Digital technology has made its inroads into the Whitman arena at many levels; from the micro level of the classroom to the decisions that are made on a daily basis by the stake holders and board members. How the school leadership and community views the technological changes and wishes to adapt to them, is imperative for the direction that the school takes and I can’t help but apply the analogy used by Steve Donahue about considering this journey as moving on shifting sands. For, unlike the typical image that we tend to use of mountain climbing; setting our eyes on the goal of climbing the summit, the educational arena is better likened to the journey taken in the ever shifting desert sands.
A pleasant hub of activity is happening within the school as I pen these thoughts down; the new network system has been put in and the IT consultant is testing out the hub to ensure that it has sufficient coverage throughout the school; the interactive boards and monitors have found their way into the classrooms; iPads will find their home in the Educational Technology Room soon, but of course they won’t live their permanently. The software has been updated and the new courses are set up on Moodle, the learning management system . The new blog for the school and a Facebook page for fundraising for a new property are being edited, even as I set up the scenario for you. The aim is to be prepared for what is around the corner, as we commence the new academic year. However, no matter how technologically savvy we may seem, this is uncharted territory and the advice is to use a compass and not a map. Due north is better navigated by pacing ourselves and allowing the terrain to become familiar rather than pushing ahead to reach that mountaintop.
Some key factors that come into play will be based on the financial requirements that we have at the present moment. The director is extremely keen to use social media for fundraising for a new facility and I find myself researching for the pros and cons of it. As we function out of a three storey building at the present, it is imperative that we expand with the demands of space being placed on us. Although we still want to maintain the smaller numbers in the classroom, there is a growing demand for the quality education being offered at Whitman and the perfect opportunity presents itself to explore and track the educational renewal with IT mentioned by Niki Davis (2008).
As I unpack the ideas around Social Media and its merits and demerits for fundraising , a picture is beginning to emerge around the perceptions and realities of it. As Blogger, LinkedIn and Myspace celebrate almost a decade, I find enough grounds to explore this line of thought a bit further, and make my director and some stakeholders, very happy with my decision.
I have narrowed down the query to, ‘Social Media: Can blogging help create networks for fundraising, in a school in a third culture setting?‘. As Whitman takes the journey of managing and tracking its fundraising, we want to glean from those who have gone before. The issue is to measure and manage the data with transparency, both for our stakeholders and our donors. The aim is to refine our social media efforts and track and present them efficiently, using the Whitman blogging site. The message being sent out is that we believe in this cause and when the director of the school uses Facebook and Twitter to do so, it has a definite impact on the educators and the students. We run a Kingdom Entrepreneurship course at Whitman , and a drive to promote a common goal, using social media will definitely have its impact and resonate strongly with the ethos of the school.
Networks are formed by people with a common goal. From personal experience I have learned to recognise that change is driven with an authentic desire to make a difference; either in one’s life or the situations around us. In educational parlance , I believe it is called, disruptions for change. I hope during this journey we are able to showcase the need and desires we have to incorporate change for a better future for the children that we are nurturing and growing for tomorrow.