Pokénomenon: Pokémon GO Takes Over

A Caterpie may change into a Butterfree, but the heart that beats inside remains the same.
— Brock, Pokémon Trainer & Pewter City gym leader

What is Pokémon GO? 

For many people the name Pokémon will be synonymous with a never ending anime show or countless hours on the Nintendo Gameboy, grinding levels with a fire dragon or water turtle so you can beat your rival. Merchandise boomed with trading cards, with such a popular following that entire market stalls were dedicated to selling them, and so many plush toys that bedrooms became museums to yellow, electric mice. For those who have no idea about any of this, where have you been?

Pokémon GO is the latest release from Nintendo, designed specifically for mobiles devices such as Apple or Android phones/tablets. To say it has been well received would be an incredible understatement! Social media feeds are filled with Pokémon GO stories and guides. In fact, social media has taken a back seat to the sheer level of people playing this game - and this is before it has even reached a global release. 

The game uses real-world maps and GPS locating to send players outdoors in search of new and stronger pocket monsters. 'Trainers' can visit gyms to battle others, level up their Pokémon and fight for ownership of that location. Likewise they can visit Pokéstops for gifts such as extra Poké Balls or Poké Eggs. It all may sound like total madness but for so many people this has quickly become the best thing since sliced bread.

Why is it so popular?

For many it is pure nostalgia. This isn't just for kids but a significant market of 25-35 years olds who remember the show and games with fondness. It is the ability to live in an augmented reality where these creatures actually exist. The use of an interface that reacts to you based on your surroundings and the time of day has carried Pokémon GO from inception to reality in true style. 

For others it is a new concept. How many games with even half the popularity can incite players out into the wide world instead of holing them up indoors? So much of the concept relies on a sense of adventure, to explore and see what you can find. Without this element it is likely the game would be minus a following of this level.

Stats

The statistics surrounding the game are incredible. For example, US users number somewhere around 26 million and are generating a daily revenue in the millions of dollars (the game is free by the way). In less than 24 hours it topped the App Store in download numbers, breaching a record previously held by Tinder, and has users spending more average time on it, in a typical session, than Twitter. 

For countries that haven't seen the game released yet there is a frenzy of anticipation. Rio de Janeiro's mayor has even asked that the game be released in Brazil, ahead of the upcoming Olympics.

Some interesting Pokémon GO tales

With the social media world aflutter with all things Pokémon some amazing stories have come to light.

One man was able to catch a Pokémon hanging out on a maternity ward...while his wife was in labour, while another woman  advertised herself as a professional Pokémon trainer on Craigslist ($20/hour).

Meanwhile, a huge crowd rushed to Central Park (New York) to try and capture one of the more elusive creatures, as can be seen in the Vimeo below. 

Pokémon GO in schools?

It is likely that schools have had to accept that mobile devices are the norm for today's learners and hard to police. It is even more likely that the release of this game will see students stumbling around school with their faces glued to the screen more than ever before. But can this phenomenon be used to engage learners; to utilise a desire to be outdoors and exercising?

Cross Country running, for example, is a subject of trepidation and embarrassment for many. However, would those reluctant to run across muddy fields be more willing if catching Pokémon was a part of it? The clear fact that it has caused many, many teens to go outside and be more active is undeniable. 

In terms of skills being taught there are elements of team work, social interaction, technical learning, reading maps, and English skills. As you look at younger learners there is also the possible additions of sensory learning - using sights and sounds to explore and engage with the world. 

Outside the learning circle there are possible marketing opportunities that can be used. School open days could benefit from enticing parents along with the promise of Pokémon, courtesy of purchasable in-game items. The 'lure module' is one such item that actively attracts Pokémon to a certain location. It appears on the player's map as petals and already has been used by places such as coffee shops to help bring more custom in.

It would come as little to no surprise if schools quickly begin to look at ways Pokémon GO can be used, instead of fearing or abolishing it from their place of learning. Potential lingers and it is the duty of educators to tap into this for the benefit of their learners.

What do you think?

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on Pokémon GO below.

How To Use Twitter Polls At Your School

When people come to Twitter, they want to express something to the world. It’s them writing a simple message and them knowing that people are going to see it”.
— Jack Dorsey - Co-Founder of Twitter

As of the 21st October 2015 Twitter introduced "Twitter Polls". Polls are a truly unique way of interacting with your audience on Twitter.

Sure everyone knows what a poll is (hopefully) but it's important to understand how and why to use the poll functionality on Twitter.  

For schools, it’s a new way to engage with Twitter’s massive audience and understand exactly what people think. For those participating, it’s a very easy way to make your voice heard.

What are Twitter Polls? 

Polls on Twitter aren’t a totally new concept. In fact people have been running polls on Twitter for a long time through either a “retweet/favourite to vote” mechanism.

It was the popularity of the above style of tweets which rather forced Twitter's hand into making the native Twitter poll functionality. 

The Nuts and bolts

  • Twitter Polls are limited to four answer options
  • Polls have a lifespan of up to a week. Tweeters are informed of how long is left to vote, and how many people have voted as well as the results in percentage. 
  • How you voted is not shared publicly (so no one else will be able to see which option you voted for) 
  • Once a poll is completed the results can be viewed publicly. 

How do I add a Twitter Poll? 

Adding a Twitter poll is very, very simple. But we will show how to add a poll - because we are nice like that :) 

Desktop 

1. Click to compose a tweet. Type in your question as you would normally to type a tweet. Click on the 'Add Poll' symbol shown below.

2. From here Twitter will give you spaces to enter your answers for the poll. Simply click "Add a choice" to add more options (4 maximum) - Remember you can use emojis in your answers if you wish to do so :) 

3. Once you have inserted all of your answers you can choose the poll length. The poll can be up to one week long. - This may be handy for a pinned tweet.

What should I be asking? 

For personal accounts you can ask your audience anything from where you should go on holiday to what you should eat for breakfast tomorrow. There is something exciting in a way to allow your audience to make a choice for you. 

Obviously schools may be slightly more limited, but there is still a wealth of options for what schools can post about. 

  • Ask about the most convenient dates for open days
  • Ask questions about lessons, get parents involved 
  • Ask which Christmas carol the students should perform
  • Ask parents what social channels they use most (research!) 

Quiz/test your pupils!

Departmental Twitter accounts should be quizzing their pupils, with Twitter Polls. Just learned about photosynthesis? Create a poll on Twitter, and test your pupils.

The idea for Twitter Polls is to give your Twitter community a voice and to build a relationship with your followers.

Are you going to use Twitter Polls?

LIVE on #Periscope: How schools can broadcast their stories to the world

Periscope can be an amazing medium. Not to just deliver content, but to connect with people.
— Kim Garst

Periscope (owned by Twitter) allows schools to live stream to the world. Schools can now broadcast the amazing things that are happening each and every day.

Start to LIVE STREAM sports events, drama productions, virtual tours and much much more. This blog post outlines the basics of Periscope.

At this point we should specify we mean the live-streaming app not the tube with the two mirrors.

Great, now we have cleared up what the blog is about let's dive in. 

A little background

Just a over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes.
— Kayvon Beykpour, Co-Founder of Periscope

Periscope was founded on a simple premise. Co-Founder Beykpour was travelling and heard of riots outbreaking in Turkey. He quickly signed onto Twitter to see what was happening and realised something very obvious: he could not see what was happening. 

Although on Twitter he could read about it, see pictures and short videos, he wanted to be able to see it properly and be able to truly experience a live event.

The concept is simple: you broadcast a live video stream anytime, anywhere from your phone.

Since the 12th of January 2016 Periscope has been fully integrated with Twitter. This allows Periscope users to broadcast live on Twitter within tweets.

This has added a whole new dimension and depth to Twitter and it's storytelling capabilities. 

The numbers

  •  2 millIon daily active Periscope users 

  •  200 million broadcasts to date

  •  110 years worth of video watched daily on Periscope

  •  936,000 hours of video watched daily on Periscope

Why would we use Periscope at our school?

Twitter gives you 140 characters, and is a platform which offers a unique form of storytelling. However, Periscope has added that extra dimension to that.

Instead of tweeting "Joanna Bloggs wins the gold medal in the 100m" why not Periscope the race? Why not SEE Joanna win the gold medal?

How does Periscope benefit my school?

No need to pull a "sicky" to get to your child's sports day anymore.

No need to pull a "sicky" to get to your child's sports day anymore.

1. Bring parents closer to their children: Our children spend an enormous amount of time away from home and in school. Even more so if they are at a boarding or international school. Many school events take place in the middle of the day. Why not Periscope these events?

This means parents can see their child, win the race or perform at the Christmas concert as it's happening! 

2. It's free: How much would you have to pay to broadcast an event several year ago? Periscope is free and you can broadcast any event live from your mobile phone. 

3. Periscope is live: It's not edited or tampered with. What you see is what you get. You can give a real and honest insight into your school. The "live" factor of Periscope is authentic.

4. Periscope has it's own TV channel: Watch people's live streams as a unique television channel on Apple TV. This way all family members can crowd round the TV and watch your school events.

5. Be one of the first: Surprisingly only a handful of schools are using Periscope both regularly and effectively. This as a fantastic opportunity to be one the first schools and revolutionise how you share your school stories.

What events should I broadcast in Schools?

This would be a questionable Periscope 🙈

This would be a questionable Periscope 🙈

There is a plethora of events which you can broadcast in schools. We always encourage schools to be original with their broadcasts and too think outside the box but here are some examples: 

Hot Tip 🔥 : Although you can only broadcast on mobile don't worry about quality. Any modern smartphone should have a quality video camera. We do recommended investing in a tripod however. The prices range from £10-£20 for a quality tripod to avoid a shaky broadcast! 

 

  • Sports Day: A fantastic day, full of a variety of sporting events. A great opportunity for working parents to see their children participate. 
  • Open Day: Why not broadcast a live Periscope a tour of the school? This is particularly useful for international schools whose prospective parents may not be able to attend open days. 
  • Christmas Play / Theatre Productions: Broadcast the plays live! We would recommend buying a mobile microphone however for increased sound quality.
  • Broadcast a Lesson: Broadcasting a lesson is a great way to show prospective parents just how brilliant your teaching staff and lessons really are. Show an awesome science experiment or pupils baking a cake 🍰

These are just a few examples, think outside of the box and really impressive us 😀

How do people know we're broadcasting? 

 

The average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes.

If you want to a broadcast (and want people to see it) you will need to promote the broadcast. 

It would be a shame if you were broadcasting quality content with very little viewers 😔

  1. Pinned Tweet: If you have a big event coming up why not pin a tweet promoting your broadcast? Pinned tweets are a great for promoting events.
  2. Printed Collateral: It's highly likely that your school produces a wealth of printed collateral from magazines to newsletters. This is likely where most parents get their information about school events, provide them a link to your Twitter / Periscope channel. 
  3. Social Posts: Provide plenty of warning across your social networks that you are doing a broadcast. Planning is everything in building up a worthwhile audience for a broadcast. 

We are sure your school does a brilliant job as marketing as it is but these are just a few tips to promote your broadcasts 😃

Creating a Periscope Account

1. You can create a Periscope account downloading the app from the App Store or the Google Play Store

2. Sign in using your Twitter credentials. We recommend this as at will link to your Twitter profile. If you have multiple Twitter accounts on your device, you will be prompted to choose which one you want to sign up with. You must have the Twitter app on your mobile.

3. Your Twitter profile picture and bio will migrate over to your Periscope account. To change your photo, URL, bio or general info go to setting on your profile tab. We would recommend keeping your URL the same as your Twitter handle.

4. To start a broadcast, select the camera icon. Choose wether to share your location, share to Twitter and to enable / disable comments and questions. Give your broadcast a name.  

5. When your broadcast has finished you'll be presented with a number of options: 

  • Save To Camera Roll: This is a great idea for saving the broadcast footage and uploading it to YouTube later so the memories made are kept forever. Create a playlist on YouTube called 'Live Streams'.
  • Share: Instantly share the saved footage. 
  • Delete Broadcast: People can view broadcasts for up to 24 hours after they finish. If you'd prefer not to do this simply click delete broadcast
  • Comments Received: This can be really useful for schools. If a parent is asking questions during a 'virtual open day' on Periscope you can review the comments at the end and get in touch 😀

It's really that easy to use Periscope. The Twitter integration makes setting up your account a piece of cake 🍰. The broadcasts work by simply click record. It's that easy. 

 

Hopefully we have now given you everything you need to get out there and start doing some awesome broadcasts 😎

However if you would like to learn more about Periscope or would like some expert advice, please do get in touch with one of our social Jedi here at Interactive Schools.

We'd love to hear about what broadcasts you have done in your school below  😁

Job Hunting In the Digital Age - Reputation, Resumes & Video Interviews

Teachers and parents should play an important role in encouraging students to take their online reputations seriously.

Some employers actually track down the social media footprints of applicants, so if students are behaving inappropriately online, they could jeopardise their job prospects.

In order to help students make smarter choices online, teachers and parents should read up on reputation, resumes and video interviews in the digital age - and then they should make sure that the students within their spheres of influence understand what’s at stake. 

Online Reputation Matters

Three-quarters of recruiters are more than willing to go online to research job candidates, and seven in 10 have rejected candidates based on what they discovered online. So it’s important that students who are working towards their degrees know that their online reputations count for a lot.

Reputation-Building Tips

LinkedIn, an online social media site for professionals, is a must for students looking to build a solid online reputation. They can showcase their resume and look for work opportunities -- particularly since 89% of recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn.

Profiles 101

Personal profiles should be kept personal. In other words, they should be made available only to select people, they should not contain inappropriate content and they should not have usernames that are the same as the account holders’ real names. For professional profiles, students should include professional photos, use their real names as their username and stick to posting only industry-specific content.

Video Resume

In the digital age, it pays to have a video resume. Students should be encouraged to take advantage of video resumes to differentiate themselves from the majority of people who still do resumes the 'old fashioned way'.

Video Interviews

Many students are already familiar with Skype and similar video-chat applications, so it won’t be hard to get them to grasp the concept of participating in video interviews. Be sure to give them some pointers, though, on making the right impressions - from making eye contact to having good posture to dressing appropriately.

A lot is at stake for students in this digital age. But if they use technology responsibly, they’ll do just fine in leveraging the power of the Internet to get ahead in a competitive job market.

For more information on Job Hunting in the Digital Age, check out this infographic:

Advanced Facebook Tips for Schools

The question isn’t, ‘What do we want to know about people?’, It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?
— Mark Zuckerburg - Facebook CEO

A sprawling $300 billion giant with 1.6 billion users, Facebook is so much more than a social media network. 

"What do people want to tell about themselves" - What does your school want to tell the world?

Facebook is a machine and it's important to know the best methods to tell the world your school's story.

Facebook has been around for 12 years now! Although much has changed,  we all know the basics.

What you may not know, is some of the hidden, or latest features of Facebook. 

Here's how to set your school apart and become a Facebook expert :) 

Facebook Live

'Facebook Live' officially launched in August 2015 but in recent months the feature has been released across mobile, and really come to fruition. 

The feature has become increasingly popular and it's becoming a much more common sight in people's news feeds. 

The good news for schools? Your school can be one of the first to utilise Facebook Live. Your competitor's won't be using it 😉.

It's a fantastic tool to broadcast what's happening at your school, in real-time! 

Here are just some of the many examples of events you could live stream in your school: 

  • Sports Day - Live stream races. Absent parents could watch their child win their race from the office! 
  • Open Day - Live stream a tour of the school! Give the world a chance to attend an open day from the comfort of their own home! 
  • Christmas Show - Live stream the annual Christmas show! Make sure all the family get to see their child's performance. 
  • Classroom Streaming - If you have an exciting lesson planned, why not share it with the world? Show the world class educators at your school, to lure prospective parents to your school. 
  • Competition Results - Live stream the winner of the school raffle! 

Don't be one of the last schools to get involved with live streaming! Become one of the FIRST! 

To start a live broadcast:

 

  1. Log into the Facebook iOS app or Facebook Android app
  2. Tap at the top of your Timeline, News Feed or Page
  3. Tap the Live Icon (see photo above)
  4. Write an optional description for your broadcast
  5. Tap Go Live to begin your broadcast

When you want to end your broadcast, tap Finish (Your broadcast can be no longer than 90 minutes. When you end your broadcast, it'll stay on your Timeline or Page - just like any other video.).

Hot tips for Facebook Live: 

1. Tell people ahead of time when you're going to broadcast

2. Go live when you have a strong connection. This should be fine in most cases but if your school is situated in a rural location, check the connection beforehand. 

3. Write a compelling description before going live: A great description will capture your audience's attention and help them understand what your broadcast is all about. 

4.  Broadcast for longer periods of time to reach more people.

Instagram Integration

Back in 2012 Facebook expanded it's social 'empire' by completing the acquisition of Instagram. 

It is the 8th most popular social network in the world and is the fastest growing social network in the world

So just how popular is Instagram?

  • 400 million monthly active users
  • 41% users are aged between 16 and 24
  • 488 Instagram photos uploaded in 1 second
  • 90% of users are younger than 35
  • 14 million UK users
  • 64% of users are female in the UK

Why should I link Instagram to my Facebook page? 

  1. Promote your Instagram account: If you already have a big Facebook community, it's a perfect platform to promote your Instagram. Instagram is great for reaching out to your younger (13-30 years old) audience. 
  2. Easy cross-platform content: Instead of having to upload content twice, you can easily upload to multiple platforms from Instagram. 
  3. Filters and editing: By uploading your content via Instagram you will be able to use their filters and in-app editing tools

Not on Instagram? Check out our beginners guide to Instagram blog to get set up and ready to go! 

How do I link my Instagram to my Facebook page? 

  1. Log into your Instagram on mobile. Go to your profile page and click the settings icon in the top right corner.

2. Go down to linked accounts in settings. From here you will be able to link multiple social accounts to your Instagram. 

Facebook Insights

 

Facebook Insights is a powerful tool for tracking user interaction on your school's Facebook Page.

Facebook Insights can be seen by all the admins of your page and it can help you track the number of active users to better understand page performance.

To access insights simply add /insights to the end of your Facebook URL e.g www.facebook.com/example/insights

What Can I find out on Facebook Insights? 

1. Overview: This page is great for having a quick overview of your pages performance. Select up to 1 month to quickly review progress. You can export the information for quick printing. 

2. Likes: See a quick overview of your history of page likes. This is great for seeing your most popular periods for growing your community.

3. Views: This is so useful for schools understanding their community. You can view: age, gender, country, city, device, and even the source of the page visit.

Have a look at your Facebook Insights. You'll be amazed about the information you can learn about your Facebook community. 

Call To Action

The Call to Action (CTA) button is designed to bring a organisations’ most important objective to the forefront of its Facebook presence.

Call-to-action buttons link to any destination (on or off Facebook) that aligns with an organisations' goals.

The seven calls to action currently available are:

  1. Book Now
  2. Contact Us
  3. Use App
  4. Play Game
  5. Shop Now
  6. Sign Up
  7. Watch Video

For a school, the most popular call-to-action buttons will be either 'Book Now' or 'Contact Us'. If your school has a new video, this can be added as the call-to-action!

Creating a call-to-action button 

Schedule Posts

Did you know that you don't have to post to Facebook instantaneously? Since 2012, Facebook has given us the option to schedule posts.

Not many people know about this! 

It's a fantastic tool for planning your posts in bulk. This saves you having to post on busy days and let's you relax, and plan your posts in time. 

1. Start creating your post at the top of your Page's Timeline. Click the down arrow next to publish. Click 'Schedule' in the resulting drop-down menu.

2. Select a publish date. (Must be between 10 minutes and 6 months in the future).

It really is as easy as that to schedule your posts :) 

Backdate Posts

That's right!! With Facebook it's possible to travel back in time! 

Why would you want to travel back in time on Facebook? Since 2011 our Facebook profiles and pages have been based in a timeline structure.

The timeline feature allows us to document our life history, adding milestones and birthdays. We can do the same thing with school pages. 

By backdating posts and events, you can showcase the rich history of your school and all the big events:

  • Founding dates
  • Milestones in the development of your school 
  • Famous 'Alumni' graduations 
  • Albums of events 

Use the timeline feature to showcase the history of your school. It's likely your school has only had Facebook for 3 or 4 years -  but the school may have hundreds of years worth of history!

Every year from 1950 onwards should have at least ONE photo from that year.

Guess what your Alumni will do? They will go to the years they went to the school. And if that year has photos of pupils, that will strike a conversation.

  • "Who is the girl in the top left?"
  • "I wonder what Richard is doing now?"
  • "Sarah, is that you in the bottom row?!"

Your alumni will grow your reach for you. 

Backdate posts and showcase your impressive history :) 

It's really as easy as that to backdate your posts and create a rich history for your school on Facebook!  

CONGRATULATIONS! You're a real life Mark Zuckerberg!

If you would like further advice (or even social training) get in touch with one of our 'Social Jedi' here at Interactive Schools!

We're doing an enormous amount of INSET, and other training at schools for teachers, marketing departments, and leadership teams.

We would love to hear any thoughts/comments you have below.