What if……(you lost your mobile phone…)

This week I had an experience that I feel I want to share. I was at a training on teaching reading. During the training I had my cellphone off an in my purse. I did take 3 pictures after lunch using the phone. But then I put it away. I went to Starbucks after class and to do homework with a friend. I paid for coffee (leaving my purse open and on a chair while paying). After doing homework we went to dinner. After dinner, I went to call my husband and ….no cellphone. Immediately, because I had remembered my lack of attention to the purse, I assumed my phone had been stolen. I called my husband had first had him change all the passwords on my email and Facebook accounts. Next I had him call the phone company to alert them.

I felt protected because I had all my information on the cloud and I had changed all my passwords for accessing this information. Thus, I hadn’t lost anything except for my phone. I did alert my Facebook friends to the fact that the phone was stolen because I was still a little fearful that whomever had stolen the phone would post profanity on my account.

The next day when I went back to class, the teacher asked (around 10:30) if anyone had lost a phone. I stood up and hugged her…end of story.

What would you say the moral to this story is?

Facebook for Schools

Using Facebook to Attract Students

For schools that also focus on recruitment of students or enrolling students in a selection lottery, Facebook can be an excellent resource. First of all, a school can share the aspects of the school that make it appealing through photos and videos. But it can also share key information about enrollment, including deadlines, links to an online application, and links to resources that may be useful for a family that is interested in enrolling a student. The fact that information is easily shared via Facebook again bodes well for a school interested in recruiting students.

The Power of Data

Many schools use their strong academic results as a key to their recruiting efforts. Facebook provides a great opportunity for a school to share their aggregated academic data with the world. Not only is it available to those interested in potentially becoming a part of the community, but is also accessible to students and families that are already in the school. These results are easy for students, teachers, and proud family members to Like and share with people in their Facebook network.

Get Feedback from the Community

Facebook allows a school to lower the barriers to participation for members of the community. By effectively leveraging Facebook, a school can make it easier for community members to get involved and share their opinions on a variety of fronts. While some schools may fear this increased participation, others will embrace it as it not only increases involvement, but can also lead to a healthy discourse about what’s happening at the school.

Use Facebook Discussions

One opportunity lies in the Discussions tab on the Facebook Page. A school can create a discussion about a specific topic and allow members of the community to share their thoughts within the thread. Admins will be able to moderate the thread and remove any posts that are inappropriate.

Use Polls

Polls provide a chance for a school to solicit feedback directly from its followers. The nice thing about using a poll is that a school can limit the choices available and, with a few simple clicks, blast it out to all of its followers. It’s a great way to quickly collect data that can help inform decision making.

Use Facebook Questions

An alternative to polls, Facebook Questions allow a school to solicit feedback from the community while being a little less restrictive. Questions provides the option for a school to allow users to write in answer choices as well as share the question with others in their network. However, it’s worth noting that Questions opens responses up to friends of friends, which may not necessarily provide the best sample if a school is trying to poll just members of its community. If only sampling those in the school isn’t a priority, Questions could be a good fit. For example, YES Prep Public Schools used Facebook Questions to help determine what mascot they should use for a new school they’re opening in the fall. As of the writing of this article, “Titans” is winning handily.

A Note on Settings and Privacy

Once a school has set up a Facebook Page, there are a few settings it may want to consider to ensure it’s easy to monitor. Please note that in order to do any of the following you must first be logged in and designated as an Admin of the Facebook Page.

Posting Ability

It’s a good idea to control the permissions regarding what content users are allowed to upload. To access permissions, do the following:

1. Click “Edit Page” in the upper-right of the Facebook Page
2. Select the “Manage Permissions” tab on the left side of the screen
3. Uncheck “Users can add photos”
4. Uncheck “Users can add videos”
5. Leave “Users can write or post content on the wall” checked
6. Click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page

It’s a good idea to start off by limiting these permissions. If a school ultimately decides it would like to expand the permissions it offers its followers, it’s easy to do so. It’s better to become more permissive than more restrictive.

Also, it’s worth noting that unlike with personal photos on Facebook, followers won’t be able to tag people in the photos that the school uploads to its Facebook Page. As discussed above in the privacy section, this is a good thing when children are involved for many reasons.

Profanity Blocklist

Facebook allows the Admins of a Page to enable an automatic screener for profanity. To enable this profanity blocklist, do the following:

1. Click “Edit Page” in the upper-right of the Facebook Page
2. Select the “Manage Permissions” tab on the left side of the screen
3. In the dropdown beside “Profanity Blocklist:” select “Strong”
4. Click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page

If there are specific words that a school would like to prohibit from being used, it can write them in the box beside “Moderation Blocklist” on the same page. If a user tries to use one of these prohibited words, it will automatically be marked as spam and won’t show up on the Facebook page.

Enable Email Notifications

To prevent page Admins from having to constantly be checking the Facebook page, it’s a good idea to enable Email Notifications. To do so, do the following:

1. Click “Edit Page” in the upper right of the Facebook Page
2. Select the “Your Settings” tab on the left side of the screen
3. Check the checkbox beside “Email Notifications”
4. Click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page

Now, whenever a user posts or comments on the Facebook Page, the Admin will receive an email letting them know that the interaction has occurred.

Make It Personal

The key to any school successfully leveraging Facebook is finding what fits the personality of the individual school. The above ideas are merely suggestions as a way to get started. The important thing is that each school makes their Facebook Page an extension of the amazing things they are doing every day in the classroom.

While Facebook is at times a bit daunting, when used effectively it can provide schools with an excellent opportunity to engage the communities they serve and act as a key component in a school’s online presence.

Is there a school in your community using Facebook to its full potential? Do you have any additional tips? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Interested in more Education resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RichVintage

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  1. Perhaps I missed it in this great article, but I feel schools should be reinforcing respect for Facebook’s age requirements and encouraging parents to do the same. Terrific resources – thank you for sharing your expertise!


Final Meeting

Today we had our final meeting and shared successes. Participants all shared things they have learned during the semester. Wendy and Pam shared remotely. All participants enjoyed the experience and want to continue in the spring. I was inspired by Malena’s work in Facebook and set up an online group for some students called “Learning English”.

Charlotte Fagin shared her Quia account with Charlotte Schroeder and got her using Quia. She made a game using Quia and embedded video. We were all wowed by this and as a group we figure out how she did it. Now we can all embed video into our Quia games.

Thank you all for a wonderful fall and Happy Holidays.

Here is a link to a book about Student Learning.


Using Wordle

This week, in my one hour class….sigh….I wish I had more than one hour of teaching….I am going to use Wordle.  You can find wordle at http://www.wordle.net. Wordle is a great visual vocabulary tool. I made a video which I will use in my class. I have two ways to view it. One is with captions and the other is without. The captions (I used a program called Camtasia) blocks some of the visual. I will let my students choose which one to use.

Captioned Tutorial is located at http://www.screencast.com/t/T8Aj7MHwDn

Non Captioned video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=tJnm_VqUAZY

Email October 25

Hopefully all is going well. The blogs seem to be picking up and that makes me happy. Your assignment for this week is
1)  to comment on as many blogs as you can. They are fascinating reading and I am sure people want to hear comments from the rest of you. I am the most prolific commenter at the moment.
2) I also made a post and tried to link all the Quia games made so far at


If you do not see your game on this link, please let me know and I will correct it.  I did the best I could.
3) Get a Google Voice account so we can start exploring its use.

I hope you are encouraging students to make games at home.

Nancy Wright had a great idea. She made a business card (see the attachment) One one side was school name, office phone number, her email address and her name.

bus card

On the other side was the Quia password information for students to use at home to make games.


You could put your google voice number on there as well.

I will be having knee surgery (sigh…) on November 3. Hopefully I will be able to run and walk more easily after I recover. :-)

Quia Games

Here is an archive of Quia Games made to date in the project:
Carlos Perez:
Common English Verbs: http://www.quia.com/cm/473416.html
Who Wants to be a Millionaire: http://www.quia.com/rr/698749.html

Charlotte Fagin:


http://www.quia.com/jg/2062240 (teacher made model)

Student Games






http://www.quia.com/jg/2076150.html (teacher model)

COMMUNITY WORDS(Student Created Games)

Community jumble

community words

Community words

community words

Kay Oliff (Remote)

adjectives and prepositions


Michele Volz:

Sol Knipp

The link to the cellphone etiquette survey  is: http://www.quia.com/sv/460110.html

The link to the cell phone etiquette quiz is:  http://www.quia.com/quiz/2740428.html

Sue Pace


Sue Seay (remote)

Here is the link to my “computer Parts” quiz


Wendy Quinoes (Remote)

http://www.quia.com/jg/1876890.html Listen for the cue.  This was for a computer class, but it demonstrates how good Quia can be for vocabulary.  The flashcard option is a great one. On the picture side, there’s a little icon for a headset, and a “Play audio” button.  Click that and (after a while) you’ll hear me say the word for the key that’s pictured.

http://www.quia.com/jfc/1801531.html Animal words and pictures. I never got the audio up on this one, but it could easily be done.


Personal information — Made by another teacher, this hangman game is connected to a worksheet.  This  kind of thing would be easy (and reinforcing) for students to make.


Past tense challenge — like Jeopardy.  Students love these.

Pam Hare

Grammar Lessons

(irregular past tense)