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Boring to Brilliant! Top Tips to Boost Your School’s Social Media Presence

Brilliant ideas to Boost Your School’s Social Media Presence

Teachers and schools alike can benefit from being active on social media. It’s a free networking tool, a place of inspiration, and a marketing resource. Teachers can find new ideas for their classroom, interface with fellow educators, and share top tips. Schools can connect with current families and recruit prospective students. It takes a small amount of effort to reap big rewards. Here are some tips to boost your social media presence.

 

 

  1. Hooray for Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to find what you’re looking for. Some we love are #edchat (learn about teaching trends from around the world) #edtech (keep up with the latest STEAM and tech news), and #educationforall (a movement started by unesco, powerful stories and tips). Hashtags can also be be used to promote your posts. Try searching for top education hashtags online and adding some to the end of your captions.

 

  1. Join the Conversation

Don’t be afraid to comment on other’s posts! Ask experts questions or congratulate people on their successes. The online community is vast and full of people to communicate with. Tap into the global network!

 

  1. Visuals

Did you know? Tweets and posts with visual media are more likely to be clicked on? This is an easy way to attract attention to your posts. Also, make sure your profile and header pictures are clean and easy to read. It’s a simple way to give your account instant cred! Use a free tool like Canva to create sleek graphics for your social media.

 

  1. Interact

Ask for feedback, retweets, or answers if something is important. This shows followers that their input matters to you, plus chatting makes it more fun for everyone. Interactions online are a great way to let your personality shine and show people that you care.

 

  1. Cultivate your feed

Curate your list of accounts you follow to develop a feed that is interesting and worth reposting! Search for accounts that inspire you as well as accounts that already have a big following amongst your audience.

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Analytics for Education: How Big Data is Changing Learning

How Big Data is Changing Learning

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data at a high velocity to produce meaningful results. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

 

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

 

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

 

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it, their level of understanding, the amount of time spent, any screens, etc. in addition to the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

 

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, however, they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

 

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Must-Watch TED Talks for Educators

Linda Cliatt - Wayman

Looking for a way to be productive during breaks in your day? TED talks are a fantastic way to discover bite-size inspiration! Here are a few of our favorite talks for educators.

 

“Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about where inspiration can strike and the ways that she learned from her failures. She emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself and learning from failures. Great motivation for Back to School!

 

“The difference between winning and succeeding” – John Wooden

UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden talks both coaching and teaching, providing profound insight into what he found was the best way to inspire both his students and his players. This is a talk with knowledge and wisdom everyone should hear.

 

“Help for the kids the education system ignores” – Victor Rios

Talking from personal experience, Victor Rios shifts the perspective on the way we think of children who do not finish school. He talks of a teacher who inspired him to stick with school and graduate with his class. This talk is inspirational and it has the capability to transform your thoughts and encourage understanding of every type of student.

 

“How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, Love hard” – Linda Cliatt-Wayman

School principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman has witnessed the struggles of urban public schools. But she is determined not to let the hardships deter her from giving her best to the students who show up to school each day. In this emotional talk, Wayman talks about what it takes to be an effective leader for the students who need it most.

 

“My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher” – Pearl Arredondo

In this emotional and personal TED Talk, Pearl Arredondo talks about her personal experiences, as well as how those specific experiences encouraged her to create a school with the specific purpose of reassuring students that they are cared for.

 

“Love letters to strangers” – Hannah Brencher

She’s not a teacher, and she doesn’t like technology. But she writes letters. She writes letters to strangers who need it. In doing so, she has inspired a movement whereby people write out how they feel instead of immediately resorting to social media. It’s an inspiring talk about the power of words and it might just inspire you to switch the smartphone for a pen and paper. 

 

 “Comics Belong in the Classroom” – Gene Luen Yang

Gene Yang, a secondary education teacher and comic book fan, noticed that there was a shortage of comic books in the education sector. He believes that comic books can have a place in education, especially for those students who learn better visually. In this humorous and innovative talk, Yang discusses the path he took to discovering that comics deserve a place in every classroom. 

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Get Inspired: EdTech Trends We Love

High school website in Dublin

Schools are rapidly adopting innovative strategies to boost student engagement and success rates. The use of technology in the classroom facilitates critical thinking, an enhanced learning experience, and student creativity. Here are some of our favorite trends in Education Technology. 

Maker Spaces

Maker Spaces are beginning to be seen in schools across the world. Featuring 3D printers, digital rendering software, art supplies, and more, they serve as a hub for student creativity. Pupils develop valuable STEAM skills while interacting with peers and teachers. While playing and working, students learn to problem-solve, design, and experiment in all areas of their life. Learn more about starting a Maker Space here.

Collaborative Learning

Research demonstrates that collaborative learning, whether in small groups or peer-to-peer, helps promote higher-level thinking in students. Students do not learn alone but strive towards learning in groups. This is especially helpful for learners in the 21st century as this is how many companies operate.

Teachers are taking collaboration to the digital level is with programs such as Google Drive, blogs, and video conferencing. Students are able to collaborate not just with their classmates, but on a global scale.

 

Gamification

Gamification in learning is an emerging teaching strategy based on the psychology of video games. Students are incentivized to learn and develop skills, boosting motivation and satisfaction. Gamification promotes active learning and engagement among students.

 

Seamless communication

Parents and pupils expect a seamless communications process between school and home. It’s what they experience in every other aspect of their life. To provide this, schools can use a platform like iClass, which allows for dynamic mobile messaging between parents and schools. With iClass, schools can manage all communications, including event registration, volunteer sign-ups, online publishing, and parent-teacher interactions. An intuitive communications process is critical for parent engagement and student success.

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#MondayMotivation: Lead Like A Pirate

Motivation to lead

With Back to School season around the corner, it’s time to start reflecting on classroom leadership. We have heard the phrase “Be A Leader.” It’s fairly common, actually. Most people would rather be considered a leader than a follower. In schools, it is imperative that the administrators and teachers are leaders. The creators of Lead Like A Pirate, Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf, saw that effective leadership had many facets and introduced a new system of leadership training. They want you to lead…

 

Classroom leadership like a pirate: a pirate ship on the ocean with stormy skies above

 

…like a pirate.

So what exactly does that mean? What does it mean to Lead Like A Pirate?

The purpose of being a pirate leader is to make schools amazing with engaged students and empowered educators who know they are making a difference. The goal of being a pirate leader is to create a school environment where students are knocking down the doors to get in, rather than out. 

 

Do you have what it takes to be a Pirate Leader? 

Passion – both personal and professional

A willingness to Immerse yourself in your work

Good Rapport with your staff, students, and community

The courage to Ask and Analyze what is and isn’t working

The determination to seek positive Transformation

And the kind of Enthusiasm that gets others excited about education

A man in a suit makes a thumbs up.

To learn more about what it takes to Lead LAP, follow the conversation on Twitter (#LeadLAP), visit the website or read the book.

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Motivation Monday: 15 of Our Favorite Quotes on Teaching

Quote on future

1. “To teach is to learn twice over.” – Joseph Joubert

2. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” ~ Henry Brooks Adams

3. “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ~ Goethe

4. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” ―Malala Yousafzai

5. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

6. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

7. “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” – B.B King

8. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

9. “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

10. “Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and love of bringing the first two loves together.” – Scott Hayden

11. “A teacher has two jobs, fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that knowledge doesn’t go to waste.” – Mr. Holland’s Opus

12. “Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” – Rita F. Pierson

13. “If we are truly effective teachers, then we are creating autonomous, independent, and self-directed learners, not just successful test takers”. – Robert John Meehan

14. “If you really want to know about the future, don’t ask a technologist, a scientist, a physicist. No! Don’t ask somebody who’s writing code. No, if you want to know what society’s going to be like in 20 years, ask a kindergarten teacher.” – Clifford Stoll

15. “There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools.” – Ken Robinson

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5 Ways an App Can Inspire Your School

An app Can Inspire Your School

Keep parents and students informed

An app platform allows teachers and faculty to send immediate alerts and updates. It ensures that parents and students are aware of any changes or important deadlines. A study by the Michigan Department of Education found that children of involved parents are more likely to do better in school. Most parents must be informed of how and why they ought to become involved. The app is a simple and easy way for schools to reach out to parents and keep them continually involved in their child’s education and aware of what they can do.

Reduce paper usage

Using a mobile app would allow schools to provide parents and students with paper-free updates. This could potentially allow schools to completely eliminate their use of paper flyers. The app notifications can also reduce the risk of information not reaching parents.

Schools making the change to a paperless system have reported saving about $418,000 in less than a year by cutting out almost 17 million sheets of paper!

stack of white paper

Access information easily

Simple information such as deadlines and notifications would become readily available to parents and students in an instant. The more accessible the information can be, the less time administrators must spend answering simple questions. School apps can provide parents with a sense of security because they are able to stay well involved within the school.

Personalized notifications and updates

Notifications can be sent to any group! Whether you have a district-wide or class-only reminder, it will reach the correct audience. 

Notifications and alerts can be released to parents and students based on the information that would be relevant to them. Alerts sent to the right group would create relevant news updates and eliminate junk mail and wasted resources.

Eliminate SMS text alert costs

Decrease the cost of using alert services by converting to a mobile app! Many schools are using SMS text message alert systems to keep faculty, parents and students informed. The cost of these services can add up quickly, especially for larger schools sending various types of notifications. A mobile app would allow a school to send out a notification through the app using data or the internet rather than paying a phone company per text message. It may be extremely helpful for schools to convert either fully or partially to an in-app notification system depending on the needs of the parents and students. Either way, the cost of an app can reduce the costs acquired from sending SMS alerts and notifications.

iClass CMS provides a fully integrated website and mobile app solution for schools all over the world. Learn about how we can help your school here. 

by Megan
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Tech Tuesday: Makerspaces

3d print of a dinosaur

What are they?

The popularity of the maker movement has created a large push for students to learn about the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in their early education. Schools among all levels of the education system are implementing an area for students to explore the STEM field. The areas are known as makerspaces, which include different forms of technology for students to develop their own idea. The space promotes creative ways of thinking as well as collaboration with their peers. The spaces can be located in one designated area or spread throughout the school as an integrated system.

a person draws with a sharpie on a blank page

 

The Technology

Makerspace technology will typically include computer stations, multimedia editing software, 3D printers, video game creation software, laser cutters and similar systems. While the technology in a makerspace is typically quite complex, it does not need to be. The space can include simple creative stations with basic building tools such as wood carving, sewing machines, and even legos. A makerspace will be successful as long as the technology, regardless of the complexity, allows students to think independently and transform their ideas into realities.

3d print of a dinosaur

 

The Response

Educators supporting the maker movement have seen the positive impact it has on their students in terms of personal and educational growth. Most resistance towards the movement is from skeptics believing it wastes money and distracts from education. However, when implemented effectively in a school’s education system, makerspaces will foster learning rather than inhibit it. Educator and blogger John Spencer has witnessed the successes of the maker movement and urged individuals to promote it in their own classroom. In “Why Every Classroom Should Be a Makerspace”, Spencer writes “these aren’t “soft skills.” Rather, they are vital for success in life. These are the critical skills they need for the creative economy. But it’s more than that. They are a deep part of the human experience. When kids embrace a maker mindset, they experience the sheer joy of creative work.”

paintbrushes in jars

 

The Benefits

Makerspaces are conducive to establishing a basic understanding of STEM in a student’s early education. It is with this basic understanding that they can build upon their knowledge of the field to discover new interests and potential career paths.

Additionally, makerspaces mentally prepare our students to creatively solve new problems and adjust to challenges in their own way. As problem solvers, students will gain a greater understanding of themselves and what makes them unique. Educators who implement some level of the maker movement in the classroom will see their students grow as an individual and team member. In the makerspace, students will gain valuable collaboration experience as they work with others and learn to embrace teamwork. The ability to work well with others is a life skill that can be utilized to help themselves and others achieve their goals.

a neon rubik's cube

 

How to start?

The definition of a makerspace is nearly limitless. There is no one correct way to create a makerspace. If you find yourself wanting to start a makerspace at your school, there are some ways you can start the movement within your own classroom. A makerspace does not require large amounts of funding, instead, you can start just by promoting a maker mentality. This can consist of small projects or activities in the classroom that encourage your students to think outside the box to solve problems. But if you are looking to seek funding to create a completed makerspace for your school, start small and build the program as your school witnesses how it is beneficial to the students. A makerspace used effectively will foster its own growth through the students that represent the success of the investment.

 

By Megan

Getting Smart With Community Engagement

People

Schools can’t do it alone! The people and businesses in the surrounding community can be a valuable (but often overlooked) resource to help students succeed.

According to this report, schools with the highest number of community and parent volunteers have the highest test scores. Community involvement with a school promotes real-world learning and a broader perspective for students.

How can you make community members key partners in student achievement?

Share your Success

A newsletter is a great vehicle to share school stories and successes with the community. Even community members who don’t have children enrolled in the school will enjoy reading about what’s going on in the neighborhood. It’s also a great way to inform community members about upcoming events, service projects, and volunteer opportunities. Check out our tips on how to create a newsletter that is both interesting and informative here.

Be Visible

When your school participates in community events, people will notice! Seek out opportunities for students to volunteer around town or host service projects to benefit local charities. A great way to do this is to create or partner with a service club on your campus.

Share enrichment opportunities with students. Many museums or performing arts organizations will offer student discounts. Students can enrich their day to day learning experience while getting out in the community and having fun.

Make the Most of Your School Site

Your website is a powerful tool for community engagement. An integrated and intuitive website will encourage everyone to keep up to date with happenings at school. With iClass’ website solution, schools can even make community members partners in content creation. An integrated mobile app will keep functionality at parents’ fingertips!

 

5 Ways Classrooms Have Changed in the 21st Century

Classroom with rolling chairs

Lifestyles have changed dramatically since the beginning of the new millennium. Similar changes have occurred in our classrooms. As the first generation to grow up with smartphones, social media, and more, today’s students have different expectations and needs when it comes to education.

 

Graphic via Open Colleges

Collaboration

Pupils expect fewer lectures and more interaction with classmates. Teachers act as facilitators of learning rather than distributors of information.

 

Tech in the Classroom

Instead of competing with phones, tablets, and laptops, try incorporating them into your teaching! There are many advantages to using devices for school activities including engagement, instant feedback, and enhanced cooperation.

 

Project-Based Learning

Put simply, Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a method of inquiry where students identify a problem, then synthesize information to solve it. PBL engages students and allows them to learn about more than one topic at a time.

What is Project-Based Learning?

 

Organic Layout

Visit any school today and you’ll notice that classrooms that were once laid out in orderly rows are now full of tables, bean bags, and rolling chairs! Classrooms should be designed in a way that reflects learning goals – facilitating collaboration and meaningful discussion as well as independent learning and problem solving.

 

Classroom with rolling chairsImage via Smith System

 

Remote Access

Students have resources available on their cell phones constantly. The standard of constantly available information impacts education – learners want to be able to access homework, grades, and reminders on the go. Make sure that class website is adaptable so it can be seen on a phone and provide a channel for instant communication with teachers

 

iClass CMS provides websites that are completely interactive and adaptable. Our custom website and mobile app solutions are designed to meet the needs of a 21st century school. Learn more here.