Ashton Says Tweet, Tweet

Head of Upper School John Ashton uses Twitter to reach out to Upper School


Illustration by Tiffany

You can find his familiar smile and signature jacket and tie in his Twit pic: John Ashton, Head of Upper School, reaches out to Upper School via two Twitter accounts: @HockadayUS and his personal account, @mrjashton. With a growing emphasis on social media in our culture, more schools across America are trying out different methods to keep abreast with the changing society.

Ashton not only uses the account to relate information but to keep in contact with colleagues and principals across the country.

“I started this summer by looking at Twitter and blogging as a way to communicate more broadly with colleagues across the country, parents and other parts of the school community,” Ashton said.

Junior Ali just started following Ashton on Twitter and has high hopes for the account.

“It’s a great way to keep the students informed about what’s going on at Hockaday,” she said.

 However, the two accounts serve different purposes for Ashton’s followers.

“The Hockaday Upper School account is primarily for parents, certainly the students as well, as a way to spread information about the school and articles of interest.”

Senior Hollis said, “I think the Hockaday Upper School account should just inform the student body about basic events going on around Hockaday.”

Then, there is Ashton’s personal Twitter: “I’ll post articles that others might be interested in and I’ll connect with other colleagues across the country,” Ashton said.

As for classes, Ashton sees a possible future for student and teacher relations via Twitter.

“I think Twitter can be used in classes in a very constructive way, such as having a hashtag conversation for English during a certain time period,” he said.

Ashton has personally experienced an intellectual discussion Twitter.

“Wednesday nights I participate in a hashtag conversation between principals,” Ashton said, “where the information or ideas presented are collected and sent out on a Google doc.”

As academic institutions move to more technology-based modes of both teaching and communicating with students, Hockaday continues to follow this trend with Twitter, providing a modern way to disperse information to all in the Hockaday community.