Random Thoughts

The wheels are spinning at SAS

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We all know what happens when you get administrators that understand this Web 2.0 stuff. Shift happens!

Gourmet Geeks Image Andy Torris a good friend of mine, fellow Gourmet Geek, and oh yeah Deputy Superintendent at our school has the wheels a spinning on what Web 2.0 can mean for a school community.

We had a great conversation starter today. What Andy and I really need is a day or two to talk through how this stuff will/can work….and we both believe it can.

“I know there is power in Twitter!” he says has he starts talking about the Twitter account he set up for our school.
We have some ideas on how our community can use Twitter to stay up on what is happening within the school. The school can use it to point to recent or updated information.

Think of the following as Twitter updates:

Practice for softball has been canceled today do to rain.

Don’t forget to vote in the board election this week.

Latest posting from principals can be found here.

Fund raiser this week for Habitat for Humanity remember to support our clubs!

As Andy and I continued talking today we both started talking about marketing and communication and how these tools could be very powerful for a private school such as ours in Shanghai. We also talked about Facebook and having more of a presence there.

“I’ve already created an account.” he says with a smile on his face.

Our conversation goes even deeper about how we need/can engage students at this level. We also talk about the new site I launched today for our school. A Netvibes Universe page that has all our feeds in one place. You can go to www.saschinaonline.org and you will be redirected to our Universe (check out my Universe via the new link at the top of my blog).

This type of site I think has some great power for larger school districts. Could you imagine being in a school district of 20 or 30 schools and have one site like this for the community that brings the district together?

I’ve been reading a lot about marketing lately and I think that’s part of all this. We need to market our schools to our students, our parents, our communities. How do we do that? What tools can we use?

If you’re not already following Andy I would add him to your list of reads. He’s an administrator who can see the larger picture and together we’re gonna figure out how a school can embrace these tools and use them in a multitude of ways to communicate and market our school to the community of Shanghai and expats that might be moving here.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. WOW! I love the Netvibes Universe for the schools. It makes so much sense to take the feeds and combine them for the school community in one place. I am going to share this idea with people in my district.

  2. Bravo,

    Andy’s actions are impressive, this is the perception I see outside of China and it’s from the schools blog, podcast shows, and twitter account activities. It’s great seeing a forward thinking administrator putting words into action. I look forward to SASChina’s continued educational endeavors in the Web 2.0 front.

    I’m hoping more school’s open up Twitter spaces so we all can start sharing everything together. I’m unsure were it will lead but this movement into the unknown is exciting.

  3. Hi Jeff;
    Like you I am interested in using the web to market my school in Indonesia. There are a couple interesting posts on word of mouth marketing, which is so important at least in Indonesia, in montysbox.typepad.com (92% of word of mouth happens offline) and http://precipice.wordpress.com on Where WOM starts – and how it’s passed on.
    My approach to marketing is multifaceted. I like to think the most important component is blogging to, for, at my present clients. But I discovered that most don’t use RSS and few follow my blog. We are also exploring other ways of increasing our web presence such as putting videos on Youtube. All of this requires a tech-savvy staff, which is slowly getting in place.
    And then there’s the issue of trying to measure the effectiveness of these marketing ploys.
    My school is categorized as an Indonesian ‘national plus’ school; I am amazed at the lack of exploitation of the web in marketing of such schools. I hope you come back to this issue in the future.

  4. Hi Jeff,
    Like you, I am interested in marketing my school, an Indonesian ‘national plus’ school. In Indonesia at least word of mouth marketing, aka advocacy, is very important. A couple blog posts on topic: Summary of Guy Kawasaki’s chat with eBay founder Pierre Omidyer (http://montysbox.typepad.com/excuse_me_while_i_digress/2006/06/summary_of_guy_.html) and Where WOM starts – and how it’s passed on (http://precipice.wordpress.com/2006/07/11/where-wom-starts-and-how-its-passed-on/).
    My approach to marketing is basically to increase our presence on the net. I like to think the most significant activity is my blog, which is directed for, to and at our present clients. But I discovered that few use RSS and not many read my blog regularly. Which raises the question of measuring the impact of web marketing activities.
    I am amazed that few private schools in Indonesia are trying to exploit the web and the potent marketing opportunity it offers. I hope you discuss this topic further in the future, especially as it applies to schools.
    Doug Stoltz

  5. WOM is important and probably more important than your online presence as a school. At the same time I think that schools that are starting to build their online presence now will be a step ahead when the rest of the world catches on.

    We are an international school. We have students coming and going weekly as families move in and out of Shanghai. Many of them use the web as a way to research schools in China. That is who we need to be building our online presence for. They are not in china so WOM isn’t an option for them or for our school. But WOW (Word of Web) is. By creating places on the web that engage new students in conversations before they even arrive and gives them a positive feeling about the school is a marketing tool.

    Again, the kudos go to our Administration who are starting to see where all of this is going (and will very little of me beating them over the head with it.) 😉

  6. Hi Jeff,
    I am a fan reader of your site! And Netvibes is wonderful for feedkeeping. In our school I think people are still afraid of the computer and technology implementation is being done very slow

    But I try every day to get our staff more involve in technology.

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