Module 5


Enhancing Communication and
Community Engagement with Technology

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you

Learning Focus 

● critically explore strategies, policies and practices that protect privacy, confidentiality and the appropriate use of digital technologies
know how to leverage social media and digital tools to communicate effectively with parents and other members of the school community
understand how to leverage social media as a powerful tool to share school success stories in your Catholic school community
● create and use a blog as a digital tool for communication or as a reflective tool for  curating and sharing professional growth 

PQP Curriculum Connections
● Commitment to the promotion of Catholic School Culture

The Ontario Catholic Leadership Framework
● Securing Accountability and Transparency
● Building Relationships and Developing People

ISTE Standards for Educators
●  Leaders as System Thinkers

Setting the Context 

“With technology becoming increasingly part of our social and cultural fabric,
 Ontario’s Parent Engagement Policy (2010) identifies social media and digital communication as a powerful way to enhance parent voice and expand
the possibilities for communication and parent engagement.”
– Brian Coulson & Lou Paonessa, 2016

The impact of family engagement on student learning and achievement is overwhelming. Research shows that active parental support and engagement contributes significantly to improving student learning and achievement. Today, many schools are leveraging the power of technology to provide better and more meaningful ways for parent engagement and involvement.  As Joe Mazza (2016) points out, “technology is not a replacement for personal relationships but a powerful tool to enhance those relationships in ways like never before possible.”

This module provides an opportunity to explore some of the ways school leaders use digital communication tools to inform and enhance communication with their school partners. The learning engagements focus on the use of digital communication tools to:

  • develop positive digital footprints and enhance professional communication
  • support parent involvement in their child’s learning
  • share school success stories 
  • create blogs to communicate school and professional learning 

As you look through this module, consider what learning engagements can best support you professional growth and leaderships skills for digital communication. 

Building Capacity for Enhancing Communication and Community Engagement with Technology

For PQP Part 1Select one or more of the learning engagements outlined below as a starting point for exploring Module 5 – Enhancing Communication and Community Engagement with Technology.

For PQP Part 2 –  Select one or more learning engagements (different from the ones you selected in Part 1) and highlight them in your Leadership Portfolio Assignment.

PQP candidates reflect and share their learning through
Twitter #PQP10 (Part 1), #PQP20 (Part 2). 
online reflection sheets (the link to your online reflection sheet is available in your TeachOntario folder). 

Learning Engagement # 1

“As students are becoming proficient with tools and online applications at
younger ages, Catholic schools need to support them in
developing their critical and moral faculties to help them become safe,
responsible citizens in the global online community. Members of Catholic
school communities need to work together to support their students in
behaving as ethically and responsibly online as they do in the physical world.

Ethical and Responsible Use of Information and Communication Technology
– Catholic Curriculum Corporation, 2011

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 8.09.21 AMThis learning engagement provides an opportunity to examine and critically reflect on important guidelines governing the appropriate use of social media and electronic communications in school communities. With the increasing use of new technologies, mobile devices and social media in schools today, many boards across Ontario are updating their “Acceptable Use Policies for Technology” to address these new realities. The Ontario College of Teachers has also recently updated its Professional Advisory for the Professional Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media (2017).  The Advisory sets out suggested digital practices for maintaining professional boundaries for communication and appropriate professional relationships.

As you read and reflect on your school/board’s Acceptable Use Policy (e.g,  TCDSB Acceptable Use Policy for Technology) and the College of Teacher’s Advisory, consider how connected leaders model and create “positive digital footprints” for themselves and their school community.  

Share and Reflect 

Questions to guide your thinking (post your response in your class online reflection sheets):

 Share some examples of how you might communicate and share with parents effective strategies for creating a “positive digital footprint” for their children.
How might educational leaders like yourself model and create a “positive digital footprint?” Highlight a few examples where digital communication can contribute to fostering healthy and professional relationships with students and parents.

Learning Engagement # 2 

“Maximizing the use of technology is essential as we
parent engagement in the twenty-first century.”
– Ontario’s Parent Engagement Policy, 2010

Increasingly, educators and school leaders are leveraging the power of technology to engage and actively involve parents in their children’s learning and education.  The innovative use of digital communication can provide opportunities for two-way communication and help connect families who may feel disconnected to their child’s learning because of busy work schedules, language or geographical barriers.

As as a starting point for this learning engagement, view the video, Principals as Connected Leaders.  Use #PQP10 (Part 1) or #PQP20(Part 2) to share your ideas and experiences in using social media to inform and engage parents in your Cathollc school community.

Read two or more of the following articles below to reflect on digital communication as a valuable leadership practice for community engagement:   

Share and Reflect 

Questions to guide your thinking (post your response in your class online reflection sheets):

●  What do you think are some effective way school leaders and educators can leverage technology to enhance parent engagement and involvement?  How is this reflected in your own leadership practice and school community?
What might be some challenges in using social media and digital tools for this purpose? 


Learning Engagement # 3  

“Social media provides a virtual window for sharing the great things
that are happening at the school and a powerful way to promote
richer conversations between parents and students.”
– Tamara Johnson, 2016

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-9-36-36-amToday many educational leaders are using a variety of social media tools and digital apps to share their success stories with their Catholic school communities.  Take a few moments to view George Couros’s Ted Talk about how digital storytelling is a powerful way for sharing the diverse talents and voices of students and educators.  

What resonates with you in watching this video? Share your thoughts using  #PQP10 (Part 1) or #PQP20(Part 2).

Twitter Moments is a tool for content curation and digital storytelling. This new feature of Twitter enables educators to create and curate special school events or professional learning experiences using pictures, video and tweets. This video and article provide some starting points for creating a Twitter Moment.

Create a Twitter Moment to highlight a professional learning focus or school event in your school community.  For example, consider using PQP Twitter hashtags to create a Twitter Moment about a learning focus or event in your PQP class.  You might also consider creating a Twitter Moment related to a classroom or school event where you can access twitter content, pictures or videos.

Share and Reflect 

Questions to guide your thinking (post your response in your class online reflection sheets):

●  How might digital curation tools like Twitter Moments enhance your leadership practices for school communication? Share an example of a Twitter Moment you recently created
● What other social media tools might you use to highlight success stories in your practice or school classroom? 

Learning Engagement # 4

“In blogging..I get to return to my professional passion: learning about, 
reflecting upon, and sharing ideas about K-12 education in the 21st century.”
– Jonathan Martin

bloggersBlogs are another valuable professional digital tool for developing your voice as a Catholic leader. Unlike Twitter that has limits on text (280 characters), blogs provide a more extensive online space to integrate text, links, videos, images and many other features.

As you dig deeper in this learning engagement you will see that blogs can be used  for a variety of purposes. For example, they can provide a school-based platform for communication, an e-portfolio to highlight professional growth and leadership, or as a collaborative space for educators to share innovative ideas and resources.

Keep in mind, that creating a blog is a work in progress. For the purposes of this learning engagement, we invite you to explore various types of blogs and how you can get started on developing your own blog as a connected leader. You might consider this as an opportunity to create a blog for your portfolio assignment in PQP Part 2.

As a starting point, explore a blog from an educational leader from your board or an connected leader you follow.  Below are examples of educators who have blog sites and some online sites where educators can share their blogs:

Before you get started setting up your blog, you might want to check with someone you know who has a blog site for some tips and ideas.  Below are some suggested blogs sites that are free and have user friendly interfaces for setting up a blog:

  • Blogger is part of the G-Suite and can be easily accessed through your Chrome or a Google account. View this video to get started.
  • WIX provides an easy to use platform for building a blog or website. View this video to get started.
  • Select a platform of your choice to create a blog site.  

Share and Reflect 

Questions to guide your thinking (post your response in your class online reflection sheets):

● What were some of the challenges and successes you experienced in creating your leadership blog? 
● Post a blog related to your professional learning in this part of the PQP program or a leadership topic of interest to you.


Sample Reflections from PQP Candidates

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 10.07.42 AM“Today I stretched my learning and created and published my first blog…oh how proud I am of myself. I did it! Well done, Jody! I looked past my own interest (which would be to say ‘I can’t do this’) and looked into the interests of ‘the other’. The video provided was outstanding in walking you through each step required to achieve blog success. As a future Principal, this is again another rich and rewarding tool that I have available to keep my communication channels open and transparent with staff, parents, community (parish). A staff meeting ‘workshop’ focused on guiding teachers through this blog process would enrich the school community by encouraging / inviting teachers to produce a class blog communication system to outreach to parents. Each month thereafter – at a staff meeting – I would have a teacher ‘highlight’ a challenge / success from their blog experience so that we may all grow together on this journey. What a great initiative if the entire school focused on a blog ‘goal’ for the duration of a school year. I wonder how many teachers would be hooked on blogging after that year was finished?” – J. McDonald, 2016


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