During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #27.

Blogs aren’t just for kids anymore. They can be an excellent way to share information with parents. One of my favorite examples of social networking software in action in a school environment is the use of blogging at Mabry Middle School in Marietta, Georgia. Every single teacher at the school has a blog. That includes the principal (who is the school webmaster!), the school nurse, the PTSA, the counselors, the media center, PE and intramurals, as well as all the language arts, math, social studies, music, art, science, and foreign language teachers. Sure, some of the blogs are more extensive than others, but every teacher posts at least once a week and categorizes his or her postings. So a parent can go to a teacher’s blog and either read the latest entries and/or select a category of interest, including topics like homework, announcements, quiz help, All State (Chorus) Info, and “Gettin’ down to earth science.”

Wikis can also be used to keep parents and community informed. When track season rolls around again, I’m betting that Deer Valley High School coaches will go back to updating their track wiki. Here’s what they have to say about why a wiki works for them: “Making our website a wiki makes it easier for us to keep it up-to-date. And a wiki is perfect for a track team since we have so many coaches working in the many track & field events. We can all up date when we feel like it.” The photo spreads are made up of images stored on Flickr.com. All around, a great use of social networking software!

If legislation like DOPA is passed, school staffs will lose a valuable method for keeping parents and other stakeholders informed and involved.

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