= Creating School Web Pages
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Creating School Web Pages

Every school seems to have a website, why?
 
What should go into a good school web page?
 
What are the steps in building a quality school web site?

bricklayerDeveloping a school web page has become a popular practice in many schools. Learn more about designing quality school websites.

Explore the website Designing School Web Sites by Jamie McKenzie.

Explore

Before you jump into the development of a page, it's a good idea to explore some schools who have already been through the process. Go to the Cool Schools page for a list of school websites. Also check out school library, public library, academic library, and special library sites.

Plan

Planning is an essential part of web page development. Start with a planning committee that involves administrators, teachers, library media specialists, technology people, parents, community members, and students. The first task of the committee is to identify the purpose of the website. Ask yourself: Why do we need a website? Who is the audience? How will resources be used? Why will they want to revisit the website later?
 
Develop a set of policies and procedures related to the website. Identify roles and responsibilities such as webmaster, content coordinator, writer, and editor. Develop content provider guidelines. Develop a policy for the use of student names, photographs, and projects. Also, discuss copyright issues and ways of handling dated pages and link rot. Consider legal issues such as acceptable use. What disclaimers should be posted for users?

Design

Identify the content for the website. Who decides on the content? Does every document need to be online? Is it available elsewhere? Could we link to it? How will information be used? Why will people revisit for more information?
 
Sometimes it's hard to think of all the things that might be included in a school web site. Below is a list of things to consider. This list is also available as a pdf file.


 
School Information

People Information

Curriculum Connections

Community Information and Outreach

Create

Before creating your pages, read Designing Quality School Web Pages by Patti Tarell. Also learn more about Website Evaluation.
 
Develop the structure for your website. Careful organization is essential. Use a software package such as Inspiration to help visualize the website's folders and pages. Think about how directories and files will be named. Establish levels of control. For example, you might assign a site manager who coordinates content, a webmaster who designs and uploads pages, department coordinators who provide content for specific areas of the website, and individuals who provide additional contributions. Try to get everyone involved with submitting content. Although some people may create HTML documents or use web development tools, others can submit projects in a word processing format or on a piece of paper.
 
You don't have to begin your website from scratch. Many schools start with a template. Or, use ideas from your favorite school websites. Then, build basic pages as needed.
 
Develop a standard template and layout for your website. Involve students in creating logos, photos, and other visual elements for the website. Each page should contain a title, navigation tools, creation/update date, and email contact. Consider how student work will be displayed.
 
Design your entry page (index, menu, home, front, or core page). This page will provide users with their first impression of your school. It should reflect the school philosophy. For example, what pictures will you include on your front page? Does the website reflect your school's mission? Is your entry page attractive and easy to use? Does it provide easy access to your site including menus, index, and other tools? Is this page updated regularly? Is new information highlighted?
 
Make our website interactive. For example, you might include email contacts, forms, discussion forums, guest books, interactive quizzes and other elements.

Revise

Once the pages have been posted, your job is not done. It's time to do field testing on different computer platforms and web browsers. Also, try the website with difference audiences. Ask them to look for simplicity, nagivation, ease of use, accuracy, technical quality, and effective links. Revise your website to meet diverse needs.
 
Maintaining your website can be a big challenge. If limited support is available, consider eliminating aspects of your website that require ongoing support such as announcements, schedules, and lunch menus. Try to update the website periodically, even if time is limited. A new project each month will draw return visitors. Enlist the help of others such as student workers, volunteers, a web club, or computer class.

Plan a School Website

Following the steps above, plan a school website. Create a diagram showing the pages of the website and how they might be connected. Also, sketch a few alternatives for the layout of the entry page. Share your ideas with another educator or your students


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