Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marketing on Facebook & Schools

Screenshots from Nike Facebook page (above) and Adidas Facebook page (below on right).

While in the US over the summer, I was a bit surprised to see so many companies promoting their brands on Facebook. Perhaps I'm behind the times in US trends because I rarely watch US TV. Companies used to put their website up. Now, it seems that Facebook is where the masses are so that is where companies are seeking consumers. By all appearances, they are right. Social media continues to grow and Facebook is a one-stop shop for so many users to access communication. So why not market there? It makes sense. A Mashable article entitled Top 5 Emerging Brand Trends on Facebook just highlights some of this marketing taking place on Facebook.

The promotion of causes and charities is nothing new on Facebook and has been going on for some time. The marketing of products has been going on there as well, but the scale of use has gone well beyond grassroots efforts to become a high priority in major brands.

How many schools have sites on Facebook? The image on Facebook may likely be the public image of the school and viewed more often than the website. We often spend a lot of time on our websites and these are important, but I wonder if public relations and branding of schools (particularly internationally) needs to give more attention to the social media component. My guess is that most schools have a presence on a Facebook. And it's not limited to Facebook...check Wikipedia among others to see what it says about your school. The real question is whether that publicity comes from the school and promotes the school in the best and most accurate light...or, does the Facebook presence rest in the opinions of Facebook users with no official connection, some of which may have axes to grind?

Maybe it is time to reevaluate our priorities...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GSIS21 Cohort

I have been trying to look for ways to build capacity and expand our knowledge base of "experts" at both our campuses. For GSIS, we have decided to take a small group and go deeper with content than we can with a larger group. In consultation with division leaders, we invited some faculty to participate in a series of PD sessions stretching from September to March 2011. We want to create a cohort of learners that can share a common experience and take their knowledge to the next level. We have so many teachers that are interested and desire this sort of training that is hard to select just a few.

Kathleen Ferenz's 2nd day of PD was spent with this group. We focused on what she called the visual and audio channels. We had a great day of understanding how to construct learning by starting with visuals. We spent a lot of time with iPhoto in the morning. Then we moved to podcasting with GarageBand in the afternoon. Like the previous day, we had fun and learned skills that had immediate applications to classrooms. We also embarked on a larger journey of transforming our perspective to create truly effective 1:1 classrooms. I'm looking forward to continuing our learning together!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fun PD

GSIS was privileged to have Kathleen Ferenz come in for 2 days of professional development for faculty. She is an Apple Professional Developer that has worked extensively in many areas of technology integration including both the Apple, Google, and Library of Congress worlds. She was a great resource to have and a pleasure to learn from. For me, it was thrilling to see faculty engage in PD that was fun and brought smiles to their faces. Teachers walked out the door with something they could use in their classroom next week and apply to unit development in coming months to transform their classroom. Immediate engagement, short term applications, and long term impacts. I like this model for PD and have sought to implement it with sessions that I lead.

Transformation. It's about taking a classroom and making a vibrant learning environment that embraces the tools available as a 1:1 classroom. 1:1 classrooms are different. It's not just doing some tasks digital instead of on paper. I'm not sure the education community gets this point. I see many people think they are excellent tech integrationists because they do the best paper based tasks on laptops. It's so much more than that...

Thanks, Kathleen, for a great couple days of PD with our faculty!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The ES Mobile Lab

We are very blessed to roll out a mobile lab in the GSIS elementary school this year. We piloted laptops with 5th graders last year through a 1 laptop to 2 students ratio. Although this was a significant step forward, the teachers quickly desired a 1:1 ratio for students and laptops. This year, we have implemented 1 full cart with 21 laptops in the 5th grade, which is shared between 2 sections.

Due to space needs, we also replaced the aging Windows desktop PC lab with a mobile cart of 26 laptops for grades PK-4. We are excited about the opportunity teachers have to bring the laptops into their classroom and let all students access and learn with technology.

GSIS is getting to be the first ones to experience and utilize this resource in our system. As TCIS moves to the new campus, they will be implementing a similar mobile cart as their lab will not be present in the new building in Techno Valley. We hope to further expand the mobile labs to have more carts shared between fewer classes so students and teachers have greater access in the future.