Posts

Is Your School’s Website Making a Mark?

In today’s technology-focused world, school websites need to perform a number of functions to ensure they are drawing as much interest from the parents of prospective students.

There are a number of elements of a good school website, such as a clear and informative design, a simple to follow layout and intuitive user interface, a catalogue of school related content and of course basic details about the school and what it offers.

Your school’s website should also contain easy to access links to any social media platforms the school uses to stay in touch with parents, such as Facebook and Twitter, and it’s advisable that the website is optimised for mobile devices so parents can quickly find important info about the school whenever they need it.

iClassCMS websites are designed with practicality in mind and provide schools with an engaging platform and an integrated mobile app allows for free and instant messaging, saving the school money on parent-teacher communications.

If you’re concerned your school website is not ticking all the boxes then you should consider availing of our completely free school website review, which gives you feedback on everything you need to know from GDPR compliance, to usability, design and functionality.

To sign up for a free website review please visit the Review page and enter your details into the form, including your name, email and school website.
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Analytics for Education

Education Analytics

Education Analytics

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis and analytics has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

Education AnalyticsWhy Learn Analytics?

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it as well as their level of understanding. This also would include the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, but they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Don’t Be Invisible: Hacks to Boost your School’s SEO

Boost School SEO

Boost School SEO

In the era of 21st century learning, it’s important for schools to maintain a strong online presence. Having a strong SEO (search engine optimization) can help your school appear first in an online search. The first step is to create a top of the line website to engage students and parents, but it doesn’t stop there. Optimizing your site’s appearance in search engines will ensure that prospective families can find you. Here are 4 easy things you can do to make sure your school gets seen online!

  1. Content

    1. Make sure content includes keywords
    2. If you’re working in html, put page titles in heading 1 format that includes keywords
  1. Caption action

    1. Do you have videos on your site? Provide a transcript, as this will increase the number of keywords that the website contains. This can also be done with images. Make sure you post a caption with each picture. Search engines can’t interpret visual content (yet!) but they can certainly read text.

 

Boost School SEO

  1. Promote low-engagement content

    1. If a page or article is not getting as many clicks, post on soc
      ial media about it. This is a free way to harness your community to drive traffic to your site, improving its SEO.
  1. Make it mobile.

    1. Make sure your website is responsive to different screen sizes and can be accessible by smartphone.

With the implementation of these strategies, your school’s search engine ranking will improve! Still sound overwhelming? iClass provides a fully integrated website and mobile app solution with SEO included. 

 

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Introducing STEAM: A New Learning Approach

Adult art artist

Introducing STEAM Title ImageWhat is STEAM?

Introducing STEAM! STEAM is derived from STEM, which is essentially a more specific curriculum of education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In order to understand STEAM, we first need to understand a little bit about STEM.

STEM was introduced in the early 2000s because it was noticed there was a decline in proficiency of the subjects in the STEM field. With the introduction of this new field, many more teachers are now being prepared and trained to teach these specific fields. STEM includes learning about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in completely scientific concepts.

This is where STEAM and STEM differ. STEAM, like STEM, teaches science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, STEAM differs in that STEAM includes the arts as well. Included in the teaching of the arts is drama, dance, music, media and visual arts, among others. While this curriculum also includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the teaching of STEAM is different in that it looks at the subjects in a more creative and inquiring type of way.

Introducing STEAM

Why is STEAM Important?

The humanities give us the context of our world. They teach us how to think critically. They are purposely unstructured, while the sciences are purposely structured. They teach us to persuade, they give us our language, which we use to convert our emotions to thought and action. And they need to be on equal footing with the sciences”.

– Eric Berridge

One of the main reasons why introducing STEAM is important relates to the fact that there is much emphasis on preparing students for the STEM field. While this is not bad, it also means that schools are pushing the scientific fields, and shifting the humanities to the side, which does not serve students well. As Eric Berridge said, the humanities (arts) need to be equal to the sciences. By pushing the STEM curriculum, we are unintentionally sending these students a message that the sciences are the best career path after school.

Teaching the arts allows for students to think in a more creative way, because of the fact that teaching with a STEAM curriculum allows for questions. It allows for students to think more freely and because the curriculum is not specifically scientific, there can be many different answers, and it opens the classroom for a more varied, in-depth discussion.

 

The takeaway: STEM is important, but only teaching a STEM curriculum is hindering the chances of students fully learning what they’re truly passionate about. By teaching STEAM, not only is the STEM curriculum included, but the inclusion of the (A)rts provides a less structured way to discuss topics, and it may just inspire students to participate more.

 

Teaching tip:

Makerspaces are one cool way to introduce STEAM curriculum in your classroom. Learn more about how to start a makerspace easily here.

By Taylor

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Creating Awesome Teacher Blog Posts

Mobile app design and development

Unsure of how to utilize your blog as a teacher? Here are some tips to create posts that engage your students, communicate your message, and inspire your class.

 

 

Create a clear and simple title

It is helpful to use a post title that accurately reflects the content being included in each individual blog post. This will allow students to navigate the class blog page easily and efficiently.

 

Keep longer posts well organized

Any extensive content should be well organized with clear subtitles and topic headers. The information should be delivered in paragraph, bullets and topic summaries. It can prove helpful to use text that is bold, underlined, Italicized and in different Font sizes to distinguish the most crucial information and headers.

 

Use hyperlinks to websites discussed

A post that discusses or reference specific websites should include a hyperlink that students can use to access the website in one click. This will ensure that students are able to access the website being discussed in a convenient and simple manner.

 

Helpful media to convey information

The use of media in a blog post can prove to be entertaining for students and convey the same information in a more memorable way. Media can vary from images to pdf documents and video files. Media used in the classroom can be relayed to students in this manner to make videos and graphics easily available for students. This can also allow students to continue their learning outside of the classroom if there is additional content that could not be discussed within the allotted class time.

 

Using informal language

Blog posts are a quick and simple manner for teachers to get information to students quickly and efficiently. Due to the speed and frequency of blog posts, teachers may find it helpful to use informal language (but still proper grammar!) to communicate well with their students. 

 

iClass CMS provides an intuitive and affordable content management solution for schools. Teachers, administrators, parents, and even students, can post blogs. One click moderation ensures that all tasks can be carried out in one minute or less. 

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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!

 

Introducing Our Partner: Educators of America

kid looks at a computer

iClass CMS has partnered with Educators of America to support their mission of connecting educators with technology to increase student achievement. 

 

Educators of America works with schools around the world – from New York to New Delhi – to provide teachers with technology and tools for success. In addition to supplying schools with the latest digital technology, Educators of America also hosts professional development and enrichment seminars for teachers. Classroom technology is constantly evolving, and it is important for teachers to stay up to date with the latest innovations.

 

kid looks at a computer

 

Edtech is a powerful resource for increasing student success. Studies show that the use of digital tools in the classroom increases student engagement, collaboration, and problem-solving. We are proud to support Educators of America in making a positive impact in schools in the US and around the world.

 

The USA seen from space at night

 

iClass provides attractive and easy-to-use websites to schools that increase enrollment, improve communication, and meet accessibility standards. Learn more about our partnership here.

iClassCMS to Exhibit at ISTE 2018 in Chicago

ISTE 2018

iClassCMS, the number 1 website and mobile app solution for schools, is delighted to announce we will be exhibiting at ISTE 2018 in Chicago, US, from June 24 – 27.

The iClass exhibition will be held in partnership with the Educators of America, an education charity based in Buffalo, New York, that is dedicated to connecting educators with the very best technology solutions and training needed to help students increase achievement every day.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference and Expo is the world’s leading annual educational technology conference and attracts more than 16,000 attendees and industry representatives from across the globe.

iClassCMS will be exhibiting at booth 989 and we are more than happy to provide attendees with a full live demonstration of the iClassCMS website and mobile app solutions.

To arrange a viewing during ISTE 2018 please visit this page and add your name, email address, school and preferred date and time for the viewing to the contact form.

The iClassCMS platform is in full compliance with the standards as set in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information about our ADA compliance, click here.