Leadership magazine May/June 2018 V47 No. 5 | Page 12

Shaping school climate and improving communication in a digital world While it once felt good to share student success with the community by distributing printed photos or VHS tapes, it’s even more beneficial to have today’s platforms for feedback from the community or two-way dialogue and sharing success with parents. 12 Leadership Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. When many of us started teaching, in the ’80s – maybe ’70s, maybe ’90s – our world as a teacher was in many ways very similar and in some ways very different from our teach- ing world today. We had standards, we posted agendas, we had students work in groups, we tried to engage our students and checked for under- standing. All the standard stuff. We maybe didn’t use the term “professional learning community,” but we knew that developing assessments, sometimes with other teachers, checking student results, and modifying our lessons based on those results, plus re-teach- ing as needed, were good things. We wrote newsletters for the school and community and gave letters to parents. And, of course, we made announcements and posted f liers. Most of our work was low-tech, literally cutting and pasting docu- ments together and printing copies on the school copier, unless we splurged and went to Kinko’s to make copies. And then the internet kicked in early into the 1990s, and about 10 years later the ad- vent of iPhones and other smart phones, the rise of social media, and our world changed dramatically in many ways, especially in terms of our work with kids and in schools. MTV gave way to music streaming, You- Tube and thousands of apps (a word that was not even used in the same way in the ’90s), and once again, it seemed that our work with kids and young adults would never be the same; really, in some ways our work and lives as adults would never be the same. As a music teacher and arts educator, communicating with my audience has al- ways been an important part of the work – communicating myself, working with stu- dents to teach them how to communicate, and hopefully taking that communication to the next level. That’s where our audience is actually getting the message, and reply- ing back to us during performances in the form of clapping, cheering and singing with the performers, or in some cases, afterword through conversations, letters and notes. Two-way communication In terms of the internet, web-based pro- By Edward A. Trimis