A new journey in education

YouTube as your schools social platform?

with 9 comments

My school used to develop and maintain its own website, recently the boss decided he wanted to change to the NSW DET’s hosted service. This website services service pre-populates the site with all the relevant DET policies and news as they happen to change or be modified which removes the need for the school to maintain such links and documents.

My boss’s reason for joining the DET provided service was to be able to communicate and connect with our school community better. He believes that the service will provide any easier way for the school to do this. This came about during the budget process where the bill for three terms of SMS messaging to parents came to $6,000 plus with a term to go. The SMS service is used mainly for absences and lateness to school and was demanded by our school community some years ago. Since the boss started two years ago he has also used the service to publicise events at school and the release date of the school newsletter online.

With the preview version of the site available to me I was asked to start adding content and looking at ways the school can push notifications of events at school for free via the site. Currently the website service does not have RSS which would be the easiest way to push information without the community visiting the site. Getting traffic to a school website is hard. With our previous version I used to run Google Analytics, the only times there were spikes in views was when a job at the school was available or after a video was posted.

So having added the latest newsletter and images from the last significant event at the school I went looking how to add all the video that we had. It turns out that the school has to embed video from a hosted service like YouTube or Vimeo. This surprised me, as students in the DET system are not able to view or access such web services. Having noted this I immediately asked the boss if it was okay to set up a school account on YouTube. He promptly said yes and to send him the login details having done so.

So now my school has a YouTube channel currently with one video available here

So in setting up the channel something dawned on me, you can push notifications via YouTube! YouTube allows you to push notifications to subscribers, friends, and your channel in a manner like Twitter or Facebook.

Could this be the notification system we were looking for? I think it is and I’ll tell you why.

When I have spoken to parents here about being notified about school activities they all say one thing, “why doesn’t the school use Facebook”. When you start to explain the DET policies on social media there eyes roll back in their heads and their just pretending to listen.

Facebook announced this week that its mobile service increased to 200 million users in the past year. I can tell from first hand experience that many of these are my students. Every kid in Western Sydney is on Facebook and checks their status or news stream in your class. They keep in touch with their parents the same way, as it is cheaper to do so then SMS.

So how does YouTube fit in? Well it is a social platform which people can follow, your channel can push out to other platforms like Facebook or Twitter as well as be added to the RSS of your own website.

My idea is this, the Boss, DP’s, HT’s and other folks who need to get information out to parents before a newsletter comes out or is ignored on the expensive SMS service simply posts to the schools YouTube channel. This once uploaded it is pushed out to anyone who has subscribed, befriends or looked at the channel. Obviously this would work better if the school had a Facebook where you can push you’re YouTube updates. This I believe becomes the schools sudo social network filling the void of push notification that schools are suffering from.

As well as posting to YouTube the video would be added to the schools website for those who don’t have YouTube accounts.

May be I’m dreaming, but I am going to write a proposal for the boss and see if this can work.

What are you’re thoughts on this idea or do you have successful tails of what your school has achieved in notifying parents via web sites or other technologies? I really would like to hear.

Written by themolisticview

November 6th, 2010 at 6:44 am

9 Responses to 'YouTube as your schools social platform?'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'YouTube as your schools social platform?'.

  1. So clarifying for myself, when you update the school website to say add a newsletter, you also add a video to youtube and anyone who is subscribed to your channel gets alerted by various means to go to YouTube, where I assume you’ll have a link to a PDF of the newsletter? Is your target audience parents or students? While students have a strong take up of latest connection tools, what’s the parent situation?

  2. Not so much for newsletters as I see them as out dated forms of information, I would rather see a blog streaming relevant news then the current print/pdf version of a newsletter. I am thinking of a more interactive model, more live a TV broadcast from school by the people who need to get the information out fast and have it noticed.
    In the Western Sydney area especially St Clair, if it does not happen on Facebook people wont know about. Facebook is the new word of mouth for this community. It comes with their phones and costs little for it’s users unlike if they go over their SMS limits. Now YouTube is not Facebook as YouTube notifies it’s users via email or on their YouTube page, but schools cannot use Facebook or Twitter currently in an official capacity.As i said in the post, I see YouTube as a sudo social network for schools, not the total solution but rather a starting place which we are able to access and use.


    6 Nov 10 at 7:05 am

  3. “…but schools cannot use Facebook or Twitter currently in an official capacity.” – Really? I know of DET schools with a Twitter account. Providing its used appropriately and moderated, I would argue it can be used, but you’d have to get around the filter (3G?). I’ll ask Legal.

  4. I have asked our SED in relation to social media. She has clearly explained that it is against DET policy for a school to have an official Facebook or Twitter account. However there are some schools that do have them on the side operated by staff of the school. this leads to the question “how much do you like your job?” because if the DET find out or take offence they can terminate you’re employment quickly and it would be a media event as well.


    6 Nov 10 at 7:35 am

  5. If the Queen can do it…


    8 Nov 10 at 12:26 pm

  6. Nice try Simon! I think that the Queen is a little out of our league. I would like to see it happen though so I am going to keep trying 🙂


    8 Nov 10 at 12:31 pm

  7. Simon, have you given the Queen a poke yet?

  8. Hi Warrick,

    Clearly I don’t check your blog nearly as regularly as I should but I really like the idea. I’ll give it a whirl with some of the Drama stuff next year. Have a good Chrissy.


    24 Dec 10 at 3:51 am

  9. The more creative we can get the better I think Karla. So the more the merrier IMHO. Make sure you subscribe and/or friend our channel.

    Happy Holidays 🙂


    24 Dec 10 at 4:11 am

Leave a Reply