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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Communicating with Gen Z, Their Parents & Grandparents

Communicating with Gen Z, Their Parents & Grandparents

This article about the decline of Facebook use among students age 13-17 and the increased popularity of Facebook with the 55+ crowd has got me thinking: How can I lead an institution specific conversation about social media and its use in strategic marketing and communications? How do we continue to evolve our thinking on the use of social media for teaching and learning outcomes?

Understanding the communication practices of those born after 1995 continue to intrigue and challenge me.  Also, I think the way their parents – those from Generation X and Millennials – chose to obtain information and make decisions is very different from many Baby Boomers. Figuring out where social media fits into this communication continuum is something many organizations struggle to address. For me I think about this in terms of making decisions about where one will go to school and where one will give of their volunteer time and philanthropic treasure to support a cause.

I think many independent schools will need to make dramatic changes in their communications process and products in order to meet the needs and/or expectations of potential students and their parents. It will be important to balance the needs of younger generations with those from other generations who may (but not necessarily so) need a traditional approach to communication. Where does Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogger, etc fit into this continuum? How do we support the professional development of our faculty and staff about these message vehicles and help them design strategies for using them in teaching, learning, and marketing? What is it that our communities (and there are many communities within one institutional community) need from us – the institution – in terms of social media messaging?

Once families have decided which school community they – both parents and their child – will choose in Fall 2014, school leaders should want to learn more about the role social media played in the decision process. We should want to know how it supports or does not support internal marketing to current families and retention practices.

As I think about strategies that can help inform how GPS tells its story, I look forward to learning from students, faculty, staff, parents, alumnae, and friends of GPS. I know there is great wisdom within this community and together we will redefine what effective school communication must be to be educationally relevant now and into the 2020’s.

Girls, STEM, and My List of “Ingenious Inventors”

I’ve been thinking about creating a women’s history course using a personalized learning framework. This blog post gives me some great ideas for adding an “ingenious inventors” unit in a manner that will make the information relevant to learners.

Thinking @ Gen-Z Learners

For many years I have admired elementary master teachers whose classrooms are a little chaotic and messy, but the students are learning in a truly authentic manner – a manner that they personally own. Often these teachers have mastered differentiated instruction and assessment and yield incredible outcomes for their students. It is a practice we have come to expect in strong elementary programs, especially those that include Montessori techniques. While some secondary college-prep teachers have incorporated a curated approach to teaching, most have not. I know I have made many attempts at differentiation – some have been successful and a few have been less so. As I think about the students I will be working with in the future, they will be children of Generation Z (those born from 1995 to 2009). After “reading” an info-graphic about this generation, I think personalized learning will have a central role in coaching these students to be their personal academic and personal best.

As I think about my own teaching practice and how I want to encourage the teachers I will lead this fall, I have been considering the role of blended-learning within a personalized learning approach. I was prompted to explore this idea because of an innovation paper I just submitted for a class. The January 5 blog posting on http://www.personalizedlearning.com has really got me considering how best to maximize this approach to teaching and learning, with a specific eye to how this works better in an all girls environment. The way girls learn best really ties to this idea of a curated learning experience. Once my dissertation is complete, I am looking forward to thinking more about personalized learning and talking with the faculty and staff at GPS about ways they already incorporate these practices and new ways we can consider to maximize our time with our learners. (Check out the blog posting to know why I used “learners” and not “students”.)

Now, back to my dissertation.