Where should School leaders stick their iPhones?

One of the reasons I’m always keen on the idea of leading a school is that it’s never been easier and more fun to document the amazing life of a school and publish it to the world. I have seen a number of examples, both online and in person, of leaders running what seem to be live feeds of the day’s activities. This becomes one of the most powerful forms of feedback for the students, marketing for the school and parents absolutely love it!

It’s school life that leaders should be sticking their iPhones & iPads in to!

Many, if not all Principals these days have a smart phone and many have and iPad too. Unfortunately, due either to a reluctance to ask for help from the staff or worse, a lack of interest in classroom activity, many of these multi-talented devices simply get used for email and calls.

So, here is a list of ideas regarding how leaders can use their devices more effectively to lead and promote the good work of both staff and students.

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  1. In-School Photo feed
    “Document the Day.”

    One school I visited in California had TV screens scattered throughout the school to display information and daily routines etc. But I saw something else appearing. The Principal made it his duty to take at least 10 photos a day of student activity and post them as a running slideshow on the screens. Students were spurred on by the recognition “from the top” and it looked impressive from my point of view as a visitor. It took up 30 minutes of the Principal’s day, which for the payback was cheap indeed. If you are careful you can also publicly broadcast daily activities online, giving parents immediate access and the school a great marketing opportunity.
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  2. Twitter
    “Principals chat principles”

    If you’re lucky, your school leaders are already on Twitter, but most are not. The best professional development is often provided by peers and on Twitter there are 100s of school leaders discussing amazing projects and developments. This keeps school fresh and challenges principals to push their organisation forward. Twitter provides 100s of case studies to help in decision making and is free and on call at any time. Leaders like to network and this is simply the best example of networking ever conceived.
    Here’s 6 world-class tweeting educational leaders to get you started:
    @NMHS_Principal
    @21stPrincipal
    @bjnichols
    @TomWhitby
    @PrincipalDiff
    @PatrickmLarkin
    Check out who they follow and also use the account @ConPrin (Connected Principals)
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  3. Video performances
    “The Principal’s view”

    Quite often for student cultural performances, the leaders have the best seat in the house. Why not record the performance and post it on the schools LMS for everyone to watch. The students will appreciate it greatly and it indicates genuine interest in the creative talents of the students.
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  4. Dictation
    “Who needs a typist when you’ve got an iPhone”

    The latest iPhone update to iOS6 improved the iPhone and iPad’s ability to receive dictation. It is only available in some countries but will save much time and reduce the need for 2 people to compose a letter. Maybe a leader can dictate to the device and hand to a typist just to clean up?
    Here’s an introductory video:

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  5. Be Humble in your leadership
    Please ask the teachers and students for advice

    Around the world, teachers and students are being immensely inventive with their use of their smart, mobile devices and many leaders are missing out on opportunities for fear of looking weak. Asking for help connects leaders to staff and students, immediately improves working relationships and in fact, can increase the level of respect people have for a leader. Everyone in an organisation benefits from a leader who can learn and develop new skills and understandings on a weekly basis, regardless of where they come from.