regular users of Twitter, and some have their own blogs to share and reflect. One of my favourites has been @campbellwells, who uses Twitter and blogs regularly. The enthusiasm for his day-to-day work comes out in every tweet and post. As technology use in the district begins to move towards being better encouraged and supported it will be interesting to witness the journeys of staff and students.

Below are links to some educators in our District who use Twitter followed by a District account. Also below are links to blogs of educators in our district. I suspect there are many more, and over time I hope to add to this list.


NEW:   NVSD Educators on Twitter

NVSD44 Administrators

NVSD44 People


Making Learning Visible

Building the Future

PrincipalJM’s posterous



Try One Thing

Learning Services – NVSD44

Superintendent’s Blog

Artists for Kids

Digital Submersion

(image shared by maxw on flickr cc)

What was my technology is not theirs….

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to join the staff in my building for presentations and discussion about the use of technology in classes. It was a great morning, and well-organized by the Professional Development Committee. The next day I attended an administrators’ professional development session on Michael Fullan’s, “Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform,” another great session organized by colleagues. These two sessions were prior to the Ministry of Education’s unveiling of the framework for the new Education Plan, which includes the mandate to, “encourage smart use of technology in schools.”

As a student, my technology was far different from what is available to our students in schools today.

Some of the technology of my childhood included:

The opaque projector – a large device, not easily moved around unless on some kind of wheeled cart, used by teachers to project the pages of books on the wall or screen.

The film strip projector was often used in classes, and the “advent” of technology saw the addition of sound through the use of a record player. The audio would include a beep to signal the student responsible for the “technology” to advance to the next frame.

Handouts were created using a Gestetner machine.

Blackboards were black. Telephones were just telephones.  “Dialing” a telephone number actually involved dialing.

Despite what my daughter says, I’m not that old.  Technology has progressed in a relatively short time. I began to reflect on these changes even more when I returned to my former junior high school as Principal a couple of years ago. The physical plant was much the same as it was when I left 30 years earlier. However, the Typing Room full of rows of manual typewriters had become a regular classroom. The Gestetner was long gone. Unfortunately, it seemed like very little else had changed.

One of the things that strikes me as I consider changes in technology is that, as a student, little of the technology at school was available to me at home. Nor would it have better engaged me in my learning if it had been. We did have a record player at home, but to listen to the monotone narrations on records used in classes would have done little to motivate, extend, or personalize my learning.

We now have an opportunity to use technology to engage students in their learning in a variety of new ways. However, technology in itself is just a tool.

(Update:  Technology as a “tool” may not be the best characterization.  It is not intended to minimize or understate the power and role of technology, but to underscore the importance of understanding teaching and learning, which technology can be used to enhance, facilitate, and even transform. Read Technology is More than a Tool by @gcouros.)

Fullan recognizes the potential of technology as a driver for change in education. However, he rightfully emphasizes that technology cannot be the lead driver. Instead, he asserts that the impetuous for change must be led by the following, which, “work directly on changing the culture”:

1.  The learning-instruction-assessment nexus

2.  Social capital to build the profession

3.  Pedagogy matches technology

4.  Systemic synergy

Fullan also identifies the following as drivers which should not be used to lead change:

1.  accountability: using test results, and teacher appraisal, to reward or punish teachers and school vs. capacity building

2.  individual teacher and leadership quality: promoting individual vs. group solutions

3.  technology: investing in and assuming that the wonders of the digital world will carry the day vs. instruction

4.  fragmented strategies vs. integrated or systemic strategies

Fullan indicates that these are not always wrong as system drivers, but their role is misplaced if used to lead reform.

Fullan makes several additional points to ponder about technology in education:

• technology has been winning the race over pedagogy

• technology gets better and better while instruction doesn’t

• the essential idea is to get the right learning embedded in the technology

• without pedagogy in the driver’s seat there is growing evidence that technology is better at driving us to distraction

• teachers need to get grounded in instruction, so they can figure out with students how best to engage technology

• there is no evidence that technology is a particularly good entry point for whole system reform, but it will be a dramatic accelerator if we can put instruction, and skilled motivated teachers and students in the lead.

• once this instructional-digital powerhouse gets under way, students will motivate teachers as much as the other way around

For me, technology definitely has a role in shaping the potential of what we can do with students in our classrooms (@tomwhitby suggests the starting points here), and I enjoy exploring the possibilities with staff and students.  We do, however, need to ensure that teaching and learning continues to be about teaching and learning.