Google, Skype Present at McGraw-Hill’s Social Media Week Showcase
In an effort to embrace new technology, textbook company McGraw-Hill recently hosted a discussion with social media companies Google and Skype to discuss the potential benefits of combing social media and higher education.
The event kicked off this year’s Social Media Week, an annual international conference dedicated to exploring trends in social and mobile media.
Representatives from other educational social media networks attended the discussion, including companies Unigo, Symbaloo Edu, Campus Live, Knewton, Jatched and Grade Guru. The event, titled “Innovation Showcase: Social Media for Higher Education”, highlighted various new social media sites designed to help college students, with the overall goal of improving graduation rates by increasing student engagement via social media. The event was hosted by Emily Sawtell, founder of Grade Guru, a McGraw-Hill education start-up that allows college students to share their notes from various courses.
“From Grade Guru, students work together and share study material and time-management tips, contribute to ratings and peer review and receive feedback on study methods,” Sawtell said. “So it’s sort of like a school community class.”
The event also featured social media site Unigo, a site that allows students to submit videos, documents and photos of their school so prospective candidates can decide if a particular university is right for them.
“It’s a guideline for students when they are applying to colleges — especially for seniors when they are graduating from high school,” said founder and CEO of Unigo, Jordan Goldman. “The applicant will see it from the student point of view by watching videos, and asking a tour guide questions about the school.” Prospective students are then able to make the decision themselves if a certain school is the right environment for them, instead of listening to what school administers have to say.
Skype and Google Apps for education were discussed. Skype, a free program, allows everyone to make voice calls over the Internet. It’s known for its popular features such as instant messaging and video conferencing. The software is excellent for classrooms, study groups, tutoring sessions, interviews for college admissions and connecting with people who you haven’t seen for a period of time.
Google Apps for Education is also free software that allows schools to have email, calendars, online documents and site sharing for students and other users. Other networks affiliated with Google such as Gmail.com, Google Docs, and Google Video helps the campus to communicate more effectively.
“We bring new potential and productivity to your campus while improving your students, technological skills, reducing ID cost, and ensuring the security of school and student data,” said Ronald Ho, a Google representative. “Everyone is connected to each other, no matter what platform or device you can use and the security is 99.9 percent effective. We have phone, email, and customer support when you need it.” #
Dominique Carson, a student at Brooklyn College, is an intern at Education Update.