Royalty Free Music and EmbedPlus

Two quick great websites I came across today that deserve more than a tweet.  Jewel Beat: Check it out…some great sounds, songs, and effects. All royalty free and all they ask is you link back to their website. Great resource for student videos, podcasts, and use in projects. EmbedPlus: Take YouTube videos to the next level. Just copy and paste the URL of any YouTube video and walk through the steps. You can set times in the video to skip to, you can slow the video down, and rewind. Some pretty cool extra features….and all for free. Check out the video below to see it in...

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One Bad Twitter 'Tweet' Can Cost you 30 Students

Well….maybe not yet, but in the coming year if you are a private or international school you better be monitoring and using these new social tools to engage new students and families. A Bloomberg report came out earlier this week titled: One Bad Twitter ‘Tweet’ Can Cost 30 Customers, Survey Shows. A negative review or comment on the Twitter, Facebook or Youtube Web sites can lose companies as many as 30 customers, according to a survey by Convergys Corp. Now…that’s the business world and if you work in a public school this might not affect you, unless you’re in a district that allows student choice…then it might be an issue. But if you are a private school competing with other private schools this is an article that should have you thinking! A customer review on one of the sites reaches an average audience of 45 people, two-thirds of whom would avoid or completely stop doing business with a company they heard bad things about, Convergys said, citing its own survey. So let’s take an international school in, I don’t know, say Bangkok, Thailand. You start where most do at Google and do a quick search for Bangkok International Schools. Which returns you 10 results. You then click on the link that Google gives you that says “Local business results for International schools near Bangkok, Thailand” and you’re given a different list with addresses on Google Maps (Here’s the first issue…I know there are at least 50 international schools in Bangkok and only 10 show up on this list. Strike 1 for some schools). There are no ratings, no comments, not much to go on here except links to the schools websites (missed opportunity not having comments or a rating on your Google Search results). Of course every school website looks great and can give you a broad overview of what the school is about. But as a parent, or a new student….you want more. You want to know what that schools like. So you head to YouTube, where a quick search for Bangkok International Schools, gives you a list of  5 star rated videos to watch. One video I watch has the following comment: Oh how I hate this school! == They’re just persauding people its not REAL!!!! and it was left a month ago, I click on the user to find out that this is the only comment...

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Social Networking Workshop for Parents

Last week the Ed Tech team here at my school held a 3 hour social networking workshop for parents. The workshop was requested by parents after we made a brief presentation to the school board back in November. Before we began we took a quick poll of the 20 parents (all mothers): Non had a Facebook account but a couple of them had heard about it. Non had been on YouTube but they all had heard about it. What did they want to know: How to see what their kids were doing on the computer without them knowing about it. In the 3 hours we covered the following: 20 minutes on introductions and Inside ISB our new educational portal 20 minutes on PantherNet (Moodle) our walled garden for learning 20 minute presentation on why students are so connected (this year’s seniors were born the same year the Internet was invented…they will never know a time without the Internet) 20 minutes on using YouTube as a life lone learning tool (parents searched for ‘how to’ videos on things they were interested in). 20 minutes on Internet Safety 20 minutes on web based library resources 20 minutes on Facebook 20 minutes on Google Search Skills 20 minutes on breaks, Q&A It was an enlightening three hours for both sides I think. I didn’t realize how little our parents knew. At one point we stopped to explain tabbed browsing and the back button. I’ve talked about this before, that for the first time in the history of education we not only have to spend time on the students in our charge, but on re-educating our community as well on what it means to learn in today’s world. Parents were amazed with what they could find on YouTube. One mom improved her golf swing, while another looked up recipes for dinner. What I took away from the three hours and what has me the most worried is, that it seems that up until now these parents had taken an “Ignorance is Bliss” approach to technology, and rather than learning the tools what they really wanted was to find a way to spy on their kids. Of course this is a similar approach many schools take….if we just ignore the changes happening then maybe they will go away. The problem is the Internet and all of its content is not going anywhere anytime soon....

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