Showing posts with label school websites. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school websites. Show all posts

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Three Observations About Quality School District Websites

This morning I spent a couple of hours looking at the websites of relatively large school districts. These are my thoughts and observations after viewing them from the perspective of a parent.

Make It Obvious!
The good sites make it obvious for parents to find recent and relevant information.

Don't make parents dig through a variety of vaguely named menus to find the information they need about your school. I looked at one district's website this morning to try to find the school calendar for next fall. There was not a single tab or menu anywhere on the homepage labeled "calendar" or "schedule." The school calendar was only found if you clicked on a tab labeled "menu" then scrolled down to the fourth sub-menu that was labeled "calendars." Information about the school board members, human resources information for staff, and an outdated 2015-2020 strategic plan were all listed higher than the school year calendar. 

What does it say about your district when parents have to dig through vaguely named menus to find out basic information about their child's school day?

Social Media Isn’t a Replacement for a Good Website
Posting on social media is not a replacement for having a well-designed and frequently updated school/ school district website.

Some of the better sites I looked at included embedded streams of district/ school social media postings. They do that because they recognize that not every parent or student uses social media. Additionally, when you rely on social media you're hoping that parents and students will follow your accounts. And even if they do follow your accounts you then have to hope that your postings will stand-out from all of the other updates that parents and students see from the other accounts they follow.

Who is running the website?
The better websites that I looked at this morning were from school districts that have someone on staff whose job title included communications director or public relations. The bad ones seemed to be run as almost an afterthought or lower priority task of the IT department.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Display Your Instagram Account or a Hashtag on Your Blog

Last night I Tweeted about a WordPress plug-in that displays my Instagram feed on a new blog I'm developing (more about that in a week or so). Shortly after sending that Tweet Rafranz Davis replied with the suggestion of trying SnapWidget which will work on any blog platform.

SnapWidget is a free widget that you can customize to display the pictures from your personal Instagram account or the pictures tagged with a hashtag that you've specified. You can choose how many pictures you want the widget to display, how big the picture previews should be, and customize the borders around the widget. You can see my SnapWidget widget below.

Applications for Education
SnapWidget could be a neat addition to a school or classroom blog. A lot of homecomings are happening at this time of year. If you have students and alumni use the same hashtag for the pictures they take during homecoming activities, those pictures can quickly be displayed on a section of your school's website. In fact, I'm going to suggest this to the alumni coordinator at my alma mater which is hosting homecoming this coming weekend.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Open Scholar - Free Website Development Software

Open Scholar, produced by Harvard, is a free software package for educators to use to develop scholarly websites. Open Scholar provides an intuitive drag and drop user interface that enables anyone to design and develop a website. Institutions using Open Scholar can develop as many websites as they like using the free software.

Watch the video below to learn more about Open Scholar.

Scholars Web Sites Project Overview from IQSS on Vimeo.

Before you get too excited, Open Scholar does not provide hosting for websites. To use Open Scholar you have to have someone install it on a server. Open Scholar uses Drupal.

Applications for Education
If your institution is looking for a platform to deploy system-wide for instructors to use to develop their own websites, it might be worth your time to investigate Open Scholar.

H/T to Open Culture.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Free Webinar - Creating Websites for Elite Educators

Two of the great K-12 school administrators from my Twitter list of K-12 Administrators are hosting a free webinar next week. Next Thursday, May 27 Eric Sheninger and Patrick Larkin are hosting a webinar titled Creating Branded Websites for Elite Educators. Eric and Patrick both effectively use blogs and other forms of social media to communicate with their school's communities and with the ed tech community at large. See their blog here and here. The focus of their webinar is using the web and social media to improve communication with parents, students, and faculty. You can register for the webinar here.

Learn more about the webinar in the Prezi presentation below.

Click here if you cannot see the presentation.

Applications for Education
If you're a K-12 school administrator or an aspiring administrator, this webinar should provide you with some excellent information that you can apply to your practice.

Patrick Larkin was a guest blogger on Free Technology for Teachers earlier this year, his post Every Principal Needs a Blog was one of the most popular posts of the winter.