Posts

,

Time Saving Technology Hacks

Technology Hacks

Technology can be very easy to use. It can also be difficult. For those who did not grow up with technology, it can be a really challenging and frustrating experience.

For those who do not fully understand technology, it is a grueling and tortuous experience. In the world we live in today, technology is not going anywhere, and in certain job fields, technology is now commonplace.

In the education sector today it would be considered abnormal for a classroom to not have some type of technology. Whether that technology be a computer, an iPad, or even just a projector. Many classrooms do not solely have a blackboard in the middle of the room. The ways of learning are constantly upgrading, so the methods of teaching should be as well.

“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”

– Nancy Kassebaum

Again, technology can be very easy, or it can be difficult. But there is good news. TED Talk speaker David Pogue has created a list of ten tech hacks that will save you some time. It will also provide you with some simple tips to use to help in the classroom. 

Watch the full video here

By Taylor

,

5 Ways an App Can Inspire Your School

An app Can Inspire Your School

Keep parents and students informed

An app platform allows teachers and faculty to send immediate alerts and updates. It ensures that parents and students are aware of any changes or important deadlines. A study by the Michigan Department of Education found that children of involved parents are more likely to do better in school. Most parents must be informed of how and why they ought to become involved. The app is a simple and easy way for schools to reach out to parents and keep them continually involved in their child’s education and aware of what they can do.

Reduce paper usage

Using a mobile app would allow schools to provide parents and students with paper-free updates. This could potentially allow schools to completely eliminate their use of paper flyers. The app notifications can also reduce the risk of information not reaching parents.

Schools making the change to a paperless system have reported saving about $418,000 in less than a year by cutting out almost 17 million sheets of paper!

stack of white paper

Access information easily

Simple information such as deadlines and notifications would become readily available to parents and students in an instant. The more accessible the information can be, the less time administrators must spend answering simple questions. School apps can provide parents with a sense of security because they are able to stay well involved within the school.

Personalized notifications and updates

Notifications can be sent to any group! Whether you have a district-wide or class-only reminder, it will reach the correct audience. 

Notifications and alerts can be released to parents and students based on the information that would be relevant to them. Alerts sent to the right group would create relevant news updates and eliminate junk mail and wasted resources.

Eliminate SMS text alert costs

Decrease the cost of using alert services by converting to a mobile app! Many schools are using SMS text message alert systems to keep faculty, parents and students informed. The cost of these services can add up quickly, especially for larger schools sending various types of notifications. A mobile app would allow a school to send out a notification through the app using data or the internet rather than paying a phone company per text message. It may be extremely helpful for schools to convert either fully or partially to an in-app notification system depending on the needs of the parents and students. Either way, the cost of an app can reduce the costs acquired from sending SMS alerts and notifications.

iClass CMS provides a fully integrated website and mobile app solution for schools all over the world. Learn about how we can help your school here. 

by Megan

Get Connected! Technology Every Teacher Should Know

It can be challenging to sift through the immense amount of tech resources that are available to teachers! Here are a few of our favorites, selected based on ease of implementation, usefulness, and student engagement.

Mindmeister

This is the website for those who have too many thoughts. Mindmeister is an online mind mapping tool that is perfect for brainstorming and organizing. The tool can also be used for note taking, as well.

Preparing a lesson for your class? Mindmeister offers both a function for brainstorming and planning – both essential for creating a lesson plan.

Create your first mind map here.

post it notes on a wall

 

Prezi

Created in 2009, Prezi has quickly become a leading presentation software for both the business and education sector. The design of Prezi has helped its rise in popularity. Unlike PowerPoint slides, Prezi offers an interactive way to present, complete with a zoomable canvas and premade templates.

There is no shortage to the type of presentations that can be created with Prezi. Topics range from analyses of books to a sales pitch in a business meeting. More importantly, because of the design of Prezi, they are much less boring to watch, therefore keeping an audience entertained and fully engaged.

The best part? It’s free. You can learn more or sign up to make your first Prezi here.

 

Kahoot

Like Prezi, Kahoot can be used in both the business and education sector. It is a primarily a mobile app, used to take quizzes of all types. Kahoot helps to keep everyone connected through a fun and interactive quiz format.

In the business world, Kahoot can be used to make any type of training or presentation more fun and engaging. Kahoot is used for team building exercises, making group trainings much more fun. In the education world, Kahoot can be used to either quiz students, or it can also be used as a study tool when there is a test.

Learn more about Kahoot here.

students are excited and looking at a computer screen

Penzu

Penzu is a site created for those people who love to write, but don’t like pen and paper. It’s an online journal and diary platform that can be used for anything from wedding planning to daily thoughts.

In the education sector, Penzu can be used as a tool for daily writing assignments or for spicing up homework. The awesome thing about Penzu is its accessibility. Anybody can write from anywhere, as the website also has a mobile app, allowing anyone to write from wherever they are, at their own convenience.

If you’re ready to start writing, click here.

 

 

Study Blue

Sponsored by Chegg, Study Blue is an online study library. Equipped with over 400 million notecards and study guides, students should have no problems studying for that upcoming test. Because of the app, students are able to study wherever they go. Study Blue also offers the option to create quizzes, giving students the opportunity to see what they already know.

Try it out here.

a person takes notes while looking at a computer

 

Knewton

No one learns the same way. Knewton knows that, so they’ve created a platform for every single type of learner. The company has provided 28 million adaptive learning courses since its founding in 2008.

The company integrated a new system known as Alta. Alta allows students to learn through completely personalized instruction and the program provides the student with an assessment of their mastery of the subject. Even better, the technology is easy-to-use and automatically provides feedback to the instructors.

You can learn more about Knewton here.

 

iClass CMS

iClass provides websites for schools that are completely interactive and adaptable. Our custom website and mobile app solutions are designed to meet the needs of a 21st-century school. Teachers have the ability to communicate with parents instantly and at no cost. Students are able to work remotely and access information via their smartphone or laptop. Learn more here.

 

By Taylor

Getting Smart With Community Engagement

People

Schools can’t do it alone! The people and businesses in the surrounding community can be a valuable (but often overlooked) resource to help students succeed.

According to this report, schools with the highest number of community and parent volunteers have the highest test scores. Community involvement with a school promotes real-world learning and a broader perspective for students.

How can you make community members key partners in student achievement?

Share your Success

A newsletter is a great vehicle to share school stories and successes with the community. Even community members who don’t have children enrolled in the school will enjoy reading about what’s going on in the neighborhood. It’s also a great way to inform community members about upcoming events, service projects, and volunteer opportunities. Check out our tips on how to create a newsletter that is both interesting and informative here.

Be Visible

When your school participates in community events, people will notice! Seek out opportunities for students to volunteer around town or host service projects to benefit local charities. A great way to do this is to create or partner with a service club on your campus.

Share enrichment opportunities with students. Many museums or performing arts organizations will offer student discounts. Students can enrich their day to day learning experience while getting out in the community and having fun.

Make the Most of Your School Site

Your website is a powerful tool for community engagement. An integrated and intuitive website will encourage everyone to keep up to date with happenings at school. With iClass’ website solution, schools can even make community members partners in content creation. An integrated mobile app will keep functionality at parents’ fingertips!

 

iClassCMS Refresher Course: Wednesday, 2nd of May

Platform

iClassCMS is hosting an  online refresher course for iClassCMS users at 3pm – 3.45pm on Wednesday, 2nd of May.

This online refresher course is completely free for iClassCMS users to participate in and covers all the basics from adding content to using the app plus tips on how to get the most out of the iClassCMS platform.

To get involved, simply email info@iclasscms.com with the subject ‘iClass Refresher’ and confirm your participation.

We’re sending out a reminder email next week, so please keep an eye out for it if you’d like to get involved.

iClassCMS is the most complete Content Management System for schools, providing your school with a best in class website and a fully integrated mobile app for parents.

The platform simplifies all of the processes involved in running a website and all actions can be completed in less than 60 seconds.

Thank you for your time and we hope you’re able to partake in the iClassCMS refresher course.

Is Your School Website ADA Compliant?

Fixing

All American commercial and public entities that use websites to advertise or provide a service are required by law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.

Specifically, the law affects:

  • Americans with disabilities and their friends, families, and caregivers
  • Private employers with 15 or more employees
  • Businesses operating for the benefit of the public
  • All state and local government agencies

The purpose of the ADA is to ensure that people with disabilities can avail of equal opportunities, and in regards to websites the ADA aims to:

“Establish requirements for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities.”

The Department of Justice refers website owners and operators to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3G) for guidance as to what a website must feature in order for it to be ADA compliant.

The very latest edition of the WCAG (version 2.0) includes 12 guidelines for the four main tenants of the ADA:

A full breakdown of the 12 guidelines can be found here, which we’ve summarized below for your convenience.

  1. Perceivable

This section deals with information and user interface components, which must always be presented to users in ways they can perceive.

  • Guideline 1.1 Text Alternatives: Websites must provide text alternatives for all non-text content.
  • Guideline 1.2 Time-Based Media: Websites must provide alternatives for time-based media (audio, video etc.).
  • Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Content must be created in such a way that it can be presented in different forms e.g. a simpler layout, without losing structure or information.
  • Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable: Users must be able to easily see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
  1. Operable

This section refers to user interface components and navigation, both of which must be operable by the user.

  • Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible: All functionality must be available to access from a keyboard.
  • Guideline 2.2 Enough Time: Enough time must be provided for users to read and use content.
  • Guideline 2.3 Seizures: Websites must not design or host content in ways that are known to cause seizures.
  • Guideline 2.4 Navigable: Websites must provide users with ways that can help them navigate, find content and determine where they are.
  1. Understandable

This section relates to information and the operation of user interfaces and the fact that they must be understandable by all users.

  • Guideline 3.1 Readable: Text content must be readable and understandable.
  • Guideline 3.2 Predictable: Web pages must appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance: Help must be provided to ensure users can avoid and correct mistakes.
  1. Robust

This section concerns content and how it must be robust enough so that it can easily and reliably be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents including those that utilize assistive technologies.

  • Guidelines 4.1 Compatible: Websites must facilitate maximum compatibility with current and future user agents, including those that utilize assistive technologies.

Please keep in mind that the above are simply summarized versions of the provided guidelines; you can view an in-depth breakdown of each guideline on the webpage for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

It’s vital that your school website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, as failure to do so can result in penalties and fines, which is obviously something you want to avoid.

The iClassCMS platform fully complies with the standards set in the ADA and the guidelines laid out by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, ensuring your school website is always in compliance and fit for purpose.

The iClassCMS platform also provides an annual ADA compliance report so you can get up to speed with new guidelines and maintain a best in class school website.

For more information, please get in touch with us here.

iClass Owl Newsletter Issue 1 is Now Live!

Owl final logo

The first issue of iClass Owl, our brand new newsletter focused on educational technology (EdTech) and its impact on Irish schools, is now live!

iClass Owl is a free monthly publication that aims to keep teachers, administrators and educators up-to-date with the very latest happenings in the world of EdTech and how these new technologies will transform classrooms.

iClass Owl Issue 1 covers the latest school tech news, reviews the biggest EdTech trends you can expect to see making ground in 2018 and features a detailed look at STEM Workshop, CoderDojo.

Click here to sign up to the iClass Owl Newsletter.

iClassCMS Partners with FCSSPA for Launch of First Parent Module for School Website and Mobile App Platform

St Mary's College

iClassCMS, Ireland’s leading school website and app developer, in partnership with the FCSSPA yesterday launched an update to its school website and mobile app platform allowing parents direct access to a school’s website.

The update also permits Parent Associations to publish relevant news directly to all parents of enrolled students via the iClass app. As a result, iClass now fully engages all key participants in schools: teachers, students and parents.

The iClass Fully Integrated Mobile App for Parents facilitates free communication between schools and parents, allowing schools to pass on the latest school news and important information about events directly to parents’ smartphones completely free of charge.

Speaking about the launch of the Parent Module for the iClass platform, Mr Paul Beddy, President of the Federation of Catholic Secondary Schools Parent Associations said:

‘We welcome the development of a Parent Module for School Websites by iClassCMS.  This module will facilitate greater communication between parents and allow Parent Associations to share events, fundraising and parent association business to the wider parent community.’

Frank O’Grady, Managing Director of iClassCMS, spoke of the benefits of the module for schools:

‘We are delighted to partner with the Federation of Catholic Secondary Schools Parent Associations on our new Parent Module for iClass. This allows schools using the iClass Website and Mobile App solution to give access to the school website to members of the School’s Parent Association. They can contribute content and set up a dedicated Parent Assoc News Channel on the School App allowing all parents keep up to date with all that is happening.’

For more information, please visit www.iclasscms.com or contact 01-6918833.

Top 5 Characteristics of a Good School Website

St Leo's College Prospectus

Building an online presence is as imperative for schools as it is for businesses. A website can have a tremendous impact when it comes to your school’s image, parent awareness, and the representation of your school mission. The following list contains the top 5 characteristics that constitute a good school website.

1. Visual Appearance

The website’s appearance is the first thing that grabs the attention of visitors. When creating a website for schools, the design needs to highlight the uniqueness of the school’s personality and include a logo, colour scheme, imagery and other attributes that impact the overall perception of the school brand. The presentable and uniformed look will make a positive first impression and will keep visitors interested in engaging with the content.  Finding a balance between mediocrity and complicatedness is a key.

2. Simplicity

Complicated and hard to navigate websites turn off visitors (perspective parents) which may result in an increased bounce rate. By removing all unnecessary elements and keeping the layout clean, the readers will have a better experience in consuming website information. Keep backend and frontend designs streamlined.

3. Informational Content

The ultimate goal of your school site is to provide a platform where students and parents can find information regarding events, recent news, extracurricular activities, school directory and other important activities. Is the content of your school website stale? Does your school have a blog? If not, then it is time to start one.  Frequently updated relevant content keeps the website alive and is engaging for teachers, students and parents.

4. Responsiveness

Web pages should be accessible from any device whether on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, and provide a user-friendly experience. If the website is not responsive, visitors will have to spend more time waiting for the page to load and will eventually leave the site. It is imperative that your school community has access to news and updates from any device. Responsiveness is also one of the important factors in Google’s search results algorithm.

5. Content Management System

Content Management Systems are a necessary tool for schools to publish or edit content and to post updates easily and instantaneously. Is your school website outdated, irrelevant and in need of a makeover? Update your school’s website and take it to the next level with the customisable website platform iClassCMS, which requires zero coding knowledge to utilize it. Its dynamic interface consists of a publishing platform for teachers and students in addition to an events module and mobile application for parents.

Feel free to contact us to request a live demo – info@iclasscms.com

A One Stop Content Management Solution for Schools

St Mary's College

Have you heard about iClassCMS, the best in class website and mobile app solution for schools?

This comprehensive content platform is designed to answer the needs of teachers, students and parents, allowing for the quick and simple creation and distribution of relevant school information.

It consists of a custom built website, publishing platform and an app, and provides schools with an engaging yet easy-to-use responsive website and administrative hub for managing all content.

Teachers can edit and publish content with ease and set up and manage events using the efficient content and event management system.

The unique and empowering student publishing option allows students to publish and share content on the teacher moderated module.

A fully integrated mobile app for parents allows for two-way communication between parents and teachers and keeps parents informed of the latest news and events through dynamic publishing.

iClassCMS features six key components covering all aspects of content management for schools:

  1. A vibrant and user-friendly website
  2. A dedicated publishing module for teachers
  3. A student publishing option, moderated by teachers
  4. A mobile app with messaging and other functions for parents
  5. An event management, registration and payment module for events
  6. An administrative hub for moderating all content and user access

iClassCMS helps schools fully take advantage of the benefits of digital communications, enabling greater efficiency in information management and encouraging stronger relations between teachers, students and parents.

iClassCMS is currently being rolled out in a number of schools and organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

For further information, please contact us at info@iclasscms.com