Galax city schools sign in to social networking

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Students and parents can follow schools on Facebook and Twitter.


Social networking is on the rise in the Galax public school system, and not just among the students.
The new Twitter and Facebook pages for the school system have officially launched, and the division’s Facebook page already has more than 140 followers.
In a presentation at the Sept. 11 meeting, Galax Middle School Assistant Principal Derrick Spence gave school board members examples of what educators are hoping to accomplish through social media.
After a short video about Facebook’s impressive growth over the years, he switched the monitor view over to the Facebook page, where a photo of the board members seated around the desk at that night’s meeting had been posted only moments before.
Credit for this idea ultimately goes to Galax High School, which opened its Facebook page first, Spence said. The Galax City Public Schools page will encompass events from all of their schools, as will the new Twitter page.
The Facebook and Twitter pages are linked together, so Facebook users can see Twitter posts right on the Facebook timeline. Twitter is a fast way to post information using a mobile device, and Spence believes that it will be a particularly useful resource for quick updates and sports-related activities.
There will even be video clips posted to these pages, as Spence demonstrated with a video of a student using her iPad in class.
The Facebook page will be updated with school events, announcements and lots of photos. The children’s names will not be mentioned, and only students whose parents have signed a consent form will be allowed to have their pictures posted, Spence said.
The Twitter page will be a resource for education, as well. Spence has already set the page to follow feeds such as Education Week, The History Channel and iPad 4 Learning.
Spence showed through statistics that Twitter followers have the potential to climb faster as more people like and follow the pages.
With the current number of followers, Facebook’s data showed 30,000 potential viewers based on current followers’ buddy lists.
That number will grow exponentially as more “likes” are accumulated.
As Spence simply put it, “Facebook is everywhere.”
In April, the social network surpassed 900 million active users, according to CNN. As social networking has become more and more integrated into society, it has become an important part of social interaction, business, networking and education.
Access the Facebook and Twitter pages for Galax City Public Schools can be found on the school website: www.gcps.k12.va.us.

In other action, the board:
• approved an overnight trip to Washington D.C. for the National Junior Honor Society students.
• learned that Southwest Virginia Governor’s School was approved for a grant for a full-day increase feasibility study.
• awarded a dental insurance increase of 5 percent to employees.
• learned that track and field lighting upgrades are nearing completion.