Beaver Hosts Conference on Social Media in Schools

The topic of social media in education holds special relevance for the Beaver community, coming at the midpoint of the school’s first year as a 1:1 laptop school. In his welcoming remarks to attendees, Beaver Head of School Peter Hutton recalled that when he was first hired, in 1992, the school was very proud of its Apple IIe computers. He thought, “What’s the big deal?” because in the early days of personal computers, technology had not yet gained the power to fundamentally change teaching or learning. That all changed, however, with the advent of Web 2.0 and social media sites, which Mr. Hutton views as having tremendous promise for enhancing the way students and teachers create and collaborate.

Keynote speaker Ben Jones (Oberlin College, vice president of communications) stressed that authenticity is the watchword for schools communicating with today’s students, the so-called digital natives. This realization is behind Mr. Jones’s efforts, both at Oberlin and M.I.T. (where he worked in admissions prior to Oberlin), to use student blogs to engage applicants and alumni.

The summit offered sixteen different workshops, including sessions led by Beaver’s Robin Neal (English teacher) and Jan Devereux (director of communications). The roster of workshop presenters also included faculty/staff from Belmont Hill School, Brewster Academy, Dwight School (NY), Montclair Kimberley Academy (NJ), Northfield Mount Hermon School, Procter Academy (NH) and Worcester Academy. There were two panel discussions that tackled such big ideas as “What is the future of teaching?” and “What will the Web of tomorrow look like?”; Beaver’s Peter Gow (director of college counseling and special programs) and Kelley Connolly (director of library information services) sat on the future of teaching panel, and Jan Devereux was panelist on the Web of tomorrow.

Partnering with Beaver and edSocialMedia to sponsor the Boston Summit were: AdmissionsQuest, Proof Group, WhippleHill, Blackbaud,, Finalsite and Kannon Communications.

Keynote presentation by Ben Jones of Oberlin College

Complete list of workshop descriptions and presenters
Presentation slide decks from some of the sessions
Watch videos of the panel discussions and two workshops
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