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August 10, 2009

SchoolRack Advocates Social Media Helps Students Perform Better

By Vivek Naik, TMCnet Contributor

SchoolRack reportedly announced that outside the classroom students significantly benefit when teachers initiate social media type Web postings because students get the latest, accurate and most relevant information.
Company officials claim this method allows parents to get actively involved by providing a support system for the students as well as teachers since everyone involved are unambiguously brought on the same page.
SchoolRack said its latest solution – which has many free online tools – was released just last week, and helps teachers to post documents, grades, syllabus, and assignments on the Web and also conduct live online chat sessions. It was designed to actively bring parents into the student and teacher interaction for better interaction and to help in improving grades.
The timing of the release is synchronized with new trends, which illustrate the ways companies are conjuring business opportunities by targeting widgets and social networks due to: an exponentially increasing Internet usage and dependency; a high percentage of people turning to social networks to communicate, recommend and seek advice; and widgets gaining in-desktop prominence for continuous updates.
The popularity and success of social media can also be gauged from the phenomenal usage of Facebook (News - Alert). Further evidence is provided by the fact that there are specific Web spaces that leverage social networking recommendations for the hospitality industry, the travel industry, and for pubs. One particular social networking application provides users a common single social ID that delivers most social networks and popular online chat tools to one common ID on the screen of a user’s mobile handheld device.
“School administrators are starting to realize the tremendous potential of social media in the classroom,” said Artia Moghbel, founder and CEO of SchoolRack. “The number of registered users at SchoolRack more than tripled this past school year.”
SchoolRack’s CEO, who was recently voted one of America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs in BusinessWeek Magazine, claims that major reasons for the popularity of SchoolRack’s Web offerings are that all are easy to use, even for a first timer, and most of the apps are absolutely free. Schools have understood the need for embracing virtualization and cloud computing technologies, but are severely constrained by lack of adequate resources to buy priced packages from larger organizations, and so eagerly turn to SchoolRack’s equally effective free tools.
In terms of Web based schooling solutions, a recent survey of technology leaders of kindergarten through to grade 12 (K-12) educational institutions at the recently held 2009 Consortium of School Networking Conference, known as CoSN, and its main finding was that 80 percent of respondents were interested in desktop virtualization as an implementable solution in school classrooms.
The survey revealed that: more than 45 percent of respondents wanted delivery of applications and resources to the right students at the right time; more than 43 percent desired simple delivery of semester, quarter or course-based instructional applications and resources; and, 42 percent of respondents demanded reduction of IT costs by extending the lifecycle of existing hardware; and, 42 percent preferred if IT personnel had more time to work on other projects.
SchoolRack claims that a recent survey by Associated Press discovered that half of Americans think that schools do a fair to poor job preparing students for college and the workforce, and said according to the U.S. Department of Education, learning improves when teachers increase communication. SchoolRack opines that the best way of communication outside the classroom is via social media.

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Vivek Naik is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Vivek's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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