Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

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OAC Connected Educator Spotlight: Christopher Burrows

by User Not Found | Oct 14, 2013

October is Connected Educator Month!

In celebration of Connected Educator Month, we'll be recognizing a few of our OAC connected educators who are using digital and social media to build relationships, share knowledge, and enhance their own professional learning. Each week, we'll post an OAC Connected Educator Spotlight  featuring answers to five questions about their experience as a connected educator, advice to other educators, and tools they use. So far, we've highlighted:
Now let's introduce our next connected educator!

Meet Christopher Burrows, a Connected Superintendent

1. What is your definition of a “connected educator?”

A connected educator uses digital and social media for communication and for professional growth and development. Being connected is multi-faceted, providing an easy, free way to reach internal (administrators and teachers) and external (parents and community) stakeholders, and to build professional relationships and learn from people who are like you throughout the nation.

2. How did you get started?

During an entry-level superintendents’ conference, I attended a presentation about being a connected educator by Dwight Carter, Gahanna Lincoln High School Principal. After that, I set up a Twitter account and starting “creeping.” Creeping is a term used for simply watching the activity. I searched for people like me, followed them, and watched and learned from what they were posting. 

For my first three months as a Twitter user, I just watched. It wasn’t until I ran my first levy that I started actively posting and sharing on Twitter. We found traditional, public meetings weren’t working as well as we’d like, and started to use social media to reach and engage the community in a place they were already visiting. We had monthly live Facebook forums to share information about our district and allow the community to ask questions, and increased the frequency to weekly as we got closer to the levy. We also used Twitter to help spread and share positive news about our district. 

Unfortunately our levy was defeated 42% for, 58% against. I saw this as a victory because the district had not run a levy since Richard Nixon was president. We were able to leverage digital and social media tools to reach people within our community and answer their questions in a timely manner. That was huge!

3. What tools (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) do you use? 

Our district has a Twitter and Facebook account, and I have a personal Twitter account. All are used to share district successes and news, and I use my personal Twitter account to connect with other professionals and to relevant conversations through the use of hashtags. I also write a monthly column for our newspaper, and post that article on Twitter and Facebook as well as our district website. Recently, I have started posting pictures of events, positive messages and exemplary work on Instagram.

4. What value has being a connected educator brought you?

One word sums it up nicely, growth. I’ve grown professionally as an individual, we’ve grown as a district, and we’ve grown as a community. Being connected is a free marketing and professional development tool. It provides you opportunities to connect with people you may not have met otherwise, tapping into a greater knowledge base. Our next step is to engage students via social media, and some of our teachers are developing innovative classroom ideas and projects to do so supported by Ohio TIF.

5. What advice do you have for educators who want to get started?

Begin by setting up social media accounts. Twitter is probably the easiest to start. Ease into it – follow people, search topics, and watch. Ask questions to initiate a conversation, and feed off of what others are posting. One word of caution, make sure to include a disclaimer in your social media profiles noting that your posts reflect your views and opinions, and not those of your district or school.

Connect with Christopher Burrows

Connect with Georgetown Exempted Village Schools

Share your Experience!

We encourage you to share your own experiences throughout the month. What digital and social media tools do you use? What questions do you have about becoming connected? What advice do you have for others? Comment below.