As technology expands exponentially, says Web 2.0 expert Nancy Caramanico, today’s school leaders need to be well-acquainted with the wide array of dynamic communications options at their fingertips.

In her new ecourse for Powerful Learning Practice, School Communications Toolkit for School Leaders, Nancy will draw on her experience as Director of Technology for a 200-school K12 system to help education leaders create a custom communications plan that maximizes the use of cutting edge technologies and social media tools.  Nancy is a former teacher and certified Instructional Technology Specialist with a Master’s Degree in Education and a specialty in Distance Learning. She currently teaches in the Graduate Educational Leadership Program at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa where she instructs in both the online and face to face format.

In our interview with Nancy, we asked her about her plans for the 5-week ecourse and why she believes that 21st century communication is an urgent priority for school leaders.


1. Give us the skinny on the PLP ecourse “School Communications Toolkit for School Leaders.” Why should busy leaders be interested?

Today’s leaders have a wide array of new means and modes of communication at their fingertips. This course will help principals, heads, and system leaders learn how 21st Century oriented leaders are using new modes of communication to reach their school communities. Participants will get hands-on practice with specific tools and learn about new resources in an online community with other energetic leaders. Best of all, each participant will create a Communications Strategy of their own, designed around new styles of communicating in today’s connected world and capable of reaching out to key audiences effectively.

2. Why is 21st Century communication so important for school leaders?

Today’s leaders need to ‘walk the walk.’ By modeling new modes of communication in their schools and communities, they will not only be demonstrating visionary 21st Century skills, they’ll be reaching out to faculty, parents and others in relevant and highly accessible ways, making their messages more effectively heard.

3. What do you think are the top must-have characteristics of a 21st Century leader?

21st century leaders must have a vision that is in tune with today’s learner and always look beyond the horizon to anticipate what is to come. They must be the ‘lead learner’ in the education enterprise, always seeking to master new strategies and incorporate new perspectives. Last but not least, they should be facilitative leaders who empower others and encourage shared growth and collaborative creativity.

4. What are some of your favorite examples of good 21st Century school communication?

Jim Meredith, administrator and teacher at Philadelphia’s Archbishop Ryan High School uses new media to teach his AP Government class and Twitter to reach out online. High school leader Mike St. Pierre in New Jersey uses podcasts to showcase the school and developments in 21st century learning technologies. Lyn Hilt is a K-6 public school principal in rural Pennsylvania whose innovative approach to 21st century school leadership has made her a national thought leader. Gary Zimmarro, a school leader in Bucks County, has a vibrant, dynamic website featuring news events, videos and slides and other student work — all keeping families, faculty and students up to date on latest developments. In each of these examples, which we’ll talk about during our time together, these leaders are fully involved in their school’s communication efforts — they understand social media tools and how to use them to grow school success.

5. Who should take this course?

School Leaders or Teacher Leaders looking to expand their understanding and skills of new modes of online communications. If you’re curious about Twitter, blogging, RSS and other social media avenues to reach important school audiences, you’ll find this experience valuable.

6. What will participants learn? What’s your e-course teaching style?

Participants will learn that new communications modes are both easy and fun. The course will be highly interactive; we’ll do a lot of learning together, and as a participant, you’ll create a cutting edge communications strategy that suits your own style and organization/school.

7. What’s next for you? Professionally, online, or otherwise?

I love learning about new technologies and finding ways to use them to benefit others. Schools are fertile ground for this kind of work. Open communication is vital for schools, and our students are members of the iGeneration — they expect and deserve our attention to 21st century learning needs. I am currently teaching graduate course both face-to-face and online and also working with leaders on a consulting basis to help them implement new technologies and incorporate new styles of web communications. It’s exciting and rewarding work!

Join us for this powerful eCourse!

Find out more and register now! Course starts March 26.



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Christen Dodd

Christen is a Connected Learning Specialist for PLP. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. For eleven years, Christen trained educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity. She also served as their Distance Learning Coordinator and Vice President of Professional Development. Christen has enjoyed working with Powerful Learning Practice since 2011 and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike. Currently, she is also an instructional technology specialist at her children's JK-8 Catholic school.

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