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

How-To-Create-Your-Own-Cinemagraphs-1200.jpg

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.

giphy (2).gif

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. 

INDIA-980.gif

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

    20-Most-Hashtags-For-Educators-V1-1200.jpg

    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

    How-Music-Impacts-Learning-and-Mood-V1-1200_preview.jpeg
    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…

    giphy.gif

     

    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.

    8 #SchoolMarketing tips to get the most from Facebook's new algorithm

    You may or may not be aware that Facebook made some pretty significant changes to their news feed algorithm earlier this year. Now the dust has settled, we can look at how you can make the most of these changes to better your #SchoolMarketing.

    ...research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We...feel more connected...Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal...from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
    — Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of Facebook

    Top factors in the new Facebook algorithm

    Zuckerberg's vision for Facebook, post-2018, was to deliver more "meaningful social interactions". This meant that branded content was not the primary focus for Facebook anymore, with many businesses worried about the impact that would bring. Instead, content that delivered engagement and conversation would now rate higher in news feeds. A new tactic is need.

    So, what are the top factors in the new Facebook algorithm?

    [1] Comments

    Posts that encourage commenting are a big factor. The art is to produce amazing content that people want to discuss.

    Be mindful of posts that actively provoke someone into taking an action (such as "Tag a friend" or "Comment YES if you agree"), as these will be punished by Facebook and demoted on news feeds. 

    [2] Sharing

    Content that gets shared more will feature higher in feeds. It is worth noting there are two main methods of sharing that Facebook will look at:

    • posts that are shared to friends (in the usual way) and engaged with
    • posts that are shared as links via the Facebook Messenger platform (expect to see more emphasis on Messenger in general).

    As well as this, the shared content will need to generate good engagement to rank higher. Bottom-line: you want to create engaging content that people want to share.

    [3] Reactions

    Facebook have also promoted Reactions as a key metric. While many people may not want to comment or share, reactions are proving are great third way to assess how engageable content is.

    Content that evokes emotive responses - funny / sad / makes you think - is more likely to be something that people want to React to.

    8 tips for delivering content that ticks all the boxes

    [1] Use video NOW!

    Video continues to dominate in the content marketing world, especially when it comes to LIVE video:

    • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook. (HubSpot)
    • 100 million hours of video are watched each day on Facebook. (TechCrunch)
    • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. (Wordstream)
    • Facebook videos receive 135% more organic reach on average than a Facebook photo. (Socialbakers)
    • 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot)

    So, with video driving greater engagement, more shares and a higher rate of comments, it makes total sense that video should be incorporated in your #ContentMarketing plans for Facebook. 

    Did you know: Facebook LIVE ranks even higher than normal video! This is because people spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video compared to other video content.

    If you want to hit that top-level engagement and have a greater influence on your content's ranking, you should absolutely be LIVE streaming from your school.

    [2] Deliver more conversation-driven content

    Generating content that drives conversation is a winning formula. It may sound difficult but the simple truth is this: if you share good content that your community wants to see, it will drive comments and conversation. It doesn't take an awful lot of savvy, it just takes knowing your audience.

    When people do comment, be sure to Like and Reply to appear more personable and make your community happy. 

    [3] Utilise your community to share your content

    As above, if you are putting great content out there your community will comment and share it. There is no harm in giving your audience a little nudge to share your content more, just be mindful how you nudge.

    You should not out and out say, "Please share this post". Facebook recognises this and will punish it by demoting posts! Instead, thank people for sharing a post or give them the almighty thumbs up like.

    As well as this, you can work a little more internally, and ask staff to help promote your content. In all likelihood, most staff will be following your Facebook Page,. Asking them to share your posts will help rank them higher, as it comes from Family and Friends. Stats prove that content shared in this way are 16 times more likely to be read

    [4] More native content

    Native content - content that is uploaded directly to Facebook (i.e. photos and videos) - is already a proven method for better engagement. Facebook are giving it even more impact, looking for people to share their content on Facebook, as opposed to other channels and then sharing it as a link (i.e. a YouTube link).

    We strongly believe that any post should have some form of media with it (remember...show, don't tell) so look to add this natively. Try it out, share a YouTube video you have uploaded one week, and then share a video uploaded directly to Facebook the other. Which one has better engagement (when looking at your Insights?)

    [5] Facebook Groups

    Facebook Groups have been through a funny life. At one point they ruled Facebook, then they became incredibly niche. Now they seem to be returning and it's time for you to be thinking about how you can utilise them.

    One group in particular screams out at us, one we think most schools should have. Can you guess what it is?

    Alumni! Create an alumni group and begin to invite people to join (you most likely have a database of all your alumni's details). The beauty with groups is you can feature them on your Facebook Page, so you are still driving people to the right places.

    [6] Be more savvy with your targeting

    Facebook allows you to narrow down the demographics of who will see your posts. While this may not be perfect for your community, it can certainly help you with sharing content to a wider community of your choosing (e.g. a certain age group of people within a geographic region).

    A good time to use this might be when promoting your Open Days. Facebook targeting should not be confused with Facebook Advertising, though it does mimic some features.

    [7] When should you post?

    Sending posts out at the right time of day, on the right day, will maximise who sees it and so the level of engagement you can expect.

    Consider using Insights to help work this out, but a good rule of thumb is to post before the school run in the morning (7-8am) and early evening when parents are winding down (6-8pm).

    [8] Facebook Ads

    Of course we have to mention Facebook Ads - there is no way that Facebook would let these fall by the wayside! Facebook Ads remain an unrivalled method to boost your content and allows you to be incredibly specific with who gets to see it.

    It takes a little learning (we can also help with this - get in contact) but Facebook Ads are often well worth the investment. 

     

    There we have it! 8 tips to help you utilise Facebook's new algorithm and be masters of the content you share.

    Have you seen an impact to your marketing efforts on Facebook? What tactics have you employed to "beat" the algorithm changes? We'd love to know! Please comment below.