Since the year is getting rolling now, you may be thinking of ways to send information and success stories home with your students. Why make paper newsletters that might go home every week, but never get read? Why not make something more engaging?
I’m always on the lookout for fresh ways to share classroom content. Here are some quick ways to revamp your classroom, or campus, e-newsletter:
- Smore – If you simply want your current newsletter to look better, then Smore is for you. Smore offers beautifully designed templates that let you create your e-newsletter very quickly. You can then publish via email or social media or post on your teacher or campus website. Smore can track who opens the email and works seamlessly on all devices. The educator’s version is $59/year, which is very reasonable for unlimited flyers.
- Blog – With a blog in Blogger, Weebly, or Wordpress, to name a few, you can easily create an ongoing series of posts that beat out print any day of the week. The benefit of going digital is that people can get your content via email, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and any other social media platform that allows you to craft an IF This Then That (IFTTT) recipe. You can embed content (like video, audio, and images) into each blog entry to make it more engaging, and you can also schedule when it will appear online. What’s more, you can grab the RSS feed for the blog and feed it into a mobile app that parents can view on the go. View an example.
- YouTube – Create a YouTube channel and combine all your news into a video broadcast. There are lots of possibilities here and engagement is easy. View an example
- Touchcast – Touchcast, a free, powerful iPad app, allows you to blend news broadcasts, websites, and more, including green screen, into an easy-to-use interface that will have you looking like the person on the evening news. You end up with a video e-newsletter that you can publish via Touchcast or share on YouTube. View an example
- LucidPress – This is a nice tool that allows you to blend video, audio, and text in a multi-page format. Unfortunately, unlike the other options mentioned, it costs money. View an example.
- Microsoft Sway – Sway is a powerful tool for e-newsletter creation that allows you to blend audio, video, and more into a rolling view that works on any device. View an example.
- Office Mix – Take a Powerpoint slide show and organize it like a newsletter, then share it online with MS Powerpoint Online so anyone can view it. Use Office Mix to add audio narration and interactive quizzes to keep the reader engaged, as well as make content viewable as a movie.
Of course, these seven ideas are all powerful alternatives to creating a paper newsletter. But what happens when you need something you can print for the people who don’t know what to do with digital content, something that can also be viewed online via a mobile device or on a computer? One response to this question is the eighth and final tip for creating an e-newsletter: Google Slides.
Google Slides makes it possible to easily embed video from YouTube, images, text, and more. It can be visually attractive on the printed page as well as on your mobile device. What’s more, you can embed it on your website or blog so that it can be viewed at the appropriate size or full-screen.
You can see what that looks like in the examples shown below:
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