GoEnnounce delivers a new way for schools to teach and reinforce digital citizenship. Using this beautifully designed application, students can track, save, and share their academic and extracurricular progress with family, friends, and advisers. They can highlight awards and accomplishments, post updates, showcase school work, and even raise money for school-related activities.
Below is a video interview with Melissa Davis, the founder of GoEnnounce, along with notes from our conversation.
Q: What was the motivation for starting GoEnnounce?
It started as a graduate announcement platform that was created by me and my sister when she was graduating from college. It eventually become an online way for kids to announce their graduations to friends and family for free. Kids love it because they can talk about all of their accomplishments and plans, and friends and family spend a lot of time on the student's page because they can make comments in a private setting that is different from all the social media options.
We discovered that kids are on social media throughout the day, but they aren't leveraging it to build connections with their network of family and friends. These people can provide valuable feedback and resources to help students pursue their goals. We envisioned a year-round Linked-in space for a wider range of students besides just graduates.
Q: What are the features of GoEnnounce that resonating most with school leaders and with students?
At first we really believed this platform was going to take off like the next Instagram. But that didn't happen--at least not yet. We did notice, however, that students were inviting their teachers to participate, and then the teachers would ask if they could use GoEnnounce to teach digital citizenship (i.e., preparing students by teaching them appropriate online behavior and responsible use with technology). The teachers also wanted curriculum to guide instruction in this area.
So we worked for about a year with a couple of companies to build curriculum around the app, and tweaked the platform so that it met the needs of schools and districts from a portfolio perspective. It has become a student-centric tool for administrators, teachers, and students.
Digital citizenship is becoming a higher priority, with more states and districts requiring this curriculum to be included. But another issue that GoEnnounce helps resolve is cyber-bullying and other social media problems that administrators and teachers inevitably have to address. We're actually able to change the conversation about social media--in a much more effective way than existing digital citizenship curriculum--developing a more positive attitude about it and equipping students to use it productively. Our curriculum is actually cool and interactive, which helps them relate better. When they're using GoEnnounce we're able to cover all of the key topics associated with digital citizenship but in an engaging way.
Q: Did I also see that GoEnnounce has a fundraising feature for students?
Yes, that was a feature that was included from the beginning, providing a way to help family and friends support the goals of the student pay for classes, clubs, test prep, college application, mission trips, etc. Funds and fundraising can be an inhibitor for some kids to participate and we wanted to fix that. We help students become a self-advocate and empower them in pursuing their dreams.
If you're looking for an engaging way to teach digital citizenship to your students, GoEnnounce is definitely worth a closer look.