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New School Website

Cluster Goal:

  • Family and whanau to actively participate in their child’s learning

 Year Level

All levels

Cluster Type

We are a year 3 ICTPD cluster comprising three remote schools, Twizel Area School, Aoraki Mt Cook Primary School and Lake Tekapo Primary School. Twizel Area School serves a student population ranging from new entrants to Year 13, has 14 teaching staff members and nearly 200 students.

Context

Twizel Area School’s current website is outdated, does not provide for any feedback from the school community and is very rarely viewed by students and their families as a mean of information or communication. To encourage meeting the goal of “Family and Whanau to actively participate in their child’s learning”, it was seen by the writer that the revamping of the school website could help the school community have more involvement in their students learning.

Research and Intentions

Firstly the content on the current website needed a complete overhaul, getting rid of old information and ensuring that all content was current. The writer started re-creating the school website back in October 2011.  At that stage, Dreamweaver was used and the content was updated to reflect current practices and requirements at the school. The website was however, still a static website, created only for the purpose of informing those who visited the site of current school information. There were problems attempting to get the new website uploaded to the school server and ISP provider and it got shelved whilst these were looked at.

In March 2012, the website was relooked at with a view of using a more interactive medium. Wordpress was perceived to be a good alternative to the static Dreamweaver version created in 2011. Wordpress acts as a blog, allows feedback from viewers and can easily have interactive content added for example, slideshows and surveys. The website was recreated again using the updated content from last year and new pages were created in Wordpress. There is now the ability for office staff, the principal and other authorised persons to upload content regularly and post happenings within the school. There is also the opportunity for students and parents to provide feedback via comments on posts etc. The website also has links for interested parties to link to all of the junior schools wikis and blogs, encouraging more views and comments on these sites as well.

Impact on students/teachers/whanau

As the new Wordpress website is not currently activated (due to technical issues), there is no family/whanau feedback or impact yet. The writer expects the technical issues to be resolved within the next week or two and then the new website will be unveiled to the parents via the TAN (school daily newsletter). It will encourage parents to view the site, bookmark or RSS feed the pages that interest them and encourage parents to give feedback on posts and pages.

However, some students have been given the opportunity to view the new school website and compare it to the current site that is available. The students were asked their comments and below are some:

“I didn’t know we had a school website”, “I like the new one, it has got better colours”, “I like the idea that we can see things that have just happened”, “the slideshows are good”, “I think my Mum would like the news page to see what’s happening”, “when will it be available”.

The writer will take the opportunity of getting more comments from students when the website becomes available to the public.

Links to actual reflection

The writer believes that the new school website, once the school community has been introduced to it, will enhance communication between family and whanau and inform them of what is currently happening at school. The writer believes that the more the school community is informed of school happenings and communication is regular and relevant, the greater involvement the family and whanau will have in their child’s learning, therefore embracing the cluster goal.

Links to classroom practice

Obvious links are easily located wikis and blogs for parents (and teachers and students in other rooms), students can view the site to see upcoming events, information about school trips etc and important notices (weather issues or other important happenings).