Web Development Thread, New school website ideas? in Coding and Web Development; Hi All,
I have just come out of a very long, mostly boring, marketing strategy meeting.
My topics of discussion ...
23rd March 2010, 11:00 AM #1
New school website ideas?
I have just come out of a very long, mostly boring, marketing strategy meeting.
My topics of discussion were how we could freshen up our school's website by getting a professional designer to get involved and to ensure it is updated on a regular basis.
Also I mentioned creting a twitter account so we could inform parents of events and also let them know via something like feed burn (?) that the website has been updated.
So I am after anyone else's experience lately of these sort of issues and if getting a professional in helped?
23rd March 2010, 11:16 AM #2
It very much depends on experience and skills within your school.
Here we have decided to go for the professional solution having undergone a thorough overhaul of our marketing strategy. Until the end of last year, I was doing all our publicity work, but as the job grew, I just couldn't fit it in and asked to drop it. It never was part of my job description, I got the job because I knew how to layout the ads for the publication and am good at putting spin on news to interest the local papers. We have now recruited someone who job is the marketing (2 days a week) and I oversee.
Our website is very tired and is being re-designed as we speak. The skill set here meant that getting the edugeek joomla package off the ground wasn't an option in the end.
We will have an RSS feed on the front page of the new site. At present we are using twitter and it is very effective. It is used for all sorts of announcements, such as today's "Swimming cancelled", last week's announcment of how much we raised for Readathon and the snow closure messages round Christmas.
I think we will contuinue to use twitter as our parents like it. Not everyone has a twitter account to follow us, but many have simply bookmarked our page. It's free, so we may as well continue with it. I have noticed that the local newspapers have started following our feeds, so I am quick to get "good news" announcements on there!
We also use ParentMail for parent communication.
TBH no one method is perfect, so having a variety means you are more likely to keep the parents informed.
Thanks to elsiegee40 from:
reggiep (23rd March 2010)
23rd March 2010, 02:59 PM #3
Can anyone suggest any school websites they have or have seen that stand out in what the do and how they do it?
23rd March 2010, 03:03 PM #4
23rd March 2010, 05:19 PM #5
Another freebie we've been using is photos on google maps/earth.
We have a school Panoramio - Photos of the World account and have submitted photos of the school and places in the locality that don't yet feature...
Those looking at the photos through google maps will see that the photos were taken by Our School and the web link is to our school website
In our case, some keen staff photographers have set it up. In secondaries, it might be an appropriate project for Art A Level students, a club or an Extension Activity
23rd March 2010, 08:25 PM #6
[warning - Wall of text]
I feel that we have a pretty decent website. I use Joomla and it's actually full of customs scripts for our not-so-computer savvy staff. Such as, I have a shared drive on using active directory (the W: drive) for each staff member, that w: drive is mapped to a folder on the web server that is displayed under that teachers staff page as Shared Documents. I found this to be a very very simple way for staff to share files with the world. I also have a php script that pulls information from an excel spread and displays it in the Educators section of the site. This is great for a secretary who updates a Sub list so the staff can always see the most recent sub list.. Simple ideas, but functional.
Instead of having individual schools for our site (as our k-12 is small) our site targets PARENTS - STAFF - STUDENTS. this sounds obvious, but you'll notice many district/school sites don't target students or don't target staff.
I've also found the hardest part of maintaining our website (and we're very very small compared to most districts) is getting the staff from all areas to forward information to be placed on the website. When events will happen, when events are canceled, when testing starts or stops, sports scores, sports schedules, administrative files, employment information, photos, etc.. That's the hard part.. Because I personally don't think a full time employee could gather all the information daily that needs to be updated keep the site interesting and current. Then there's the School Board meeting info and the policy changes and of course I'm always the last to know about Bus route changes..
Anyhow, I think the site is a wonderful thing if it's updated daily by one person, but that information must come from all of the staff. Their job is to provide info and use it themselves , your job to copy/paste the info and maintain/backup the server. That's how I view it.
24th March 2010, 08:51 AM #7
One I have seen that stands out is Christ Church C of E Primary School, Hanham | HomePage
Clearly someone spends a LOT of time on developing and keeping it up to date.
Originally Posted by reggiep
27th March 2010, 08:34 AM #8
27th March 2010, 09:34 AM #9
Some websites look good - some are good
You need to decide what your website is for Publicity/Attract new pupils/parents, logistical Information to exisiting pupil/parents or celebration/reporting of events in the school.
I've a small school that is over-subscribed that has know need to attract new pupils so the website is simply a celebration of what the pupils do/information repositry for parents (Holiday dates - upcoming events etc).
I've got another school with falling roles where the headteacher is using the website as part of the stragetgy to boost intake by showing all the awards they get and the wonderful things happening at the school.
I've another school, that to be frank, seems to want to keep the parents at arm's length (answerphone type school) and uses the website to as a communication route with copies of ALL letters home and don't really use it to celebrate childrens work.
Now if you need publicity to attract new pupils/parents - then a professional designed website might be considered value for money but if you don't and just need one for communication/celebration then practically anything will do (as per speckytechy's link )
IMO - the best way to communicate electronically with parents, at the moment, is via SMS but it costs
Thanks to SimpleSi from:
speckytecky (27th March 2010)
27th March 2010, 10:08 AM #10
My schools site is an e4education site - its really good and there admin interface is really good.
Originally Posted by marshharrier
you can see ours from clicking on the school name <<
27th March 2010, 07:38 PM #11
- Rep Power
I think a blog about the school and other related educational documents can really attract traffic from Google. Need to set up one myself at some point but trying to make something that integrates nicely is where the times going to be I think.
Oh also don't forget to have your front page updating by some sort of automated feed process (perhaps the last ten blog entries). This will let google know you actually update it and it's not just stale.
1st April 2010, 09:29 AM #12
The problem with professional web companies is because they know you need it they charge you a fortune. We were quoted £25k for changing this site Untitled Document and we just cant justify that. However that was for a content management system too.
If you can do it yourself, go for it, because you have overall control of its layout. We bought this site in years ago and its so tightly packed there is no room for anything new.
1st April 2010, 10:07 AM #13
I feel your pain.
Originally Posted by jmair
Our site was recently broken down page by page and responsibility for it's content handed out to the relevant people. I.E. if page X is out of date, it's person Y's fault.
This resulted in a big push of updates for a couple of weeks, but in the last couple of months has died down to nothing again. Not even all the letters that get sent home to parents are sent to me for the site!
1st April 2010, 11:37 AM #14
I have recently completed a redesign of our website which was looking a bit tired. I've tried to make the regular updates as easy as possible, hence there is a twitter feed on the front page in a widget from a website called WidgetBox.
Also, our main news pages, and sports pages, are actually an embedded Wordpress blog. This means that we can give over control of these elements to non-technical staff who can do most of the updating themselves, without risking destroying the whole website!
Take a look at: Mascalls Website
PS - It looks pretty rubbish in IE6, but I've been keeping an eye on our stats and only 4% of our visitors still use it so I'm not going to make too much of an effort to sort it out.
1st April 2010, 11:50 AM #15
That site is absolutely lifting! I mean, it is seriously a design nightmare. It might be kept up to date but it's a horrible site to look at.
Originally Posted by speckytecky
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