Allerton Hill Blog

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Category: Technology

From the Podcast: Tips for superintendents to connect with a new community

Photo of laptop and books in the background with text that reads Tips for superintendents to connect with a new community

October 18, 2017

Tips for superintendents to connect with a new community

In this week’s episode of the We Love Schools podcast, host Carole Dorn-Bell talks with Matt Miller, the Superintendent of Lakota Local Schools.

Miller is starting his 13th year as a superintendent, so he knows a bit about transitions as a superintendent and how a superintendent can connect with a new community.

“I was at a really good place coming to Lakota because it happened so early in the superintendent search process,” Miller says. “The Board here at Lakota did a really good job of letting me have transition days, which I think is huge for any school board, for any superintendent to work out transition details.”

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Posted in Community Outreach, Podcast, Technology
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From the Podcast: The value of virtual town halls

Thumbnail image of woman streaming a town hall on her tablet, feature from Allerton Hill Consulting blog

October 10, 2017

Use the power of virtual town halls to communicate with your community

In the latest episode of We Love Schools, host Carole Dorn-Bell chats with Mike Davis of Broadnet about the value of virtual town halls for schools.

Broadnet offers Access Live, a way for a superintendent, for example, to have a town hall via the phone.

Davis says they’ve led virtual town halls in close to a dozen countries.

With so many different avenues to reach people these days, Dorn-Bell says, something like Access Live can be very valuable in reaching out to a community.

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Tips for Updating and Maintaining School Website

Tips for Updating and Maintaining School Website

August 30, 2017

Your school website is one of your most valuable marketing tools. It provides a one-stop look at what you have to offer for students and the community. Making sure it reflects well on you and provides the information parents, and community members, need and want is vital. This requires regular updates and maintenance, but it is easier than you may think. Follow these tips for keeping your school website up-to-date and informative.

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Posted in Technology
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Digital Spotlight: Streamlining Communication

February 2, 2017

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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From the Podcast: Technology in the Classroom

August 8, 2016

“I believe our biggest problem with technology actually starts in our minds. Our minds our the greatest software ever invented and we need to program it for excellence.” — Vicky Davis

This week, Vicki Davis is our guest, talking about the strengths and impediments of technology in the classroom and for the school district at large. Vicki is a teacher of technology in Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia and the author of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.

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Posted in Podcast, Technology

Apps in the Classroom: How to Find What Works for You and Your Students

Educational Apps in the Classroom // Tips on Technology & Communication from Allerton Hill Consulting

July 18, 2016

There is no doubt that the internet and the use of smart devices in the classroom is revolutionizing how teachers teach and how students learn. Think of any subject, any technique and “there’s an app for that”… in fact, there are probably thousands of apps for that! This, of course, is where the problem lies. How do you find the apps that will expand on your lessons and engage your students without distracting them or isolating them?

One criteria that can be helpful to use in narrowing down your choices is to look for apps that encourage collaboration rather than just one student and the screen. There are apps that allow students to share notes, write stories, create multimedia presentations and research long term projects. These apps empower students to work together.

Another solid benchmark to consider is whether it encourages students to “break the rules” or build something new. Are users just playing a game or filling in the blanks? Or are they encouraged to be creative? to create? to expand upon ideas and form new conclusions, new questions, new paths to discover?

Of course, it is critically important to ensure that any apps you use have safety settings that will allow you to contain search terms and access to appropriate materials.

There are hundreds of lists of the “best apps for educators” but we would be remiss not to include our own favorites that follows these 3 points of criteria. I’ve used all of the apps below and can speak to its ease of use, collaboration capabilities and creativity-inspiring capabilities.

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Posted in Education, Technology
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Original Content Is King

May 20, 2016

We’ve talked about where to find free images to use in social media and on your website, but sometimes the only image that will do is YOUR image. Having a readily available folder of professionally taken photos whose subjects span the variety of academic opportunities and extracurricular activities your districts offer is key. Use the photos to accompany posts promoting upcoming events and campaigns and to drive the emotional story of your school’s outreach.

Creating content daily doesn’t mean taking photos daily. Setting aside a week once or twice a year to focus on taking a stockpile of photos around the school is a great start. I suggest using a photo storage system that allows you to add multiple tags to to each photo to be able to find an appropriate photo quickly. Adding text to an image to add context and highlight one key message can be a good way to recycle images and to create instant connections. This will allow you to focus your creative design efforts on creating graphics for complex concepts and bigger picture campaigns.

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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Finding Images to Use in Social Media & on Your Website

May 18, 2016

An image is worth a 1000 words… and in social media terms, an image is worth an increase of 80% readership of your blog content and a 53% increase in engagement on social media.

Images help draw attention, simplify complicated concepts and re-enforce retention.

But if you are posting social media posts 2-4 times a day, how can you find enough quality images to use?

You cannot use any image that you find on the internet. Whoever took the photo owns the image — even if they haven’t noted this fact with a watermark or copyright notice. Copyright is an automatic right to content creators and does not require the author to file special paperwork. Using copyrighted work inappropriately can result in embarrassment, having your website/social media post removed for violations or even legal issues.

There are 4 kinds of rights applied to images. Understanding what these terms mean will help you avoid issues later.

Public Domain
These are images which are now able to be used by the public domain free of charge for any purpose due to their age (the copyright has expired) or the owner has released their rights.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons was created to allow photographers put their images online and dictate how they can be used. They are able to dictate whether the images can be used in other forums, whether they can be manipulated and what credit should be provided along with the image. It is important to read the attached CC license to the photo to understand the limitations placed on your use of the image. Most times, this requires requiring attribution including a link back to the photographer’s site.

Royalty Free
These images are available on stock image websites and the “free” aspect of the title doesn’t reflect the cost but rather that once you pay for the image (using either a subscription or pay-per-image model) you are free to use it as often as you’d like.

Rights-Managed
These images are also purchased but also include a limitation on the number of times they can be used without paying for more licenses.

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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YouTube in the Classroom

May 11, 2016

With so many options for accessing media in the classroom, it can be difficult to navigate where to find the best content and how best to present it. There are more than 80,000,000 videos on YouTube. Some are great for a laugh, some are great to inform and some are incredibly inappropriate. Performing blind searches in front of your classroom is an easy way to run into a dead end — or worse. So where should you start?

  • Sticking to reputable channels such as Ted-Ed, National Geographic and Khan Academy guarantees quality.
  • If you like to watch silly, political or other videos that might be deemed inappropriate for the classroom, use a separate YouTube login for the classroom to avoid malapropos recommendations from popping up on the screen.
  • Get to know advanced search options so you can filter videos by creator, narrow topics and dates.
  • Be creative. Find videos of writers reading their own work and use them as a writing prompt. Share different perspectives by finding multiple videos on the same topic. Bring history alive with archive clips.
  • YouTube playlists saved and shared with your students can help reenforce your lessons and allow them to watch the videos over again at home.
  • Have students make their own videos and tutorials to share in class.

How have you used YouTube in the classroom? Do your students bring you videos to share? What are some pitfalls you have discovered?

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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From the Podcast: Tech Trends with Keith Pomeroy

Technology Trends podcast from Allerton Hill Consulting for schools

April 21, 2016

This week’s show is a continuation about trends in technology. Carole welcomes back Keith Pomeroy, the Chief Technology Officer at Upper Arlington Schools in Ohio to fill us in on the latest and the greatest technology trends.

“You have to be open to flexibility… and you have to talk to kids. Pay attention to what’s happening in their world.”

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.

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