Alert Solutions Blog

6 Ways to Incorporate Social Media in the Classroom

Posted by Philip Young on Tue, Feb 05, 2019 @ 10:02 AM

Students today don’t go very far without their smartphones. They’ve become an extra limb to many, a viable source for information, and a way to stay connected with peers through messaging, texting, and of course, social media.

Social Media

According to surveys, nearly 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone, or access to use one. 45% of teens also say they are online at a near-constant basis.  

These high percentages are proof it’s time to jump on board and embrace social media in the classroom. McGraw Hill brings up this great point, “the academic conversation has shifted from "How can we prevent social media from being a distraction?" to "How can we best make use of social technology in practical, sustainable, and secure ways?".

Social media fun is not just for students, but social media channels also have great tools to provide insights and knowledge on various topics, which is helpful for studying purposes. Teachers may not know how to start incorporating social media into their classroom for learning, which is why we want to bring some ideas and examples to the table.

6 Ways to Bring Social Media into Your Classroom 

  1. Show off Your Classroom
    A great way to engage with student’s families is to show off your classrooms on social media websites. Live tweet success stories in the classroom and create your own hashtag. This keeps parents in the loop, and allows students to look back on what you’ve done throughout the school year. Parent engagement is a growing phenomenon, and many teachers are looking for creative ways to keep parents involved in their child’s education – social media is one way to do this.

  2. Make Social Media the Homework
    Let’s be real, students do not look forward to homework. Try incorporating social media to make homework fun! For example; The Ed Advocate suggests having students tweet or post about assigned readings. Students can summarize what they’ve read, or respond to a quick question about the reading assignment over social media. Twitter is a great source for current news and trending topics. Have your students bring research they’ve found on a specific topic, and share their findings in class the next day.

  3. Connect with Other Classrooms
    Encourage your teaching peers to jump onto the social media train as well! Creating social media pages for your classrooms is a great way to reinforce the bond between the students in your class. It also promotes a healthy competitive spirit when you connect with other classrooms in the school. Collaborate with other classes through social media, and may the best classroom win!

  4. Start a YouTube Channel
    YouTube may be one of the most popular social media channels for teens.. Don’t know how to do something? There’s most likely a YouTube how-to video out there. Teachers can post their own educational videos, or use the platform to showcase informative videos for the class. Creating a YouTube video could be a great project idea for your students, and we’re sure it would be entertaining for students to watch their peers acting on video.

  5. Embrace Blogging
    A classroom blog is a great way to share assignments, inspire student discussions, and keep parents involved. According to the Ed Advocate, setting up a blog is not only simple, but secure. Invite your students and their families to the blog and only they can see the content. Try assigning writing projects on the classroom blog so students can review their peer’s work, leave comments, and have discussions on the various blog topics. Students are then able to receive feedback in a manner that teachers can filter and control.

  6. Create “Fake” Personas
    This last tip may sound strange, but is a great way to bring social media into the classroom. Creating ‘fake’ social media profiles as historic figures or characters in a book makes learning about these topics and stories fun. Students can tweet or post about major events in this character’s life in the voice of this person. The Ed Advocate states “some teachers have discovered that students love the idea of creating fake profiles for the people they are studying in class.”

Social media is evolving daily, and K-12 students are being brought along for the ride. Instead of banning smartphones and working out of educational books, encourage the use of technology and social media in the classroom for learning purposes.

Did You Know? Our SwiftK12 school notification platform enables users to post school alerts directly to Facebook and Twitter social media pages. Keeping these pages up-to-date with the latest school news, unexpected closures, and emergency alerts, provides your school community with a reliable source of information.

 SwiftK12 Brochure Download

Topics: school announcement, mobile learning, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent engagement

4 Key School Communication Channels and Why You Should Use Them in 2018

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

Good communication is at the heart of any k-12 school. Improving school communication and parent involvement is also a common ‘New Years Resolution’ for most k-12 school administrators.

With technology expanding each year, the difficulty is finding which school communication channels to use when reaching out to parents and school community members.

Here are a few of the most popular options:

multichannel.jpg

1. K-12 School Websites
A website is an important tool for school districts. A good school website is accessible via mobile devices and easily shows all updates of school communication that is being shared. Many school notifications systems will offer RSS feeds that easily share important parent alerts to any school website.

2. Email
Many people think email is outdated – but it is still a key school communication channel. Most parents have email accounts, and it allows k-12 schools to provide many different types of information. From regular text-based email messages to fancy HTML school newsletters, email offers a range of options for k-12 schools. Plus, sending information electronically helps schools go paperless!

3. Social Media
Popular social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are key school communication channels. Social media is an excellent way for a k-12 school or district to share information rapidly with parents, students, staff members and the entire school community. It’s free for k-12 schools to create most social media pages.

4. School Notifications and Alerts
Critical emergency notifications and important alerts need to be communicated using an effective school communication system – preferably one that uses parent-preferred communication channels like voice, email and SMS text messaging. Better yet, find a school notification system that offers a way for parents to manage their communication preferences via a parent portal. This will drastically improve message deliverability.

Are you looking to improve school communication in 2018? Contact Alert Solutions today.

We offer a suite of award-winning school communication tools to meet the needs of all k-12 schools.

SwiftK12 Brochure Download

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent engagement, go green, parent communication

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week – Revisit Our Top 5 Teacher Blog Posts!

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, May 02, 2017 @ 16:05 PM

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and social media is filling up with expressions of gratitude for the extraordinary important work that teachers do.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’ve compiled our top 5 teacher blog posts!happyteachers.jpg

Teacher Retention Rates – Is K-12 Schools Climate a Factor?
Many teachers say school climate has a huge impact on their decision to stay at a school or not, which consists of student academic expectations, school safety, and professional development opportunities.

Improving Parent Communication with Social Media – 4 Tips for Teachers
Most teachers at k-12 schools are encouraged to go where the parents are. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, for example, have helped teachers keep parents and other school community members informed.

4 Ways K-12 School Teachers Can Encourage Parent Engagement
Because of the positive correlation found between parent involvement and student achievement, teachers are trying to increase both the number of parents involved and the level of their participation. 

Can Teacher Home Visits Boost Student Achievement? Some Say Yes.
When schools improve the frequency of teacher-family communication, they experience improved class participation rates, decreased instances in which teachers had to redirect students’ attention, and increased homework completion rates.

Making K-12 Classrooms Bully-Free – 4 Tips for Teachers
Teachers are an especially large part of deterring K-12 classroom bullying.  Many teachers agree that education is the key to success in bullying prevention

Check Out More Blog Posts!

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent engagement, parent communication

Year in Review: Alert Solutions’ Most Read Education Blog Posts of 2016

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 @ 11:12 AM

From being named a Top 100 Product by District Administration Magazine and receiving all three integration badges from PowerSchool to launching our ASI Mobile App, 2016 was a HUGE year for Alert Solutions’ education division.

Our education specialists were also hard at work providing k-12 school administrators with all the hot topics on our blog. Here are the most viewed education blog posts of 2016:

1. Purchasing a New K-12 Notification System in 2016? Read This First
With so many vendors to choose from, it’s an intimidating task to know where to begin your search. This blog post revealed 8 important questions you should ask before you purchase a k-12 school notification system.

2. FCC Update for K-12 Schools – Clarification to TCPA Legislationeducation.jpg
In the summer of 2015, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order (Ruling) related to the TCPA. There was a huge amount of concern about these changes. In response to these concerns, the FCC released a new ruling in the summer of 2016 that granted broad exceptions for many communications to parents. This blog post shared those key points.

3. School Climate Linked to Teacher Retention and Student Achievement
A new report from New York University’s Research Alliance for NYC Schools found that school climate is directly correlated to things like teacher retention rates and student achievement. This blog post shared the responses from over 31,000 teacher surveys.

4. 4 Ways K-12 Schools Can Start Using Social Media
With more than 75% of the US population owning a social media profile, many schools are using Facebook and Twitter to interact with parents, staff, and even students in the classroom! This blog post shared 4 of the top ways school administrators are using social media.

5. School Bullying Incidents Decline Thanks to ESSA Guidelines
According to a Relationship Education (RE) study conducted by Healthy Relationships California , new education legislation called the Every Student Succeeds Act offers a good opportunity for schools to see reduced bullying and violence in relationships. This blog post shared the results of a study that exposed 7,000 students across California to RE.

What was your favorite education blog post from 2016? Let us know!

Check Out More Blog Posts!

Topics: multi-channel messaging, compliance, bullying, cyberbullying, school notifications, school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, school programs, parent communication

Improving Parent Communication with Social Media – 4 Tips for Teachers

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 @ 16:11 PM

Today’s teachers are increasingly turning to a variety of digital technologies to make parent communication more efficient and effective.

Most teachers at k-12 schools are encouraged to go where the parents are. More parents are apt to be on social media every day versus a class webpage or Parent Portal.

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, for example, have helped teachers keep parents and other school community members informed.

Here are 4 way teachers can use social media to improve parent communication:

Blogs
Blogs can be a powerful parent communication tool. They are opportunities for teachers to connect their student’s learning to their classroom practice. A blog can attract a parents’ attention and let parents see that teachers are people.

Facebookemailsocialmobile.jpg
Many parents are already on Facebook, so it makes sense to communicate with them using a tool they are familiar with. Just remember, keep the focus on teaching and learning. Your Facebook page should maintain the same personal boundaries you have with parents in the classroom.

Virtual Pinboards
Platforms like Pinterest support a virtual pinboard that allows users to pin images from blogs and websites for reference. Teachers at k-12 schools can use this tool to create boards of books and activities parents may be interested in doing with their children.

Twitter
Twitter is another great social media tool which parents may have experience with. Each tweet is only 140 characters, so these message topics will be different than Facebook. Twitter can be used to post reminders about events, share news of the day, and share photographs from school activities and class trips.

What social media tools do you use to improve parent communication? Share your thoughts on our blog!

Parent Engagement Strategy Guide Tips & Tricks Here!

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent engagement, parent communication

4 Ways K-12 Schools Can Start Using Social Media

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 @ 11:04 AM

With more than 75% of the US population owning a social media profile, many schools are using Facebook and Twitter to interact with parents, staff, and even students in the classroom!

From professional development and parent engagement to providing real-world examples of mathematics, it’s time to make the best of social media. It can really be a valuable resource for education.

Here are some of the top ways school administrators are using social media: 

1. In The Classroomemailsocialmobile.jpg
Social media is being seen more and more as a tool for K-12 classrooms.  From research to field trips, teachers are using social media and technology in order to boost teacher collaboration and proactively strengthen student’s digital skills.

2. General Parent Communication
Social media is an excellent way for a k-12 school or district to share information rapidly with students, families and staff members. If a k-12 school keeps the information updated and accurate, students and families will come to rely on the school’s Facebook and Twitter page as a resource.

>> Social Media Integration Tool <<

3. Professional Development
School administrators are becoming increasingly reliant on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with trends and e-learning tools. When tools and trends go viral, they are more likely to share it with staff members and use them with students. Subscribing to popular education blogs is also a great way school administrators can stay up-to-date with the latest ed-tech news.

4. Promoting School Pride
Is your school hosting a homecoming game on Friday? Did a student win a scholarly award? Let your followers know on Facebook  and Twitter. These updates will create a brand for your school and demonstrate how your school cares about the students and staff. You can even create a Facebook page for your mascot to encourage school spirit!

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Did You Know? At Alert Solutions, we use social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to keep your customers informed of everything and anything education!

‘Like’ Us on Facebook and  Follow Us on Twitter today!

Topics: school notifications, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education

Using Social Media in the Classroom – 3 Tips for Teachers

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 @ 12:09 PM

Despite the expansion of EdTech tools as classroom resources, educators have not warmed to the idea of embracing social media as quickly as other types of classroom technology. 

In fact, 87% of K-12 teachers have still not integrated social media into classroom learning. This surprising statistic comes from a new University of Phoenix College of Education survey. Here are some other revelations from the survey:

SocialMediaSchools

20% of teachers feel intimidated by students’ knowledge and use of technology devices.

59% believe using personal tech devices outside of the classroom make it more difficult for students to pay attention in a group setting in the classroom.

82% of teachers worry about conflicts that can occur from using social media with students and/or parents.

62% of teachers say they have had minimal or no training in the area of interacting with students and parents through social media.

48% of teachers express the desire to learn more about integrating technology in the classroom.

To help minimize the reluctance many teachers in k-12 schools have about using social media in the classroom, here are some helpful tips:

1. Create Student Social Media Guidelines
If your k-12 school has guidelines for social media use already, make sure your students are aware and understand them. If your school district does not have any social media guidelines in place, consider creating some.  
 
2. Involve Your Class in a Social Service Project
Explore projects online that your students can get involved in to help make the world a better place. For example, Choose2Matter is a global movement that encourages students to use their imagination to figure out how social media can be used to help others.
 
3. Connect With Classrooms Around the World
Projects such as Global Read Aloud allows you to connect students in your classroom with other students worldwide. Another example is Connected Classrooms, a program that connects k-12 teachers with virtual field trip resources.  
 
TIP! Schools can start small by using social media as a communication tool! Student families are increasingly turning to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as an additional means of getting information about their K-12 school.
 
By keeping your school’s social media pages updated with the latest school alerts, student families and staff members can rely on Facebook and Twitter as a resource.
 
Does your k-12 school have a social media policy? Share it with us!

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, school programs

Social Media Monitoring in K-12 Schools – The Great Debate

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 12:05 PM

When it comes to monitoring students’ public and private social media activity, the laws from state to state vary drastically.

For example, a new Illinois law gives school administrators the ability to demand a student’s social media passwords if they have ‘reasonable cause’ to believe they will find evidence the student has violated school rules.

In California, the law requires school administrators notify parents of any plans to monitor social media and allow students to review whatever information is collected.

According to Justin Patchin, the Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, many school districts take part in rudimentary monitoring, but it’s rare for K-12 schools to use a service to monitor external traffic around-the-clock.

Why? Well, while there is probably no criminal liability, comprehensive social media monitoring could put schools in difficult positions when it comes to which posts they choose to act upon.

It becomes overly objective, and hard to manage. With that said, many school districts have taken a step back and have started educating parents on how to understand and use popular social media websites.

To help students be safe and responsible on social media, here are some helpful tips k-12 schools can share with parents:

1. Check Privacy Settingssocialmediamonitoring
Check that your privacy settings for Facebook and the Internet are set to the strictest levels.
 
2. Create Ground Rules
If your kids are old enough to use a computer, they are old enough to understand the rules they need to follow. Breaking these rules should have consequences. Some suggest having all the family members sign a “social media contract”.
 
3. Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It is much easier to monitor a child’s online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone in the house. Popular places include the kitchen or family room.
 
For more social media tips for parents, check out this article.

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, school programs

Four Ways K-12 Schools Are Using Social Media Effectively

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 10:02 AM

Smart phones may be getting the green light in K12 schools across the country, but social media is not yet on the fast track. Parents are worried about bullying, teacher-student online relationships, and some critics fear school security can be compromised too easily.

Despite these fears, social media can be an integral part of your school’s culture. From professional development and improving parent communication to increasing student engagement, social media can benefit k12 school districts in so many ways.

Below are 4 ways schools are using social media effectively today:

1. Professional Development
School administrators are becoming increasingly reliant on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with trends and e-learning tools. When tools and trends go viral, they are more likely to share it with staff members and use them with students. Subscribing to popular education blogs is also a great way school administrators can stay up-to-date with the latest ed-tech news.
 
>> Subscribe to our blog today and have blog posts sent right to your inbox! <<
 
2. Course Assignmentssocialmediainschools-1
Many teachers are leveraging social media features in the classroom. Teachers can post assignments and create online assessments. During the winter months, an increasing number of k12 schools districts are using social media to promote e-learning and keep class in session during inclimate weather.
 
3. Community Outreach
Social media is a great tool for connecting with parents and school community members who are already participating in social media. Schools across the country are using their social media pages to promote various activities (sporting events and fundraisers), gain feedback, or simply start a conversation. Plus, with the increasing awareness of bullying and cyberbullying in k12 schools, social media can also be used to help control rumors.
 
>> See how one CA school is using social media to prevent cyberbullying. <<
 
4. Parent Communication
Student families and school community members are increasingly turning to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as an additional means of getting information about their K-12 school or district. By keeping your school’s social media pages updated with the latest school alerts and notifications, student families and staff members can rely on Facebook and Twitter as a vital resource.

Topics: school announcement, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent engagement, parent communication

Social Media Techniques for Teachers – 4 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Nov 04, 2014 @ 14:11 PM

Social Media is used in classrooms all around the world today. Educators have started to use social media during class as a way to enhance student’s education through the internet. Social media when used between teachers, students, parents and other staff should be used for professional and educational purposes only

Here are 4 Guidelines Teachers Can Use to Apply Social Media in the Classroom:

1. Teach Students about the “Dos and Don’ts” of Social Media in a Humorous Way.
Show examples of what a student should post and what not to post on their social media site. Make each model amusing, and notable. “Students will remember the funny examples, but they’ll also remember the lessons behind those examples,” as stated by eSchoolnews.com.
 
2. Open Parent Communication via Social Media.socialmediainschools
Still using letters to contact parents today? This technique is out of date and no longer necessary. Parents can receive your message instantly via email and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Bonus Tip:  Improve parent communication by using social media integration to send out alerts and notifications to numerous parents simultaneously – check out our product for more details.
 
3. Promote Your School and Build Your Brand through Social Media Websites.
Is your school hosting a homecoming game on Friday? Did a student win a scholarly award? Let your followers know on Facebook and Twitter. These updates will create a brand for your school and demonstrate how your school cares about the students and staff. You want to show students, parents, businesses and communities what your school is doing throughout the year to create a solid social presence.

4. Let Students Take Ownership of Their Education Using Social Media.
Provide students educational values through social media. There is so much information online that can help students – why not use social media as a guide.  According to eSchoolnews.com you should, Show students how they can use social media to locate resources, look up posts about current events (such as posts in favor of and opposed to an issue), and evaluate information to determine if people and/or resources are credible.”

Maintaining students and teachers privacy and safety is important. If educators can teach their students about how to stay safe on social media and how to use the sites for researching and educational purposes, then social media can be a quality tool for today’s classroom. 

Check out our latest blog posts to learn more about technology and how it is used in the classroom!

Topics: student health, school notifications, school announcement, school safety, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent communication

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