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Improve the Optics of Your School with iClass

St Joseph's College

In this day and age, it’s essential for everyone’s business to have some sort of digital representation, including schools.

But the quality of your school’s website, in addition to the features and services it offers, can have a massive impact on how the parents of prospective students view your school.

If the site looks professional, well-designed and is filled with up to date content, then it’s likely that parents will view your school in a positive and encouraging light.

However, if the site is slow to load and respond, features an outdated design, won’t load on mobile devices or lacks content about your school and its students, then it’s probable that parents will immediately be discouraged from learning more about your school.

This is why it’s so important that your school’s website is as cutting-edge as can be, as this will make your school stand out from the competition.

With iClass you get a bespoke, beautifully designed website that can be tailored to reflect the best and brightest aspects of your school.

With a range of handy features like event registration, a fully integrated mobile app that enables free parent-teacher communication, and a user friendly content management system that allows you to complete all tasks in under one minute, iClass is guaranteed to put your school at the top of the class.

Promote Your School with Student Stories

One of the easiest ways to keep the content on your school website fresh and interesting is by asking students to contribute their own articles and blogs.

There’s plenty of topics to choose from such as events like the annual play or school musical, day trips to museums and galleries, class projects and so on.

Not every student is going to want to get involved, but you may be able to convince unlikely writers to try their hand at blogging by giving them the opportunity to talk about their favourite part of school.

Sports blogs are always popular with students and parents alike and are great for promoting school sports as one of the benefits of your school.

The parents of prospective students will be happy to hear from the kids themselves, and your school website’s search engine rankings will improve with every piece of unique content.

iClass makes student publishing super simple and straightforward for everyone and will boost the online presence of your school.

For more information, or to request a website review, please get in touch today.

Is Your School’s Website Responsive?

Responsive design is essential for any website that wants to succeed in this day and age, including school and education websites.

Responsive design offers a number of practical benefits in regards to generating website views and lowering website maintenance costs, and should be used by all schools regardless of their size or education level.

1. Mobile Users

The biggest benefit of responsive websites is the increase in mobile traffic you’ll receive.

Most people use a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to search and shop on the Internet, and responsive design ensures they’ll be able to view your school’s website as intended without any errors or issues.

2. Lower Costs

As responsive websites provide an optimal layout for both mobile devices and computers, you’ll save money on maintenance costs.

Traditionally, website owners paid separate maintenance fees for the desktop and mobile versions of their site, but with responsive design you pay a single fee and save money.

3. Faster Loading

Responsive school websites also load faster than traditional sites, so you won’t have to worry about parents leaving before a webpage loads.

Longer loading times also mean more time spent navigating webpages and less time spent reading the information they contain, which can have a negative effect on the user’s perspective of your website.

 

The above are just a few of the great benefits responsive design you can enjoy with the iClassCMS platform.

For more information, or to organise a free website review, please get in touch with us today.

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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. 

 

Innovative Ways to Lower School Operating Costs

School website design in Dublin

1. Market Online

Instead of paying for expensive ads, try boosting your school’s SEO to generate traffic for your site. Choose a website platform with integrated SEO optimization to save time and money!  Additionally, take advantage of social media! Facebook, twitter, and even Instagram are powerful tools to get the word out about your school.


2. Go Paperless

Sending home paper newsletters can cost schools thousands of dollars that could be spent on other resources. Try switching to email format instead. Parents and benefactors can access news on the go, and your school will save money. With our website solution, teachers can use this strategy, too, and keep parents updated via an intuitive website.


3. Sponsorships

When hosting school events, partner with community businesses to cover the costs. Your school will save money and create valuable relationships with community members. Learn more about creating a community school here.


4. Meeting Management

Unnecessary meetings can significantly lower employee morale and productivity. Make sure meetings are only held when necessary or focus on planning a productive agenda for each meeting. With a few tweaks, meetings can be a time that everyone looks forward to!

5. No More SMS Messaging

Communication with parents is critical, but SMS costs over the course of a school year can be astronomical! By switching to an integrated solution like iClass, schools can instantly message parents through app notifications rather than SMS. This can save your school thousands of dollars a year!

 

 

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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

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.

Foolproof ADA Compliance Tips for Your School’s Website

A woman and her daughter look at a computer screen.

Header: Foolproof ADA Compliance Tips for Your School's Website

When crafting a school webpage, it’s critical to consider how all users will interact with the site. It’s valuable for schools to be proactive when considering how the site will function for users with disabilities. Here are 5 simple fixes for common accessibility problems on the web.

A woman and her daughter look at a computer screen.

 

Problem #1: Media Accessibility

Users are unable to view or listen to images, videos, and audio files.

Fix: Create alt tags for all multimedia files on the site. These provide a description of the content that users can read or hear. Learn about how to create descriptive alt tags here. Create text transcripts for video and audio content.

 

Problem #2: Time Constraints

Users lose data after a site’s time limit expires or they are forced to reauthenticate. This is an issue for parents who are enrolling their children or registering to volunteer.

Fix: Make sure data entered in forms is automatically saved as a user progresses through the site.

 

Problem #3: Navigation

Navigation should be consistent and logical. All navigation can be performed with a keyboard.

Fix: Ensure that pages have a coherent layout and position on the site. Provide multiple pathways by which users can navigate the site. “Skip navigation” functionality will let users seamlessly access information.

 

Problem #4: Documents

Most schools use their website to post and share documents with pupils, parents, and the community. Many are uploaded in PDF form, and there is no way for visually impaired users to access a description.

Fix: Provide text from all documents in another text-based form, such as HTML or RTF.

 

Problem #5: Visual Design Elements

Color and contrast ratios are important to the aesthetic appeal of your website but can make it hard for users to view information. Additionally, many sites feature small text. Often, it is impossible for users to change the site’s settings for color and font size.

 

Fix: Ensure that users are able to view the site using the operating system or browser preferences for color and font size.

 

Feel like compliance is a lot to manage on your own?

iClassCMS provides website and app solutions for schools that are fully compliant and well designed. Learn more 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.