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Liberty schools becoming social digitally

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POSTED: January 28, 2014 8:30 a.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

Ty-quise Brooks and Asia Jackson, Bradwell seniors in the school's work-based learning program work on the school district's web pages.

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The Liberty County School System, taking its cue from computer-savvy students, has redesigned its district website and will soon officially unveil the system’s new Facebook and Twitter pages.
Links to both pages can be found at the top of the liberty.k12.ga.us.
“We launched our new Liberty County School System webpage in June 2013,” said Cathy Lane, district technology specialist and social-media program supervisor. Lane acts as webmaster for the school system’s webpage, Facebook and Twitter pages, and individual schools’ webpages. Links to the system’s social-media pages were added last November, she said.
Lane said Dr. Patti Crane, the system’s executive director of technology, initially created the Facebook and Twitter pages last August, under the direction of John Lyles, assistant superintendent of operations. Lyles’ responsibilities include communications and public relations. He came on board with the school system late last summer. Crane also helps monitor the webpages, according to Lane.
“I have involved the rest of the instructional-technology team to try to build the live Twitter feed,” Lane said.
She said the team conducted a live Twitter feed during the most recent LCSS community forum and the system’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl in mid-January.
“You can see examples of those tweets if you look at the live Twitter feed on the Liberty County Schools webpage,” Lane said.
The social-media program supervisor said the team will post upcoming school events and share positive district news on the system’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
“We already have 42 people who are following our Twitter page and 116 people who have liked our Facebook page, and we haven’t even formally announced the pages yet,” she said. “Those are people who have found us.”
Lane describes the system’s Facebook page as “a business-type page that others can like and read from but cannot post to the wall.”
“We have set the Twitter page so that all outside tweets must be approved and re-tweeted by us before they post to our Twitter page,” she continued.
Lane said she, Lyles, Crane and Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services, “keep an eye” on the page and check for any potential problems.
“The students proof each other’s posts prior to making them, but I do have access to correct things if the need arises,” Lane said. “Twitter has been a bit of a challenge because it is impossible to control the hashtag (#) links that people post in tweets. Those allow people to create searchable feeds inside Twitter so that people can find posts that are on the same topic as something they are interested in. However, because of the nature of the hashtag, it is impossible to filter where those links take you if you continue to click on them. So, we have put a disclaimer on the Twitter page to remind people that clicking on hashtag links may take you to things that the Liberty County School System does not control or condone.”
Lane supervises the two students who participate on the system’s social-media team, Ty-quise Brooks and Asia Jackson. Brooks and Jackson are seniors at Bradwell Institute. Both are in the work-based learning program. Crane said these bright young people have taught her some of the latest technology trends.
“Of course, most students today are very familiar with social media, so we really don’t need to teach them how to post to Facebook and Twitter,” Lane said. “It is usually the other way around with them showing me how to do something. (Brooks and Jackson) are both very familiar with computers and word processing programs and they even have some experience with picture and movie-editing software. They are both hard workers and very resourceful. They have even found some good sites to share with students and parents concerning topics that are important to school-aged kids.”
Lane said school officials hope that by involving students on the social-media team, participation on school-system sites will spread to the rest of the student population.
Brooks said he and Jackson devote about 15 hours a week to the social-media team.
“I like it,” he said. “I’m getting paid to work on Twitter.”
Lane said in addition to assisting with webpages, the students eventually will help with the district’s evolving video-production capabilities.

 

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