In a school, there is a lot of information that needs to be communicated constantly across different classrooms, grades, and departments. Traditional forums for sharing are announcements (disruptive), hallways (in passing) and team meetings (if they occur), or email.
Surely there’s a more effective and organized and transparent method for school-wide information to be shared instantaneously, while also preserved for future reference?
Here’s a fascinating potential method for schools to communicate, discovered via a FastCoLab article on WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg:
“Automattic’s secret sauce is a WordPress theme called P2 that every employee publishes posts on all day long. At the top of a P2 blog post is a blank box. When you enter something and hit submit, your update appears in a list below, essentially forming a big, group comment thread. Each P2 post gets its own URL, which can be referenced in other posts. Every project, question, idea, complaint, and conversation gets its own P2, and anyone who wants to can participate.
There are no private P2s. Everyone, from intern to CEO, can weigh in on anything. Most people aren’t interested in most posts, of course, but if ever someone at Automattic needs to know about something–in any project and from any point in history–a P2 record is there.
Each Automattic employee checks the P2s all day long. Instead of email, which decays over time and empowers the sender, P2s are permanent and empower the group.”
How beautifully simple! Setting up a WordPress.com blog (like this one) is free, and it’s easy. A school will want to ensure the site is set to private so that confidential information can be shared.
Making this work would require that all teachers create accounts and are logged in regularly to check for updates. But once this habit is established, you’d have a shared stream of information and dialogue that can be tagged by department, grade, and other agreed upon criteria and so easily searched and resurfaced when needed.
My school is currently utilizing Asana, a project management app, to record our grade-level and departmental meeting minutes (more on using Asana for recording meetings here). What’s nice about Asana is that it connects to Google Apps, and when using it to record notes like we are, it sort of forces you to summarize and condense information in a more strategic and accessible way. It also enables you to tag and assign next steps to specific team members, so it encourages action.
But the simplicity of utilizing micro-blogging to share school-wide information is compelling. I would suggest this to my own team if we weren’t already stretched thin with the use of different programs (MasteryConnect, Engrade, Google Apps, Asana, not to mention SESIS, ARIS, . . .). If anyone out there is doing something similar, please share!
For more on Matt Mullenweg’s use of the P2 theme with Automattic: http://ma.tt/2009/05/how-p2-changed-automattic/