How Often Should You Redesign Your Website?

Last year you launched a wonderful, updated website – congratulations!  

Your team worked hard to update content, look at various design options, and discuss the best photos.  Your website was great, but it has already aged.  You guessed it – it is time to begin considering the redesign process!

Already?

Absolutely!  In order to keep your website looking fresh and up to date schools should be doing a redesign every two years.  While the design elements need the most adjustments, it is also a great time to review and update your site map, photos, and content.  

The Web Design Trends Evolve

  • In Today – Out Tomorrow: Just like fashion changes with the season, web design is constantly evolving and being elevated to a new level.  Having long scrolling home pages might be in today, but tomorrow is a different story.  In order to have a modern, cutting-edge design, you will need to update the layout and design elements every two years.  

 

  • Make Your Best First Impression: Would you wear an old tshirt to an interview?  Of course not, if you want the job!  Your website is the first impression many prospective families and donors have of your school, so it needs to look professional and modern.  When websites look dated, which happens fast, it reflects poorly on the school identity.

 


Your School Identity Shifts

 

  • Addition or Elimination of Programs: While the mission statement of your school likely will stay consistent, schools are always adding, adjusting or enhancing classes, curriculum, and programs.  Are you adding or updating a one to one technology program – your homepage website design should showcase this!  Might you be introducing an updated art docent program with parents – it is time to showcase that!  People won’t know what your school offers unless you tell them.

 

 

  • New Teachers: Employee turnover is inevitable, so use the redesign as a chance to update and rearrange your staff page.  

 

 

  • New Facilities: Make sure your redesigned website showcases any new facility projects as well as ones in the works.  Websites can be a great way to drive donations for big upcoming projects.  Remember, no one will donate if they don’t know the project is on the horizon!

 

 

  • Showcase Your Awards and Accolades: Do you have new testimonial quotes from families?  Did your school recently finish accreditation?  Has the school been the recipient of any grants or awards?  We teach kids that it is not polite to brag, but on your website the more you promote the success and recognition of the school the more credibility you gain.

 

 

The Mobile Experience Changes

  • How People View Websites Changes: Every year the percentage of people accessing your website on a mobile device goes up.  Every six months the newest, greatest phone or tablet hits the market – your website needs to be able to hold up the ever-changing technology.  Review your website analytics as part of your redesign process to make sure your website works for your primary audience.

 

Your Photos Age Out

 

  • Students Get Older: You guessed it, those kids keep growing!  It is unrealistic to remove students who have graduated every year, but if you have photos of high school students who are now in college or elementary students who are now driving cars – it is time to update your photos to reflect the students who comprise your community today.

 

 

  • Cameras Get Better: The quality of photos being taken, the editing software supporting those images, and the equipment capturing them are always improving.  Low-quality images will make a site feel dated very quickly, no matter how cutting-edge the design structure may be.  Invest in a professional photographer with each redesign, the resulting crisp, powerful images of your students are worth it!

 

 

Compliance Requirements

 

  • ADA Compliance: ADA compliance is a hot issue today as schools are regularly approached by advocacy groups. The requirements to keep your school accessible to all might change tomorrow. Stay on top of the legal ramifications by consulting all compliance legislature during your redesign.

School’s should be looking to update their websites every two years to ensure that their site has a modern design, is easy to view on the latest mobile devices, and properly reflects the community of the school today.  Taking the time to refine and polish your school’s online presence is important to making a lasting first impression on potential donors, future parents and alumni.

Let us help you get started on a redesign today!

Doodle 4 Google 2018

Doodle 4 Google 2018 is live! If you aren’t sure why this is exciting, or maybe you’re not quite sure what doodling means, let us explain. You know that little picture above the search box if you visit Google.com? The one that celebrates historical figures or events and changes every day? Your students can make one!

This year is Google’s 10th anniversary of their contest “Doodle 4 Google” competition. This competition melds art and technology by encouraging students to create their very own Google doodle. The contest theme this year is inspiration.

The contest is open to K-12 students around the world. The national winner of the contest will receive a $30,000 scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school or non-profit organization and the opportunity to work with the Doodle team to make their doodle become interactive for Google’s homepage! Each doodle needs to incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e but the student can be as creative as they would like, mixing any type of media to create their master doodle.

Help your students and children follow these easy steps to participate in this year’s event!

  1. Download or print the entry form.
  2. Make the doodle using any materials you’d like.
  3. Write a description about the doodle and what inspired it.
  4. Fill out the rest of the entry form and sign it.
  5. Submit the doodle following these guidelines.

Learn more fun facts about Doodle 4 Google on their site- you don’t want your students or children to miss out on this opportunity to show Google what inspires them!

Make sure to read the contest rules before getting started.

Doodle 4 Google is accepting entries from January 8 – March 2, 2018 so…get doodling! If you want to take your class a step further, have them code their own animation for their doodles using CSFirst curriculum.

Did your students enter the Doodle 4 Google contest? Share your experience (and awesome doodles) in the comments.

Join the Worldwide Event: Hour of Code!

Do your students ask about coding or computer science? Are you looking for an easy way to dip your toes into the ocean of computer science? Never fear, the Hour of Code is almost here! Get your students, and yourself, excited about the wide world of computer science by participating in a worldwide event.

The Hour of Code started in 2013 as an opportunity to show how accessible coding can be to anyone with access to a computer. Hour of Code is focused on the premise that every student should have the opportunity to become well-versed in computer science. They explain their mission as helping to build creative thinking, enhance problem solving, and strengthen logic and reasoning through computer science.

With the boom of computer based industries and careers, it seems like a no-brainer to introduce coding and computer skills to younger and younger students. You might be shocked by these statistical representations of coding and computer science:

  1. 71% of all new STEM jobs involve computing yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in computer science
  2. Studies have shown that students’ favorite subjects are the arts and computer science
  3. Women who study AP Computer Science in high school are ten times more likely to major in it in college and Black and Hispanic students are seven times more likely– the key is to start education early!
  4. A student who majors in computer science in college can earn 40% more than the average college graduate
  5. Jobs in computer science are everywhere. In fact, computing jobs are currently the top source of new jobs in the U.S.
  6. Only ten states have developed K-12 standards for computer science.
  7. In 2013, only 12 states allowed computer science to count for a math or science high school graduation requirement and now 34 states and D.C. allow it- some requirements are statewide, while other states let the schools decide

Source: https://hourofcode.com/us/promote/stats

Less than half of the schools in the U.S. teach computer science . Hour of Code is on a mission to change those statistics! Last year, the wildly successful Hour of Code helped engage over 100 million students in computer science. This year, Hour of Code hopes you and your school will join the movement. No experience is necessary and the lessons are applicable to all ages. Hour of Code provides free one hour tutorials in over 45 languages and have already registered almost 70,000 events for this year!

Hour of Code happens each year during Computer Science Education Week. This year, it will be December 4-10.

Check out their simple how-to tutorial to see how you can run an Hour of Code and sign up to take part in this incredible and enriching experience. Make sure to watch some of the success stories from past years to get inspired!

BONUS CHALLENGE: You have an opportunity to win a celebrity chat for your class when you create an app, game, or design with Code.org and tag #HourOfCode and one of their celebrities to have a chance at winning a special video chat for your class! Check out what the celebrities are looking for in the projects, here!

We hope you can take advantage of this great program and let us know your thoughts once you do- happy coding! Please let us know if you would like more information about introducing a computer science curriculum to your school. You can also find year-round lesson plans and coding games at code.org.

Coding in the Classroom Series: Codecademy

Diving into the world of Computer Science can be a bit overwhelming for many students and teachers. Don’t be intimidated, there are dozens of online services that are dedicated to teaching students to code in fun, friendly and interactive ways. We wanted to dedicate a few blog posts to talk about some great options to start coding in the classroom. Enjoy!

Whenever the subject of coding comes up, our first response is always, “Have you tried Codecademy?” Codecademy is an excellent tool for easing students and teachers into the world of coding. If you have never written a line of code in your life, this is the place to start. The program is entirely free for the bulk of its content and spans many levels and languages. What makes Codecademy so accessible is that everything can be done from within the browser on any device. Since Codecademy does not require external downloads or applications, it can be used on shared devices like chromebooks, iPads,or lab computers. This means you never have to worry about saving files, distributing files to a class, or any of the messy techy jargon that can bog down the learning process.

Everything in Codecadamy is kept in one, easy-to-use place that allows teachers to track students progress. They provide a very clean, simple user interface with step-by-step instructions on the left side bar, a large colorful simplified text editor in the center, and the console output on the right. This layout is important because it allows the students to work on one page without needing to tab between several different windows and files.

Codecademy provides starter code and asks students to fill in bits and pieces rather than creating entire documents from scratch which can be very daunting for a beginner. With this program, everything is self contained within the web browser, which makes getting it up and running very easy. Codecademy offers courses in nearly every programming language and is an excellent choice for teachers who want to teach their students the basics of programming for free. Although most of Codecademy is free, they do offer a Pro Version for $20 per month. This adds additional features including projects, guided learning paths and quizzes. However, most of this is extra information and Codecademy does a great job of making all the content you need completely free.

Let us know what you think- is Codecademy a hit or are you still looking for other options to explore the world of coding with your students?

Introducing the Google Expedition Pioneer Program

Google’s new Expedition Pioneer Program gives teachers the opportunity to provide their students with more interactive, immersive lessons- bringing the world into the classroom. Using their AR technology, this program maps out the physical classroom so students can look through a screen at their classroom and look at placed 3D objects. These 3D objects are not actually in the classroom but they can be seen through the screens using Google’s AR technology. For example, students can look at a 3D depiction of a tornado; they can walk around it and look at it up close to learn about how this storm works. It’s easiest to watch in action to understand what this program can do to elevate your students’ learning.  

Interested in signing up for this innovative opportunity? Sign up here and let us know what you think!

Google Calendar: New and Improved

Google has listened to feedback from customers over the years and implemented some refreshing updates to our beloved Google calendars.

  • Need to book a room for a meeting? New features allow G Suite admins to put more information about meeting spaces into the calendar such as where the space is, if it has tech and audio equipment, how large the room is, and if it is wheelchair accessible.
  • In addition to this added information, event invites can now include spreadsheets and documents that can be opened directly from the “Event Detail” view. This way, you can have all of the materials in one place for your meeting that all participants can access. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 8.50.16 AM

  • You can now view multiple calendars alongside one another in “Day” view. This allows those of us who manage several calendars to create meetings more efficiently for our teams. When you select “Day” view from the dropdown menu on the right hand side, you can then select individual calendars to compare them side by side to see each person’s availability for that specific day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Add new events quicker by clicking a blank space in the calendar. A screen will pop up for you to enter in the title of the event, the time, and which event the calendar belongs in. If you want to put more information such as add or edit guests, simply select “More Options”. You can also click the red circle at the bottom, right hand corner of the calendar to create events.

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.33.29 AM

 

  • View your calendar in different ways! You can choose to:
    • Hide your weekends
    • See your year at a glance
    • View the specific day (where you can compare different people’s calendars)
  • Your invitation status for events also got a facelift. If you have accepted an event, it will be all in one color. If you have selected “maybe” for an event, there will be diagonal lines across it. If you have not yet replied to the event, the event will just be an empty box that is outlined. Finally, if you have declined an event, it will be outlined and crossed out.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 9.13.18 AM

These are just some of the main features of the new Google calendar. To learn more details, check out Google’s post about their update!

Let us know what you think about the changes and, most importantly, happy scheduling!

 

iOS 11: New Features and Information

As we are sure you know, Apple has released the latest software for iPhones and iPads, iOS 11.  Apple is calling this update “A monumental leap for iPad” and there a few cool additions that may help educators in the classroom.  

As with any new software update, we highly recommend you do not update your iPads until we recommend it is safe to do so.  Typically, we will want to wait until iOS 11.1 is released and all the bugs have been worked out of the new software.  In addition, app developers (Schoology, Google, Pearson, Accelerated Reader, etc.) all need time to update their apps to work with iOS 11.

Upgrading your device to iOS 11 at this time may cause issues with performance and can not be easily reversed.

When it is safe to upgrade school iPads Beehively will be in touch to schedule this update with you directly.

In the meantime here are some additional notes on the new operating system:

 

Which Devices Support iOS 11:

All iPhones 5s and newer

iPad Pros

iPad Air & Air 2

iPad 5th generation

iPad mini 2, 3, & 4

Features Notable in Education:

New file browser that pulls files from supported cloud storage apps

Split view enhances multi-tasking by allowing two apps to display at once

New document scanner for filling and signing documents

Keyboard now displays numbers and commonly used punctuation without flipping between keyboards

 

Features Notable Outside of Education:

Drag and drop capability

Apple Pay is now integrated with iMessage

Photos has been updated to include more filters and Live Photos that create fun loops of video from your pictures

Redesigned App store

Increased Support for Apple Pencil

 

More Info: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-11/