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School Websites.

Started by Catriona Pene 29 Aug 2012 10:24am () Replies (19)

I am interested to hear what schools are using as the platform for their school website. The school I have just left was using Iweb which is no longer supported and is looking to reinvent their website. 

What are you using and what is the cost involved? Are you using outside expertise or is it run by staff members? Looking forward to your response. Laughing

Replies

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 31 Jul 2013 4:46pm ()

    Here's an interesting reading to add to this mix, from Mal Lee, who specialises in future schooling in a networked age: 

    "Every school’s website provides a telling insight into where it sits on the international school evolutionary continuum.

    Within minutes those conversant with the school evolutionary stage indicators – as discussed in the last post – can obtain an insight into the school’s current position.

    Possibly unwittingly your website invariably provides all interested a window to the school’s workings.

    Vitally it also provides an excellent insight into the school’s leadership’s thinking.

    Have you looked lately at the message – intended and unintended – your school website communicates?"

    Read the full post here: http://schoolevolutionarystages.net/?p=85

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 19 Sep 2012 8:11pm ()

    Thanks Jane for your input and Valay for your questions. I guess I am realising there is no "one size fits all" answer to school websites but rather it is a case of knowing your community and constantly re-evaluating how connected you are.  I look forward to hearing more success stories and sharing more questions around how to develop and use to best advantage our school's web presence.

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 07 Sep 2012 12:58pm ()

    Hi Valay,

    It can be challenging to engage busy parents at times. When making those connects I have found success by encouraging students to share what they are doing with their parents via blog posts and inviting their parents to engage with/comment on their child's learning via commenting on a blog. This provides a genuine context for engaging and supports student learning while also engaging parents.

    How do you share your newsletter? Is it online as a blog? In this way parents can comment or question events or actions in the school. There is a story you might find useful - Developing a paperless newsletter describing what happens at Russell St School. 

    And a final thought - have you thought about investigating using social media tools such as twitter to engage your parents? Many may not have the Internet at home but possibly a lot more have cellphones. There are some school stories which might be of interest to you on Enabling e-Learning on the Social media page. In particular you might find this recent EDtalk useful where Rachel, DP and elearning leader at Waiuku Primary School, shares how she has used Facebook and Twitter to engage with her school community.

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 07 Sep 2012 12:42pm ()

    Kia ora Michelle,

    When I was teaching at Bellevue School we did the same thing that you are in the process of doing now. We selected Spike@School because of the learning caves and also because of the support provided by Spike. I have been gone from the school for three years now but the learning caves are still being used. These can be public or private. An example is here http://www.bellevue-newlands.school.nz/4067/learning_cave_sets/115-gardening-learning-caves.

    As time moves on though there are always more tools that can be used and I think free definitely has  advantages. If I was going through the process again I would seriously look at using Hapara. This is way more than a website as its education management platform for Google Apps. You get all the free google apps but with an extra layer of student management.

  • Valay Raman (View all users posts) 07 Sep 2012 12:29pm ()

    We have tried this about 5 years ago without much success to date. We put in a special forum page for these discussions to take place. Lots of advertising and effort went into advertising our website to parents.  We have a massive sign at the front of the school advertising our website. Most of the parent teacher discussions on our website were teacher driven. “What do you think about our radio station?” We had very few parent responses. Why?  I would like to know how to solve this issue.

     www.finlaysonpark.school.nz

     

          

  • Michelle Simms (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2012 8:32pm ()

    Hi Catriona and Lindsey,

    I am right in the middle of updating our website with SpikeatSchool.  So far I have found them fantastic to work with.  Brendon even recommended a panorama app so I could take a better photo of our school.  We are currently with Schoolgate but they cost more to host the site than SpikeatSchool.  With Schoolgate we had the option to send them content to put on the site but our principal was doing most of it.  If you needed more help they might be a better option.  SpikeatSchool is more hands on as once the template is set up you have to maintain it yourself.

    I reviewed our current site before I started and it has too much text, too many tabs and some outdated information.  Our school has made the commitment to have me looking after the website for a few hours each week so they want more current info and more student work showcased.

  • Lindsey (View all users posts) 31 Aug 2012 4:01pm ()

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for the feedback on KiwiSchools, this is one of the companies that net safe had recommended to us that we have been looking at using. They also recommended: 

    http://www.spikeatschool.co.nz/

    Not sure if is helpful to have another company to look at. They also only do schools.

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 31 Aug 2012 2:45pm ()

    Hi Michelle, that is great information thanks! One great advantage I see in going with something like Kiwi Schools is that as it is hosted offsite and run by an external organisation it will hve longevity even when there are staff or management changes in a school.

    Thanks again : )

  • Michelle Kerr (View all users posts) 31 Aug 2012 2:41pm ()

    Hi Catriona,

    The school I am currently with plus the previous two schools I was at use KiwiSchools as their school website platform.  I have been involved with KiwiSchools for around 8 years now and have always found them excellent to work with.  Yes there is a cost to set up the website and then an ongoing yearly cost to run it but I have always found this to be worthwhile for the ease of use.  The cost is based on your school roll and the set up costs depend on what type of design you choose. What I like about it is it is professional looking, you can make adapations easily to the site with a simple phonecall or email and it is able to be updated and managed by teachers with basic computing skills.  Staff can be given different rights which allows them to fully administer or just access their blogs which are part of the package.  Class blogs can have RSS feeds attached for those that wish to follow and links to facebook and twitter can be embedded into the front page. You can look at some of the sites they have created and pricing information on their website at http://www.kiwischools.co.nz/

    I know some schools are going towards using Google Sites and Word Press as their websites and I have seen some great professional looking ones and some that look downright horrible andunappealling.  I guess the question is if there is someone at school who has the skills to develop and maintain a free site so that it looks professional of if some assistance is required by the use of a paid site.  If someone is able to develop a free site, what would happen to that site if that person left or are there many people with the skills to maintain it/

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 31 Aug 2012 10:01am ()

    Hi Tamara - thanks for sharing, what a gorgeous website and you are right this website truly does draw you in and reflect a very vibrant, positive, varied school environment. I am interested to see your website still running as I scrolled down and saw that it was iWeb, do you know how the school are hosting it now? I love how the facebook and twitter links are fed into the front page, ensuring there is a link between these valuable parent contact points.

    Hey Moana, great question!  I must admit to great frustration when searching for exemplars of great school websites to find the large number out there which have been set up and then not updated regularly. One of the greatest challenges is to put in place procedures to maintain a dynamic online space - like the VLN!

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