7 things teachers should (and should not) be doing on social media

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops
— Henry Adams

Getting your teaching staff on social media can often be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's a fantastic way to develop a great community between the school and parents. On the other hand, it takes training and strategy to get teachers on board and using social media effectively.

To help, here are 7 things that teachers should (and should not) be doing on social media:

[1] Champion your department, your pupils and your school with amazing #SchoolStories

For us at Interactive Schools, the ideal use for your school being on social media is to share amazing #SchoolStories with your community (and beyond).

Many school marketers out there will recognise how difficult this can be to do. There are loads of great stories happening every day, all over the school, but it is not possible for one marketer, or a small team, to be there to capture them all. So, why not bring in the staff that will be there to help capture and share these stories?!!

We promote platforms such as Twitter as an effective way to do this. It is quick to learn, quick to use and requires nothing more than a mobile / tablet device.

If used well, as part of a school marketing strategy, it gives teachers and the school an opportunity to show the world what they teach and what their pupils are learning / doing.

[2] Work towards your CPD

Using social media in this way opens up one other facet of your teachers' career - their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). 

In lieu of lots of paper work and portfolios, teachers can visually prove the learning activities they engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. In particular, this revolves around best practice techniques and ideas sharing (two core methodologies required as part of CPD).

Take a look at Steve Bambury's Twitter account as a great example. Steve is the head of digital learning and innovation at JESS Dubai, an independent British school in the UAE.

[3] Always wear your 'school' hat

While we fully encourage teachers to:

  • get on social
  • share #SchoolStories
  • connect and engage with peers
  • share resources

we want to make it clear that these school accounts are school accounts! They should be treated as professional channels.

To ensure that yourschool account remains just this, here are a few basic rules to follow:

  • don't post personal opinions (particularly on inflammatory topics). You may disagree with a new government scheme but does it have a place coming from your school? Remember, what you post represents your school
  • don't share inappropriate material. Keep it professional and relevant to your department at all times
  • if you have a personal profile, keep it personal. For teachers, we recommend making personal accounts private. Parents and pupils can (and most likely will) try and find you, so if there are a few embarrassing pics it's best they stay memories between you and friends - not the school community! To see what we mean, try Googling yourself and see just what comes up.

[4] Work as a team 

As colleagues, forming a professional community, you will want to see everyone succeed in their roles.

When it comes to social, some people will get it and others will find it harder to understand. It's only natural. To help your professional community operate smoothly then, the "champions" of social media should help those less inclined to using the platform.

As well as this, the relationship between the marketing team and teaching staff should be collaborative. Teachers can push the story-led content and marketing can drive the brand and what they are looking to promote about the school.

[5] Know your school's policies on safeguarding

Safeguarding your pupils is paramount! Your school will have policies that covers important factors, such as:

  • how to correctly use mobile devices to capture pictures / videos of pupils
  • what can and cannot be shared online (such as names or locations)
  • the pupils who cannot have pictures / videos of them shared at all

Understanding these rules is incredibly important! It will boil down to the school's SLT to ensure all staff are aware of safeguarding policies, and updated when there are modifications.

[6] Learn social media so you can teach social media

You may dislike social media and see it as the downfall of humanity, but your pupils do not! For most, they have grown up in a world where there is no other way to communicate - social media is as important to them as water, food and having a roof over their heads. 

It falls to you then, the teacher, to ensure your pupils are safe online. Just by using social media, you can begin to understand their world a little more intimately; and as adults you are better placed to define right from wrong, good from bad.

A good exercise is to read the terms and conditions you quickly click past when you sign-up for Facebook, or Instagram, or Snapchat etc. Take a look at what you are agreeing to - you will likely be really surprised! 

[7] SHOW, DON'T TELL!

The time old adage that gets instilled in your pupils almost every day. You teach it vehemently, and now is the time to live it! 

Social media gives you the perfect opportunity to show what you, as a teacher, are teaching to your pupils. Parents will want to see this, as it brings them closer to their kids and the school - your community.

If you are teaching Shakespeare...show it!

This 43 second video will do more to demonstrate what two pupils are doing in their education than just saying, "We are doing a Shakespeare play for drama."

 

Teachers - we WANT to see you all on social media. What are your thoughts on what social can offer schools - both as a teaching aid and as a marketing tool? Please comment below.

The top 10 HMC schools on Twitter: What are they doing right?

Each year, during the very busy school conference season, we boot up our #SocialScore tool and analyse how schools are performing on Twitter.

This year, we wanted to share our findings - taking a more analytic approach to what the top Tweeting schools are doing to be hitting a high #SocialScore.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 HMC schools on Twitter. 

Top 10 (listed)

SEE HOW YOU COMPARE - CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO FIND OUT YOUR #SOCIALSCORE.

First impressions: Basic principles of a good Tweet

Take a look at the Moment above, showcasing the top Tweets from the schools in our top 10 list. What do you notice?

For us, these Tweets adhere to best practice techniques for good content:

  • each Tweet contains visual content (pictures and videos)
  • most make use of Mentions or Hashtags
  • they all reflect school culture - this is the content your community WANTS to see over anything else

These are three very simple rules to help craft your Tweets. Understanding and following these rules can help improve your #SocialScore.

Looking deeper: Developing a content strategy for Twitter

Let's take a look at Nottingham High School, one of the top 10 HMC schools on Twitter, and see what trends we can identify in their feed.

Again, their feed is filled with visual content. The content is engaging to their community because it is for their community! There are videos of and about the school, and lots of pictures of pupils.

Most importantly though, they are sharing #SchoolStories because they have an effective strategy in place. You can see a large portion of the main account's Tweets are in fact retweets from their other school accounts.

These school "sub-accounts" are run primarily by teachers (not the marketing team). It works because staff are capturing stories as they happen throughout the day - something that one or two marketing individuals simply cannot hope to do on their own. 

For more information on how teachers can use Twitter - something we are strong advocates for - take a look at our Start with Twitter: Monitoring #SchoolStories article.

Looking at the winner: A strong school community (on Twitter)

How about Bablake School (this year's number 1 HMC school on Twitter) - what can we learn from them? 

Bablake adhere to the same best practice rules noted above:

  • visual content
  • mentions and hashtags
  • lots of #SchoolStories
  • school's main account is retweeting content from departmental school accounts

What sets them apart however, is how they have fostered a strong school-wide culture for sharing resources on Twitter.

Take a look - you will notice shared articles and blogs; or posted infographics and illustrations. These are resources that Bablake's staff have curated themselves - to share on Twitter and deliver opinion or create conversation with their peers

This is the beauty of social media, and in particular Twitter. It is also a fantastic way for teachers to actively demonstrate their own CPD! 

What can we do for you?

Social media training for your staff is important. The impact of your school (and staff) using a platform like Twitter can be seen just by looking at these 10 awesome school Twitter accounts.

We are here to help! We see the future of school marketing residing within social media and want to see more schools sharing their unique, amazing #SchoolStories with the world.

We offer training days for schools - where we will come and talk to the whole school, to inspire their part in marketing and sharing all those great #SchoolStories. We will help define a strategy that can be employed across the entire school - making you ✨stand out✨ from your competitors. Pretty cool right!

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this topic. Please comment below. Thanks for reading. 😃

How to: LIVE stream school events

Live streaming builds out that know, like, and trust factor at an super-accelerated rate.
— Kim Garst, founder & CEO of Boom! Social

What is live streaming?

Most school marketers will be aware of live streaming, but many will not have tried it. Live streaming is a service that allows you to broadcast live feeds via social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

In the big, wide world, live streams are used to promote all sorts of things. Platforms like Twitch, allow video gamers to live stream themselves playing a game (this is a HUGELY popular feature on YouTube at the moment). Large sporting events can live stream games, adding more viewers to an event (and negating the need for a TV). The recent American election was largely broadcast to the world using live streaming.

You can even watch a stream of a fish in its tank!

Where can I live stream?

There is a growing number of streaming services but the important ones for your school to take note of are:

  • Twitter: Periscope is Twitter's platform for broadcasting a live stream. We love Periscope, as it offers an instant method to share top #SchoolStories with your community. Gain more engagement by promoting your broadcast before it goes live. Follow Periscope's latest news, tips and features blog, to stay ahead with the platform.
  • Facebook: with Facebook LIVE you have all the power of live streaming with the sheer reach offered by social media leader, Facebook. Feel inspired by these past Live videos, and see how people have been connecting with their followers.
  • Instagram: users now have the ability to add live streams to give their Instagram Stories extra clout. This has proven an incredibly popular feature for Instagram. Live streams will disappear 

The three above are the most notable for your school, as each can be implemented into your marketing strategy effectively. Below are a few more worth noting (but less inclined towards school marketing efforts).

  • YouTube: the video-centric platform has taken to live video streams as naturally as a fish does to water (which you can watch live on YouTube - above!) There are some current stipulations to being able to broadcast on YouTube Live (such as 10,000+ subscribers), making this a harder channel for schools to obtain. Check the YouTube Live channel for a real smorgasbord of live streams.
  • Twitch: the world’s leading social video platform for video game culture. Twitch is incredibly popular with the gaming community and younger people, with new consoles having their own Twitch services so anyone can broadcast their gaming to the world. Not a huge platform for schools to use, but a big one to know about!

#intSchoolsLIVE workshop: Filming & editing #SchoolVideo on your Mobile Devices

WE ARE HERE TO HELP!

Interactive Schools have teamed up with Eye Film to offer a FREE one day workshop where you will learn how to share your #SchoolsStories in the most effective, efficient way. 

  • WHERE? Manchester, UK 
  • WHEN? 22 November 2017
  • HOW MUCH? It's FREE!

LIMITED PLACES! Don't miss out - register below.

Spectacular streaming statistics:

How to broadcast on multiple platforms (at the same time!)

For users of live streaming services, a common question is which one should I be using? This is not an easy one to answer as different services will reach a different area of your community.

The best answer then is: all of them! 

For schools interesting in broadcasting multiple live #SchoolStories to the world, you will need to use tools to help you achieve this. There is a growing number of companies who can offer this service, with varying costs. 

This Livestreaming guide offers some great options which cover Facebook, YouTube and Twitter (Periscope). 

Reaching your audience

Understanding the pros and cons of each channel is the first step to effectively reaching your audiences. Twitter and Facebook will offer different demographics, as well as different degrees of reach. 

Be sure to promote upcoming broadcasts to your community. Kings Bruton have done an excellent job of this by having a dedicated page for their live streams.

The beauty of this is you can embed live streams onto your website. This means people can access your broadcasts without needing Facebook or Periscope, adding even more reach! 

 

Live streaming is a fantastic way to reach and engage with your community. Research is proving that engagement levels are higher with live streams over conventional video content.

For schools, it is a top way to get parents more involved in their child's education. For busy parents - who perhaps can't make sports day or a drama production - offering a live stream can be just the answer!

We can see true value in live streams but as we all know, the proof is in the pudding! Give it a go and see what comes from it. We are here to help too! Contact us and let us show you how amazing social media can be for schools. 

As always, please do leave comments below - lets get a discussion going on schools live streaming.

How to: Create and edit a school video on your smartphone

Creating videos for your school marketing does not need to be complicated or expensive. No need to hire Spielberg or rent out a £100,000 camera to capture your #SchoolStories.

Instead, make use of the tools that are readily available - you likely have a decent camera and full editing suite sitting in your pocket or handbag right now.

Being mobile

A large part of what we deliver to schools is this idea of capturing #SchoolStories as they happen. How? By using mobile devices (i.e. smart phones and tablets).

It gives the user the easiest method of recording a quick video - or montage of pictures, or audio bite or whatever it may be - without having to lug around additional equipment. It allows for spontaneity and mobility. 

Recording a video

Every modern smart phone will have a native camera app that allows for video recording. There are, of course, hundreds of other apps that can be downloaded / purchased, but try using the native one first to get a feel for it.

The goal to begin with is to understand basic principles of good film making:

  • Lighting - knowing what is good and bad lighting can have a huge impact. Try to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video. On the flip side, you should be careful not to point the camera directly at bright light sources, as it will cause overexposed footage and lens flaring.

  • Keep it steady - if you don’t want your video footage to come out distorted or blurred, try to keep your phone steady while recording. Use both hands to hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body as you record the video. Alternatively, invest in additional gear such as stabilisers and tripods.

  • Audio - a good video with poor audio quality is not good (unless you plan to add an overlaying track during editing). To help mitigate poor audio be mindful of background noise and wind conditions (if outside). 

  • Stay close to the subject - staying physically closer to your subject ensures better image quality, less digital noise and better focus in your videos.

  • Shoot horizontally - do not shoot vertical video! A common mistake when recording video on smart phones is the phone vertically (up and down rather than sideways). Hold your phone horizontally so that videos played back on other screens will look fine.

Editing a video

Now you have shot something, you can make use of a plethora of mobile apps to edit it.

The sun shines on the Class of 2016 as they celebrate their last official day of school! #goodluckgirls #wewillmissyou

A post shared by North London Collegiate School (@nlcs1850) on

There are a lot to pick from so here are 4 top apps:

  • iMovie (iOS) - this is the gold standard, go-to video app for Apple users. It is a versatile and powerful application (plus it comes in a desktop version for added options). Add visual effects, on-screen text, and include music.
  • Splice (iOS) - this editor (owned by GoPro) offers separate tracks for video and audio to help create more complex videos. Add on-screen text, voice narration, and animations.
  • Magisto (iOS / Android) - uses artificial intelligence to automatically create an edited video for you. It also adds visual themes and music.
  • Adobe Premiere Clip (iOS / Android) - allows you to create simple social media-bound movies. Requires Adobe ID to be used, but links nicely to other Adobe products.

There is no one guide for these - everything will require a little practice and patience at first. Alternatively, try asking pupils to have a go at editing your video (and be amazed at how quickly they pick it up!)

#intSchoolsLIVE workshop: Filming & editing #SchoolVideo on your Mobile Devices

WE ARE HERE TO HELP!

Interactive Schools have teamed up with Eye Film to offer a FREE one day workshop where you will learn how to share your #SchoolsStories in the most effective, efficient way. 

  • WHERE? Manchester, UK 
  • WHEN? 22 November 2017
  • HOW MUCH? It's FREE!

Don't miss out - register below.

Video options

Feeling a little more brave? How about trying a few different video styles to add spice to the content you are creating? Here are a few of our favourite:

  • Slow motion - record in slow motion! Great for capturing beauty that is hard to spot with the naked eye.
  • Time lapse - the opposite of slow motion, play videos at a much faster rate. Perfect for capturing the turning of time - perhaps the sun's path across the sky or a full day at school in a few minutes. Give it a go.
  • Hyper lapse - similar to time lapse with the exception of allowing the camera itself to move (time lapse the camera is generally static; hyper lapse the camera moves).
  • Boomerang - takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward. Great fun.

Sharing your video

We often get asked about the implications of low-quality video content - so, knowing the right place to share your video is important as part of your marketing.

In general, if the video has been shot on a smart phone the quality is unlikely to be spectacular. But this does not mean it should not be shared!

The point is, your school community (i.e. your parents, teachers, prospectives and pupils) will be invested in this content because it is part of your school culture. Share these #SchoolStories on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We promise the content itself will outweigh concerns over video quality.

For the more "professional" standard videos, use channels like YouTube or Vimeo. You can then share these clips as URL's on Twitter and Facebook. 👍

 

We hope you have enjoyed this quick guide to recording, editing and sharing your #SchoolStories in video format. We'd love to hear about what you think about this topic - please comment below. 

    How to: Use IFTTT to automate your school marketing

    Using-IFTTT-V1-1200.jpg

    Do you feel that there are too many accounts for us to manage online? That with social media in particular, the expectation to have a presence on everything is too time consuming and exhausting?

    Looking at social media, the average adult has 7 personal accounts, while the average teen user has even more! On top of that, most of us have accounts for work, email, shopping, messaging, keeping up with the news and much more.

    Since the services we use are generally run by different companies, there often isn't a natural way to link them together. As a result, it is necessary to treat your experiences with different services as entirely separate entities. Wouldn’t be nice then, if there was a way to better coordinate at least some of your personal or professional online life?

    Look no further than IFTTT (“IF This Then That”).

    IFTTT (www.ifttt.com) is an automation web app that lets you link up different things you’re doing on the internet. Over 400 services currently work with IFTTT, including Facebook; Twitter; YouTube; Google Drive and Instagram. As well as the big companies, there are also loads of services that cater towards particular niches, like internet-enabled lighting, cars and blinds.

    How does it work?

    Fortunately, it’s pretty simple.

    With just a handful of clicks, you can tell IFTTT that if one thing happens on Service A, then it should make something else happen on Service B.

    For example, if you add a new profile picture on to Facebook, then your Twitter profile picture should change to the same photo. Or if it’s going to rain today, a notification should automatically appear on your phone at 7.30am, telling you to take your umbrella with you.

    How to use it

    To give IFTTT a go, you’ll need to make an account. Then, you can either browse other people’s creations or even make your own by:

    • going to My Applets
    • choosing New Applet
    • picking a this and a that

    You’ll notice that rather a lot of applets have been made so far. Many are particularly well-suited to marketers and teachers.

    Here are four of our favourite IFTTT applets to get you started:

    [1] Hear about top content relevant to you from social media

    Whether you’re involved in marketing, teaching or something else entirely, it makes sense to keep up to date with ideas and suggestions from others in the sector. You may already have some preferred channels that you like to check for inspiration, but if not, it’s worth having a look at what’s out there by searching for something like “Twitter accounts to follow for education technology” or “best subreddits for digital marketing”.

    To simplify this process into an automated service, let IFTTT bring the updates to you in the form of a regular email or a designated Google sheet.

    [2] Share your social media posts across different platforms

    Keeping track of what you’ve posted where can be a bit of a hassle - given that in a lot of cases the services you use are run by different companies and don’t link together very well.

    IFTTT allows you to synchronise your posts across different platforms, while keeping records of what you’ve posted for future reference.

    This area is probably the main draw of IFTTT, and arguably what it was built for in the first place. If both services you’re interested in are on IFTTT then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an applet that does what you want. We’ve selected some of our favourites:

    [3] Share interesting content from others to your social media channels

    It isn’t always easy to come up with content to populate your social media channels, especially if you’re just starting out or there’s relatively little going on. To keep your followers interested and engaged, it can be a smart idea to share interesting content by others.

    There’s a good chance you already do something like this, but IFTTT can make it a lot easier! Take the leap with IFTTT and save so much time not having to scroll through feeds, looking for something great to share.

    Here's a few ready-made applets for specific areas, and applets that you can further personalise to best suit you:

    • Share NASA’s image of the day to Facebook and Twitter

    • Tweet Wikipedia’s word of the day every day - the default language is English, but others are available. If you would like to choose another, all you need to do is find the right two-letter “ISO 639-1” code (“en” for English, “fr” for French, “es” for Spanish, “de” for German etc.) and add it to the app in the labelled box. This could be a really nice idea for MFL departments.

    • Send tweets from a particular search to your Buffer queue - this one is really easy to adapt. We suggest you pick a Twitter account you trust and choose your search terms carefully (so you can capture the tweets that are most relevant to you). For example, try “@MathsIdeas what OR how” to get tweets from the Twitter account called Maths Puzzles (@MathsIdeas) which are phrased as questions, or “#DigitalMarketing min_faves:60” to only tweet those posts that have been significant interest to other users (i.e. liked a minimum of 60 times).

    [4] Note things down as you go along

    You don’t always have pen and paper to hand, and your collection of notes stored on your phone are becoming a mess. It happens to the best of us! But sometimes, having a designated system for keeping track of all your notes relating to a particular topic can be really useful.

    • Create a bibliography of articles archived from pocket in Evernote - when you’re doing research for a project or campaign, it can be hard to keep track of the extensive trail of websites you visit along the way. One way to tackle this issue is to use Pocket, a service that allows you to easily save pages for later, alongside Evernote to make a bibliography. IFTTT will automate this for you; leaving you free to browse to your heart's content while simultaneously creating a list of what you're looking at.

    The Future?

    The possibilities are simply endless.

    With smart glasses, you will be able to set up IFTTT to actively translate text as you are reading it! With Internet-enabled lights, you'll have lights react to you coming / leaving home, or going to bed. In fact, this last idea is already possible via IFTTT today, if you happen to have a set of Philips Hue lights. You can even get your lighting to do something exciting when the International Space Station flies overhead - (SCHOOL SCIENCE DEPARTMENTS - TAKE NOTE!)

    If you think of an applet that you would find useful, the likelihood is it has already been created (or at least something very similar you can adapt). If not, it's time to flex a few creative muscles and give it a go. 

    Tell us in the comments below how IFTTT could save you time. If you’ve had a go at making any applets, we’d love to hear about it.