Today's Big Question
How is your school's virtual presence ?
What are some key areas to focus in an effort to enhance your schools’ virtual presence?
Now the big question is WHY ? I have been teaching in this institution for 6 years now. I love my job, my students, my community . In my homeroom we have a very good learning management system which is our class website/blog that connects our class online . However, it is a bizarre thought that I don’t feel that strong virtual connection with our school in general even though we are doing a good (i wouldn't say great yet.. but working on it) job in the virtual world.. The answer is simple : I never gave much careful thought on WHY I needed to stay virtually connected to our school regularly. As speaker Simon Sinek says , “stop focusing on the what and start promoting the why.”
I now ask myself the following questions:
- Why do I need to check the website on a regular basis? Why do prospective clients need to check the site?
- Why do I need to connect and encourage my students to follow our school’s twitter and facebook accounts and read our online publications?
In the next part of this blog, I will attempt to answer the WHY’s by reflecting on the strengths of our website. As well, I will give suggestions on some key areas that I believe our school can enhance and improve. By doing so, I hope that I may be able to inspire people to visit our site and (wishfully thinking it will...) convince prospective clients to move to the Philippines and enroll their child at our school! Why not?
Why do I need to check the school's website on a regular basis ?
As A Teacher/ Parent
The school website is visually attractive and easy to navigate. All photos are updated regularly featuring current activities. (thank goodness!)
The homepage allows me to glance at the most important things happening in school in the Upcoming Events and Announcements Section. It also allows for a navigation path to dig deeper when more information is needed. It also provides valuable information such as calendar, schedule and lunch menu. A link for the school's social media sites would be a good addition to the homepage.
The site gives direct link to important sites such as the school's Google App Mail, Naviance Family Connection , Downloadable teacher documents , Professional Development, Rubicon Atlas and the STS Student Tracking System for monitoring attendance and keeping personal records. A lot of teachers are using different LMS and it would be great to have all these great sites in one page so anyone can access them through the school's site.
The site provides direct links to websites rich in curriculum content to teachers and students - including online journal subscriptions, citation sources, and online libraries to name some.
For Prospective Parents
The school website introduces visitors to the school by showing the school's history, mission statement, accreditation,etc. on the multi level drop down menu. It also gives an insight on the course offerings and the overall feel of the campus.
There is a link for online application as well as downloadable forms for prospective students. School fees are available to view online . An option for online payment would be a plus feature to provide more options to clients.
All contact details, emails, maps, etc. are updated, working and well placed on the site for convenient access.
The site has an IB page that introduces the program and gives complete information on the course offerings,etc. It also features a very convincing video clip about the diploma programme. The site also boasts other informative academic pages. An area of improvement would be making other curriculum pages as thorough and complete .
Why do I need to connect and encourage my students to follow our school's facebook and twitter accounts and our online publication ?
The school's twitter account is administered by the Activities office so it features a lot of sports and school activities feeds .
Brent Review is our school's online publication. Articles are authored by student members of the Brent Review club. It features news articles, photos and videos on mostly major events that happen in school. It also features student work in its gallery section.
The school's facebook account is administered by the student council . It features different projects that the student council is doing. This site can take a step further and find a collaboration with the online publication so it can be a venue for "professionally" sharing school news, photos and videos on different things happening around the school.
Other Key Areas to Focus On
1. Add more information on the site about it's current technology . It may also feature it's IT philosophy.
2. Offer a venue in the site to publish student work locally and globally.
3. Online resources provided by the site may also include links to Virtual fieldtrips, museums, news, search engines and teaching resources.
4. As mentioned earlier, a lot of teachers have their personal LMS that they use with their students, it would be nice to put links to these sites on the main website under one page so the community may access them too. This includes schoology , etc.
5. Strengthen the school's brand virtually by showing more of the WHY in the site's pages.
According to Christine Roirdan, " Check your own reaction to change. Leaders must constantly engage in new activities and thinking as part of change. This often requires them to break habits, change behaviors, and adjust attitudes themselves. ...You must tell a compelling story and share what is changing, what is not, why change is urgent, and why employees should change. And as a leader, you must show that you believe in that change."
When I started writing this post I didn't know what to expect to learn about our school's virtual presence. Now that I have taken a closer look at it , I realize that staying connected to my own school virtually is a habit I should immediately form because now I understand WHY I should do so . I am also compelled to share my insights to my colleagues so that we can altogether find great, innovative ways to further enhance our school's virtual presence.
Have a great day everyone!