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Functions of an ideal school website

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Schoolulike, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Can anyone help? I soon have a meeting with the head and ICT manager about the school site.
    I really want to state the importance of a good school website.
    Below are what I believe to be the most important functions of a school website;
    1 A school website should be a means by which the school can communicate to parents, the local community and other users of school information.
    2 School websites should provide a function to educate pupils and parents and be especially fun to use.
    3 The website should be used as a medium to inform parents about the basics of their children's education and information about the school - Disclosure should be made in a simple understandable manner, in basic English so parents don't need to become educationalists to understand the fundamentals of education.
    4 Information disclosure on the website should be informative enough to be used by potential new teachers and pupils - The school strengths can be disclosed on the website.
    5 It is a means by which the school can embrace and celebrate its past, present and future.
    6 The school can disclose on the website the direction in which it has come from, it currently stands and the aims for its future.
    7 The school website is an information disclosure vehicle to create closer links to the local community and beyond.
    Can anyone add to these?
    Have I missed anything?
     
  2. As you are running a business charging schools for advice on how to improve their websites how much are you going to be paying the people who may contribute on this forum with information and ideas that can be included in your reports.
     
  3. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

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  5. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    VLEs have largely superseded school websites as educational tools, because VLEs can be tied into the existing ICT network, thus avoiding the repetition of uploading resources to the school's website host.

    Speaking as one who designed, set up, then hosted my school's website for around seven years, we started out trying to offer all the whistles and bells, but following the arrival of Uniservity the website rapidly became a simple online advertisment for the school, incorporating the prospectus and standard information for parents. The redesign and running of the site were farmed out to a local company, and the content was managed by the school's admin staff using Contribute (or similar). I was more than happy to wave goodbye to the Site Manager role by then, as all it consisted of was reformatting standard info documents into HTML format.

    Anyone capable of adding a file to the school's Public drive can contribute to a VLE, so the whole process has become completely de-skilled. School website providers should focus on smart design and functionality for what is basically an online advert, and leave the educational content to those who manage and populate the VLE.
     
  6. While I share and agree completely with your regards to VLE's I do not however fully agree with you remark about being de-skilled. Thinking outside the box can be the key to a very good school website and can attract many &lsquo;unexpected visitors' - ex pupils, members of the local community, local press, the list goes on and on.... (school website copy cats?)

    Is it not &lsquo;a' role of the school to communicate to the outside world, especially now a days in this wonderful internet world? (you have touched on this point by mentioning the website as an advertisement tool) Especially as most users of the VLE enter via the school website anyway, but of course most parents (and other users) would only view the school website. It has been stated (and is well known) that many parents know very little about their child's education, the school site can &lsquo;educate' parents and most of all it should be FUN to use for all! How many schools have the time to make their school site fun?
    In regards to your specific point of spending a great deal of time developing the site and updating it you will see from the information in our reports what can be done with much limited time and resources. Our reports detail recommendations for improvements to a school site and the &lsquo;adding' of the recommendations can be done in a time efficient manner. Also the very nature of the additional information to be included on the site and disclosed by the school and the thought process behind the communication of information can make the exercise very time efficient. We help schools really &lsquo;think' about how the site can paint a good picture of the school and how other simple cost effective methods of communication of school information can be used - again detailed in our reports. At no cost in many cases, in very little time.
    Much of the information is already held by the school for existing reporting purposes (again you touched on this). This along with the possibility of interacting the school website with pupil's studies (VLE does this nowadays?!) and the involvement of parents (for instance) can make the site fun and can entice many return visitors to the site. The school can also generate funds (I dare not say income) from the school website.
    The very nature of some of the additional information means that the school only needs to add the information once - a link to an external website (for instance)
    Anyway I can waffle on about school website all night, I am very passionate about this subject. If I could I would send free of charge our report &lsquo;ideas how to improve your school website and information disclosure processes' to every school in the UK (they would benefit from much of the information and ideas) I have thought about doing that. The logistics of that may be difficult (and expensive?) so for now I donate all excess funds to school charities. I am a member of various school charitable trusts and &lsquo;friends of schools' in my local area. We donate 10% of all income to one school charity, the school helped create schoolulike.

    I am looking to contact the &lsquo;digital inclusion champion' organisation in view of obtaining their help to try and get as many of our services to schools for no cost to the school I hope even to contact the department for education, local LEAs etc...... If anyone has any ideas how I can do this please let me know? do you think they be interested?

    If you would like I can send our report &lsquo;ideas how to improve your school website and information disclosure processes' - free of charge?
    You will then be able to see how we can help schools to use the website as a tool by which they can communicate valuable information to the outside world.

    Please email me or personal message me (see website for email address, note replace Edward for info for my email address) and we can see how we can help you (no charge as stated)
    If you don't like the report and its ideas write about it on the forum, if you do then join our &lsquo;team' (a lose term) to get schools improving their websites in a cost effective manner. The external cost for setting up a school site is a fortune (as I have been reading on the forums) we can reduce the maintenance cost to &pound;zero.

    Also we are not a &lsquo;spam' we want (would love) to help all schools FOC. We are very much run in the same way as a charity but &lsquo;donations'(income in our case) are taxable and some funds are retained to contribute to the treasury. No more no less!
    Many thanks for your time.
     
  7. As a follow up from the last message;

    We have been thinking that we could send the reports to schools via each LEA free of charge (this would limited the cost our end so free to all schools). We have considered this in detail and believe (step by step) the free report &lsquo;&lsquo;ideas how to improve your school website and information disclosure processes' could be sent FOC by us for distribution by each LEA.

    If your LEA may be interested in this please pass our details on or send contact details of relevant parties to us.

    I think this could this be viable? Any ideas
     
  8. As someone that runs a web outsourcing company I thought I would give my perspective through my experience not only of school websites but of business sites too.

    When looking at any website you have to consider what the client wants from the site (whether it is a school, business, community group etc.), who their different audiences are and what they want from the website. Only by serving their audience will you achieve the school&rsquo;s aims.
    Audiences for a school website will include
    • pupils,
    • parents,
    • relatives,
    • governors,
    • local community,
    • prospective parents/ pupils,
    • prospective members of staff,
    • press, I
    • nspectors.
    For the school, they should be looking for their website to contribute towards
    • attracting new pupils and retaining existing pupils;
    • supporting learning;
    • supporting a positive attitude to the school from pupils, parents, the local community, press etc;
    • supporting your SEF;
    • reducing enquiries to the school office,
    • helping with recruitment etc.
    However the other aspect the school needs to appreciate is the ongoing commitment required to keep a website working. Magic_surfbus experience is not uncommon, with schools trying to offer everything to start with and enthusiasm quickly tailing off. Unless you can see a real benefit AND maintaining the site doesn&rsquo;t take up too much of your time your website becomes a chore rather than a positive contributor to your school.
     
  9. Sounds like a loss leader to me. Rather like psychics who offer free public readings to capture private clients who will pay them silly money.

     
  10. The distribution to all schools free of charge can be achieved for free very easily - put a link on your site to download it. I am sure members of this forum will be happy to pass it on to the the relevant people in their school if it is worth reading

    Just a thought.....
     

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