There are two excellent books our right now that every district leader should read. The first to hit the shelves was Communicating and Connecting with Social Media by William M. Ferriter, Jason T. Ramsden, and Eric Sheninger. They suggest that social media should be a key weapon in a district and school's arsenal for enhancing communications.
After reading the book, Sr Geralyn Schmidt posted to her blog about the importance of Social Media for School Leaders. She points out:
The enormous popularity of social networking today leaves little doubt that while the form is sure to evolve, the desire for social connectivity is here to stay. I believe that the human heart is intrinsically made to connect to others, and Social Media allows us to be connected to others in a way never before experienced or imagined.
Too many educational leaders, both administrators and teachers, are hesitant to use this type of communication. Communication that is clear and concise is the most important aspect of leadership in any venue, especially in education.
The second significant tome to hit the stands is Chris Lehmann's and Scott McLeod's What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media. Experts in educational technology, they explain how to best integrate technology into K-12 schools, from blogs, wikis and podcasts to online learning, open-source courseware, and educational gaming to social networking, online mind-mapping, and using mobile phones (Amazon.com description). Sheninger, Principal of New Milford High School wrote an endorsement for this work that points to its value in helping overcome resistance and provide school leaders with both a foundation and direction:
Digital technologies and social media continue to evolve and are transforming the way in which we communicate, teach, and learn. This book, written by knowledgeable practitioners, provides a solid foundation for school leaders who are either resistant or unsure of where to begin.
In reviewing this book, Sue King called it straightforward and wrote:
If any school leader wants a quick and straightforward read on the various digital technologies and Social Media schools can (and should) be embracing, this book is an excellent choice. It would be an ideal book for all admin teams to read and discuss together if they have goals for introducing or more effectively using digital technologies in their districts/schools.
Any district superintendent or school leader returning from the holiday break still scratching their heads over the value of social media should read both of these fine books.