How social media saved the world

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We’ve all heard the arguments of how social media is raising a generation of socially deprived young people, with added concerns of depression and mental health issues stemming from the continued impact. It is often all to easy to forget about all the good that social media has enabled / done.

Here are four ways in which social media has helped save the world.

1. #GivingTuesday

The holidays are everyone's favourite time of the year, spending time with your loved ones and exchanging gifts with each other. But what about the ones who have no one?

This is where #GivingTuesday comes in. Started back in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a trending hashtag that continues directly on from #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday.

Unlike most charities, where it’s usually based on a specific topic, #GivingTuesday is essentially a movement encouraging you to do as much good as you possibly can, to whichever cause you can think of. Whether it's donating clothes to your local charity or doing a 5K run for cancer; the ball is completely in your court.

It is a prime example of what something as simple as a hashtag on Twitter can do for the world!

Get involved! This years #GivingTuesday is November 27th - what can you plan / do in the name of charity?

2. Unplugging

Now we know what you’re thinking, ‘hang on, this isn’t social media saving the world’. At first glance, we can see why you have come to that conclusion - but all shall be revealed…

No matter how great social media is, we all need a break every now and then. This is generally known as a #DigitalDetox.

What if we told you that a break from your phone could give fresh water to those in need?!! UNICEF felt everyone needs to unplug and everyone needs clean water, so why not make every 10 minutes away from the phone equal a days worth of water donated to children and families in need.

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UNICEF Tap Project has managed to buy safe water to over 500,000 people through the power of social media (kind of).

3. “I’m safe”  🙋

As much as we like to believe we are in control of all aspects of our lives, the sad reality is that’s not always the case. This is even more true with those that we care about. So when disasters hit, it throws everyone into a state panic - and the number one priority is finding out who’s safe.

Facebook’s Crisis Response is a tool that allows for you to let everyone know where you are and for you to see exactly who is safe. The safety check has brought peace of mind to so many people from all over the world.

4. Tweeting Hugh Jackman

One day, Hugh Jackman feeling charitable decided he wanted to give back. But with all the charities in the world, he faced a similar problem we all have; which charity to choose. So he took to social to get an answer to his problem.

This single tweet sent charities across the world in frenzy, tweet, blog, articles were flying back and forth in a mad dash for the cash. But one post, in particular, caught his eye.

It was this image here, touching Hugh Jackman so much, he ended up donating to their charity.

One of the winning tweets came from Charity: Water president and founder Scott Harrison, who tweeted a link to a photo of a group of Ethiopian children holding up a hand-made sign with the simple message “Dear Mr. Hugh Jackman, thank you for helping us!” Harrison added: “dear @realhughjackman — just snapped this near eritrean border at a school of 1400 w/o clean water.”

 

Social media, like everything, is not perfect, but it’s by no means completely destructive. So whether you think it’s heaven sent or as bad as sand stuck between your toes, it is here to stay. It is our actions in instilling the good and moving past the bad that can help our next generations become true, valued digital citizens.

What do you think? Any other examples that are worth noting? Perhaps your school has used social media to push charitable actions? We'd love to hear all about them - please do comment below.
 

From emoticon to emoji: How a new language was created

Before we start, let’s get this out the way - emoticons and emojis are not the same.

  • Emoticons are formed by using typographical marks, such as :) or ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Emojis are actual images, such as 🙂 or 🤷‍♀️

Since their birth in Japan back in 1999, emojis have exploded into text speech all around the world. From 😲 to 🎊, emojis can be used anywhere around the world to convey universal messages.

But what is it about emojis that makes them so addictive?

The use of emojis in text speech adds emotion to what you’re saying. How exciting!!! 😁 can quickly become sarcastic and negative just by switching the emoji to 😑. Displaying clear emotions is most definitely a large part of the usage of emojis, but not its singular purpose.

They’re also quite often used to soften sad news. “Sorry I can’t make it tonight, but have fun 👍”. Or they could be used to express yourself in a more comfortable way. “👁️ ❤️ you”. And finally, they can be used when words are just not enough. “I bought you a car” and the reply “😲”.  

Emojis help us express ourselves, but is it really enough to call it it’s own language?

Emojis may not have set rules like other languages, but there is a universal understanding of what most of them mean. Let's give this a go....

POP QUIZ: Can you guess what these emojis are referring to?

  1. 🌙🚶 (clue: dance)
  2. 🌹❤️1️⃣4️⃣ (clue: yearly event)
  3. 🏃🌲🌲🏃 (clue: film quote)
  4. 👶1️⃣➕⏰ (clue: song title)
  5. 👽🚲🌕👆 (clue: film)
  6. Can you guess the song below?

Did you get them? (answers at the end of this article) 

The textbook definition of a language is “a system of communication used by a particular country or community.” And that’s essentially what emojis are. However, you might be wondering if it’s possible to hold a conversation with just emojis. Well, we’re not far off.

With a few more years, who’s to say it won’t develop into a standalone language, maybe even taking over English (the official language in 70 countries) as the universal language of the world? 👤🌎

For example, did you know there are currently around 1.5 billion people who speak English and over 4 billion internet user - 92% of which use emojis?!!

Emojis may not be a fully fledged "language" just yet, but for how much longer can we say that? So the next time you use an emoji, whether it’s a 😉; 😍; or 😂- you may just be contributing to the birth of a new language. 😲


Pop Quiz Answers:

  1. Moonwalk
  2. Valentine's Day
  3. "Run Forrest, run"
  4. ...Baby one more time (Britney Spears)
  5. ET: The Extra Terrestrial
  6. Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)

We hope you ❤️this article? We'd love to know what you felt about emoji becoming an official language? Please do comment 👇

Cinemagraphs: WOW factor content

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Cinemagraphs are a fun and exciting way to add a little bit of gravitas to your content. Captivating and inspirational to your audience, they provide a different dynamic; a new way to look at art and an interactive, visual form to work with. A cinemagraph is a living image - a still photograph that contains an element of movement looped seamlessly to create a never ending moment. It is a mixture of both photo and video and creates something magical by tricking the mind into thinking it’s seeing something truly different.

In short, they can breathe life (or bubbles) into a piece of content to give it that real WOW factor.

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Cinemagraphs: A brief history

The first cinemagraph was created by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg in early 2011. They used this new technique to animate fashion and news photographs, giving them a living element and huge impact. 

Campaigns such as Chanel have used cinemagraphs extensively in their campaigns, in a truly fascinating merging of technology, fashion and art. 

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Where can you use cinemagraphs?

Cinemagraphs are a wonderful way to for schools to express themselves, by adding exciting, highly engaging, content to a website or blog. Just take these great examples from Kings' Bruton's homepage experience:

You can use cinemagraphs on social media too, or for any number of projects. How about these for a few classroom / school marketing ideas:

  • cinemagraph album art: bring the recording of your next school production to life
  • cinemagraph year book: give your parents a yearbook they will never forget
  • cinemagraph event promos: upcoming Open Day? Use cinemagraph to lead the creative promotion for the event

Preparation

Planning is an essential first step when looking at creating a cinemagraph. Answer these questions to help define your content:

  • What type of photo / scene are you looking to create? 
  • What is it you are trying to convey?
  • Are you trying to create something interesting, innovative, colourful, or artsy?
  • Most importantly: What will be the action piece?

Less is definitely more when it comes to cinemagraphs, so make sure you choose something that isn't too difficult to edit! It's all about hitting that perfect level of subtle to create a wondrous effect.  

Here are some of our favourite finds:

Recording and Editing

For maximum impact and ease, be sure to invest in a tripod to keep your camera as still as possible. Too much movement will make it much harder to edit later on.

A good cinemagraph should be short and sweet, between 5 - 10 seconds, so that it can work easily during editing.

The next step is a little more complex and does require some Photoshop skills! There are some wonderful tutorial videos on YouTube, to help guide you through this. While the output may require more investment in time, the result will ultimately be a great piece of content for the school.

There are some Apps that you can download to create your own stunning images:

Flixel Cinemagraph Pro is an app that you can use on any iOS device; it’s also a cinemagraph software available for macOS devices. It simplifies how to create and edit cinemagraphs on your iPhone and iPad. 

Another App that you can try out is  Fotodanz This aims to keep cinemagraph creation simple. You can record your video in-app up to 3-5 seconds. A photo is taken at the same time so that you have both the video and photo parts ready to use. This App is somewhat limited as it only allows you to manipulate a few seconds of the video but it is a great way to learn the basics of creating cinemagraphs.

Cinemagraph alternatives

    We can appreciate that not all schools are able to produce these, so what alternatives are out there?

    One big contender is the ever-popular Boomerang. Boomerangs are essentially short video clips that are set on a bouncing loop. Instagram actually owns Boomerang and is the key place you'd be able to find some examples. 

    What makes a 'Boomer' so special in this case is that they are easy to create, just requiring a phone / tablet and the app. You don't need to edit them at all, which is a big bonus.

    Why not create some stunning images and share them on social media? Tag us in it! We would be eager to see your creations!

    Top 20 most useful #hashtags for educators

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    The amazing, spectacular world that is hashtags tends to elude the best of us, even more so when you’re an educator. And somehow they still remain an ever important part of the online world. Whether you’re searching for a particular subject or writing a post, knowing which hashtags to use is key.

    These 20 #hashtags will offer you a convenient and easy list to help you stay in the loop and join the important conversations on Twitter.

    [1] #EdTech

    Technology and education are forever intertwined, whether we like it or not. The advancement of tech is doing wonders in revolutionising teaching; and if you want to keep on the forefront of what’s going on, it’s a good idea to tune into the #EdTech hashtag.

    This will give you constant source of education technology ideas, new tools for students, and how other educators are putting technology to good use in the classroom and beyond.

    [2] #Edchat

    #Edchat is a great platform of discussion for teachers and other education professionals to talk about everything all things education.

    Edchats take place regularly on Twitter - with educators from all around the world coming together and discussing what’s current and sharing ideas. Be sure to follow the hashtag to see what amazing and interesting topics are brought up

    [3] #Learning

    Yes, that’s right, learning! As obvious as it sounds, these hashtags are often overlooked but could prove key to getting to the right conversation. Any time you think of ‘learning’ you think of education, so this will not only reveal a community with similar thoughts, but place you right into the middle of them too.

    [4] #Teaching

    The #teaching hashtag in education give you a summary of everything relevant to teachers.

    By following #teaching, you will have access to a multitude of ways that teachers are educating students, social media. Some great posts we have seen recently include graphic novels and augmented reality.

    [5] #Leadership

    Even though #leadership transcends education, it’s a very important skill we must teach kids. Therefore, it’s a conversation you need to be aware of.

    Teaching children to become leaders is by no means an easy task, so these conversations could prove an invaluable tool, giving you insight into how guide the leaders of tomorrow.

    [6] #Elearning

    Stay ahead the future of education by following #Elearning. Just about any teacher can find news, inspiration and help for starting or expanding Elearning in their classroom.

    [7] #STEM

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is so important to our future as a society. In this day and age, demand in these sectors are going to skyrocket, so it’s now incredibly important to nail these subjects.

    The #STEM hashtag unlocks a multitude of discussion containing valuable information you can use in the classroom.

    [8] #EdApp#EdApps

    If you’re on the hunt for learning resources to use in your classroom, #EdApp is an awesome hashtag to follow.

    Through #EdApp, you’ll be able to find apps for learning, including mobile and web apps. You’ll find newly discovered apps, updates, and ideas for getting the most out of these powerful educational tools.

    [9] #Student#Students

    #Students! It’s these guys that we are doing this all for, so how could me not include them?!! 

    The great thing about the #students hashtag is that it gives you a different angle to learning. What are the students around the world doing and how can it benefit you?

    [10] #Leader#Leaders

    Much like #Leadership, #Leaders is another way for you to get into a similar discussion. Using both will give you an even larger reach for resources and tips for inside and outside the classroom.

    [11] #Edreform

    The future of education is currently at a crossroads, with many are joining the discussion on how we might improve the state of learning. Tune in to find out about ideas for reform, what’s being done,  what’s working and what’s really wrong in education today.

    [12] #Education

    From boarding schools to learning from home, this can all be found under the #Education hashtag. This is often a fast paced resource, with plenty of users taking sharing their content.

    [13] #School#Schools

    With hashtags, it can be hard to know where exactly to start, but it’s actually easier than you think. Start from the beginning.

    #School is the perfect embodiment of education from around the world. It’s at these very institutions where all the greatest people in the world started off and on of the first to mind when thinking about this subject. This hashtag will expose you to a large community of school from all around, with all different teaching styles.

    [14] #Classroom

    Keeping your classroom engaging as much as possible is a really tough challenge. And that’s where this hashtag comes in, it will you find helpful tips and advice on anything classroom related.

    [15] #ForestSchool

    #ForestSchool is full of perfect example of what classrooms are lacking nowadays. Too much time in a classroom can start to make children feel trap, but knowing what to do within them outside presents its own problems. The seemingly endless list of ideas will make lessons more enjoyable for both you and your students.

    [16] #OutdoorLearning

    #OutdoorLearning is essentially a slightly less specific version of #Forestschool (as not all schools have forest school) but is no less a great hashtag to use. It will expose you to even more ideas of what to do with your own students.

    [17] #BlendedLearning

    For those who don’t know, blended learning is a combination of both virtual and face to face learning. By staying tuned in, you will be in the know with future of education and how to get the right balance between Elearning and face-to-face.

    [18] #EarlyEd

    Early years can quite often be lost in the noise when it comes to education, and that’s exactly what this hashtag helps prevent. Giving all the early ed around the world a platform where they can share ideas.

    [19] #PassionDrive

    We felt like we wanted to add this in despite the fact that it’s not education specific. This is because without passion or drive, how are you as teachers going to shape the hope for tomorrow. This hashtag is full of ways in which you can stay motivated and motivate others.

    [20] #UKEdChat

    As it suggests in the name, #UKEdChat is a more localised EdChat for the UK. Much like the other one, #UKEdChat has a weekly live chat Thursdays at 8pm. Tune in to sharing your skills and experience and learn some new ones.

    BONUS HASHTAG: #InspiringSchools

    Come join the @intSchools' online community by adding #InspiringSchools to your tweets, or follow the hashtag for hints, tips and updates on everything from social media, independent schools and wellbeing. 

    Don't run off just yet, we have one more tip for you! It's all good telling you to follow these hashtags, but how do you actually do that? Here is a quick step-by-step for Twitter.

    1. Open Twitter on your homepage.
    2. Perform a search in the top right.
    3. Once you are on the search returns page, click the three dot More icon.
    4. Select ‘Save this search’.
    5. Perform the search regularly to track the hashtag.

     

    And there you have it, all 20 (plus an extra one) of the most useful hashtags for you on Twitter. Go out there and become a part of the conversation!

    Don't stop me now: How music impacts learning and mood

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    If music be the food of love, play on;
    Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
    The appetite may sicken, and so die.
    — William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

    Even Shakespeare understood that music can impact the mood, by focusing on the music and allowing himself to be consumed solely by it. In his play Twelfth Night, Orsino - deeply in love with the Countess Olivia - mused that an excess of music might cure his obsession.

    There is no denying that music can induce emotion. Just think back to some of the happiest moments in your life, and also the saddest. It is highly likely that when you think back to those times, or you hear a particular song that helped you process your feelings, you’re instantly transported back to that very moment.

    Music as therapy

    Music can act as a form of release and therapy. When you hear the first few bars of a song, you are overwhelmed with the emotions associated with that time.

    Whilst reading this, you’ll probably be recalling some of these great moments (perhaps even humming a few bars of that happy song under your breath). Likewise, there will be those tunes that evoke feelings and memories of sadness. However, these can be looked as a form of healing and growing. After all, if we do not go through challenging or difficult situations, how can we possibly develop and learn from these experiences? These experiences help shape us into who we are and define our personality traits.

    This is what we want to instil in the future generation and youth today. We want them to learn and experience a plethora of situations and subsequently deal with their emotions; regardless of whether they’re painful or uplifting. It’s all part of the process to reach our neverending goal to be happy and content.

    80% of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60% of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children's Mental Health Report. The sooner we acknowledge this and encourage discussions on how to find a release for these symptoms, the sooner we can teach our youth of today to strive to become the very best versions of themselves. 

    With music, there is no judgement. It can either provide an indulgence or an escape, and is essential for our continued development. 

    Children who had chosen to learn an instrument were considered by both their parents and teachers to be less anxious than those who had received only group lessons.
    — Dawn Rose, The Conversation

    Music in the classroom

    Music is essential in the classroom and learning. Exposing children to music helps improve their cognitive function from a young age. Children can build their confidence through performance and find a way to express themselves through lyrics and melody. It’s even been proven that children involved in music, score 7.2 points higher on IQ tests!

    Some argue that background music can actually help concentration, though this tends to be music that is more subdued and less upbeat; a steady and repetitive pulse. In fact, a study found that music which is just instrumental actually aids learning performance.

    How then, can we encourage our pupils to embrace the power of music? More emphasis should be placed on developing a child’s confidence through extra curricular activities like: music lessons, singing, poetry, drama groups, debating and other performance-based clubs.

    This can help to develop and encourage creativity, in turn equipping the future generation with the skills to tackle difficult situations and develop analytical, logical and kinesthetic skills. Through this, we are nurturing a child's confidence to break glass ceilings, lead breakthroughs and build resilience.

    It is our responsibility as educators, parents, friends and peers to ensure the future generation has access to all of the tools to help improve their learning and development.

    What better way to do that then by encouraging them to belt out…

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    We hope this blog elicited some fond musical memories! We'd love to hear about how your school uses music in learning and productivity. Please comment below.