A Simple Approach to Marketing Your School

Posted by Susan Gilley on February 26, 2016

Marketing graphicThis year marks my 32nd year in education.  When I starting teaching, schools were a part of your community and it was assumed that you would attend your local community school. Today, however, students have unlimited choices for where they will attend and receive their education. They can even choose to stay home and receive their courses digitally. Schools now must compete for students. Parents are searching for the best places and options for their child’s education. These decisions impact everyone’s future.

Therefore, marketing your school is a priority. Schools can no longer depend on being selected because they are the neighborhood choice. Many schools are even hiring marketing and public relations personnel to sell their campuses. I believe promoting your school begins with each classroom and more specifically, every individual. Every single person is now a salesperson for your district.

One easy way that teachers can promote your district is through an up-to-date web page. People want to be able to get on their computer at their convenience and know what’s going on at your district. Keeping web pages current can be a challenge. Especially since most teachers are teachers, not web page designers. Therefore, one easy way I encourage teachers to keep an up-to-date webpage is using a simple Google doc published as a web page.

To accomplish this, a teacher simply follows these steps:

Google Drive File menu

  1. Open Google drive.
  2. Click on NEW.
  3. Click on Google Doc.
  4. Name the document.
  5. Type information on the page.
  6. Click on File.
  7. Click on Publish to the Web.
  8. Click on Publish.
  9. Click OK (you are sure you want to publish).
  10. A screen appears with the link to send to your district’s webmaster.
  11. Click on the envelope icon (Gmail) and your e-mail will open where you can type in your webmaster’s e-mail address and the link will already be in the body of the e-mail for your district webmaster to create a link off of the district web page to your web page.

Once this link is connected, you don’t have to work with the webmaster again. Your page becomes live at that moment. All new changes you make in your Google document will automatically appear in the published page!

You now have an easy way to keep parents current on all events! Follow this link to a sample, very simple doc published as a web page.

Now, a couple of notes:

  • It’s really plain. However, I believe most people just want to know current information and aren’t as concerned about the looks.
  • It does take 5 minutes sometimes to update, so be patient if you type into a document and it hasn’t appeared on your published document yet.

The first time I presented this to teachers, they were blown away that it was really that easy. Most importantly, since presenting this over two years ago to a group of teachers, they are still doing weekly updates on their web pages.

Many people just can’t accept the plain simplicity of the regular document, so I offer this alternative which is simply a formatted, centered table within a Google doc. The instructions to publish are the same as above, but you start with making a copy of this document.

Sample simple web page with color boxes

Whatever document your teachers choose to go with, they now have an easy way to create web pages and keep your patrons up-to-date on what’s going on in your district. Now everyone in your district can be responsible for keeping people informed. Communication is a key component of successful districts. Web pages are one of many ways that our district markets itself.

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Choice Eliminator Add-On for Google Forms

Posted by Susan Gilley on July 12, 2015

Google forms have a variety of uses. You can do surveys, gather important data, or create quizzes, just to name a few. Recently, I have discovered an add-on for Google forms that increases the power of forms. This add-on is called Choice Eliminator. Imagine the possibilities when you can have choices that disappear once each person submitting the form has selected one of the options. My first thought for use would be for parent/teacher conferences. You want to give parents the option of selecting their time, but you also want options to disappear once they have selected one. The Choice Eliminator add-on is your best friend for turning this possibility into a reality. Brian Gray’s YouTube video gives you the best example of how it works and walks you through the steps to accomplish it on your own.

Once you have watched the video to see how it is done, follow these basic steps.

Install the Choice Eliminator add-on to your Google form
  1. Create your form including the multiple choice options for each question.
  2. Click on Add-ons (Make sure you are in your Google form).
  3. Click on Get Add-ons.
  4. Search for Choice Eliminator.
  5. Install the Choice Eliminator Add-on.
Use it
  1. Click on Add-on – Choice Eliminator – Start
  2. A dialogue box appears on the right hand side of the screen.
  3. After the question list loads, click on the question you want to eliminate choices on.
  4. Click SAVE.
  5. Your form is now ready to go!
But WAIT!, there’s more

As shown in the video, you can now allow multiple selections/restrictions for different options within the form. For example, if you want three 8 o’clock slots, but only one 3 o’clock slot, you can do that!

  1. Create your questions in the usual way
  2. Open Choice Eliminator dialogue box on the right
  3. Click to eliminate choices
  4. Then click on choice options
  5. Now you can set the number of options available for each answer within your multiple choice list that you provided in your form.

The Choice Eliminator add-on for Google forms truly transforms your educational practices and opens up an unlimited number of possibilities for educators when creating forms that need limited selected options at times. Please share in comments how you might use the choice eliminator add-on and how it might most benefit you! As I always say, it’s not what you know, but what you share.

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The tools are there; can we meet the challenge?

Posted by Susan Gilley on November 8, 2014

Do it yourself - letters with tools attached.Back in the day, when your computer was messed up, you phoned a friend or even took your machine in to a computer technician. A couple of days ago, my laptop began showing an error that the battery was not charging. I googled a little last night trying to find the solution and tried a couple of options without success. Tonight I came home and googled possibilities again. Believe it or not, the second YouTube video I watched provided the answer.

Your response may be, “OK, cool!” or perhaps it’s, “Big deal; so what?” Regardless, to me this experience emphasizes how education is changing. People now have an incredible network of options for solutions to problems. In this case, I watched a 3-minute video, performed the steps suggested in the video, and my battery is now back to charging.

Does this new abundance of learning resources replace live people in the classroom? Absolutely not! Does it allow anyone to learn about anything they want at any time? For sure! That puts a lot of educational and learning power in the hands of the learner, and challenges us all as educators.

● How do we stay current in today’s ever-changing educational landscape?
● How do we keep in tune with how our students are meeting their educational thirsts for knowledge?
● How does society blend the answers to both of these questions to enhance education?

For myself, I choose a variety of ways to stay current beyond just googling and watching YouTube videos. One way I have expanded my professional learning community is through Twitter and Google+ communities. Both of these social media outlets allow me to follow people around the globe who share the same interests as I do and choose to share more information about those interests through their Twitter feeds and Google+ communities.

My philosophy has always been, it’s not what you know, but what you share! So, I welcome your comments and discussion. Follow me on Twitter @uniqsuseq, check out the websites I have bookmarked at https://delicious.com/sgilley, or visit sgilley.com that hosts all of my resources. And, of course, feel free to add your thoughts right here by commenting on this post.

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Packrati: My road to super-productivity!

Posted by Susan Gilley on March 16, 2014

PackratMy motto is,  “It’s not what you know, but what you share!” People who know me know that I make no secret that almost all of my shared resources come from Twitter. Twitter is all about finding the right people to follow that will allow you find the resources that will help you do your job better. That’s the key to me as to why Twitter is such a valuable social media tool.

In order to make Twitter successful and productive for me, I needed a way to get what I had tweeted to my bookmarks. I use Delicious as my bookmarking tool.  My old school way was once a week or month, I would copy and paste each tweet over to my delicious account as a bookmark with tags.  This was a horribly inefficient process.  Then I discovered Packrati.  Packrati works with my Twitter and Delicious accounts to automatically bookmark and tag anything I tweet.

Here’s how it works:  If there is a URL in my tweet, it automatically gets posted on my delicious web page.  Any words within that tweet that have a hashtag (#) are added as Delicious tags of the bookmarked page.  Welcome to the world of super-productivity! To start setting up accounts for yourself, visit the following websites and create accounts:  twitter.com, delicious.com, and packrati.us. If you are interested in seeing all of the resources I have gathered, check out my bookmarks at delicious.com/sgilley or follow me on Twitter @uniqsuseq.

 

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