What Audience is Your Website For?

Who is Viewing Your Website_

Many schools fall into the trap of building a website for one audience – prospective families.  Even worse, some schools build a website with only current families in mind.  Often schools forget to think about the diverse audience that will be visiting their website.  This leads to many missed opportunities for donations, alumni connections, and community support.

While prospective parents should always remain the key audience, and a school’s sitemap, photos, and layout should cater to their needs, it is important to think about how a website can be welcoming and accommodating to all viewers.

Without a doubt, your largest audience is your future families.  Can they see themselves at your school?  Would their children fit in with the community?  What is a day in the life of a student like?  Prospective parents want to understand who you are just by exploring your webpage, assume they won’t come for a tour unless they have already fallen in love with your virtual presence.

The most frequent visitors to your site are likely current families.  Don’t let the information they need clutter your homepage though, it doesn’t speak to your other audiences.  Instead, use an internal portal or parent page to house the information they want to find with a simple click: calendars, forms, access to online grades, etc.  Don’t forget that they want simple, mobile-friendly access to stay up to date on the go.

The website can be a source of revenue too! Don’t forget about your potential donors. Online donations are quick and easy for people to participate.  Once a grandmother of 10 wanted to give each of her grandchildren’s schools $100.  Only one of the schools had an easy path for online donations, so she gave them the entire $1,000.  Your “Donate Now” button should be front and center, and your donation form should be quick and easy to fill out.

Use your website to connect with alumni.  They can be great ambassadors for your school and maybe future donors or parents in your community.  Have a place they can call their own and connect with your school today.

Is your school going through accreditation soon?  Your website could be the first interaction your visiting team has with your campus.  Make sure your site is up to date, matches your narrative and reflects the culture and community the visiting team will see when they arrive.

Your competition and neighboring schools may also view your website.  Are you looking to be a community leader in education?  Do you collaborate with any feeder schools?  Does your school have additional programs they want to highlight? We teach our kids not to brag, but it is okay to showcase your school’s success and strengths online.

Creating a website that recognizes the varying needs of your audience is critical.  A well-organized site map is key.  Don’t be afraid to use a primary navigation to address your most important audience, prospective families, and a secondary navigation to engage the rest of the community.

Contact us today for an evaluation of your current site and a free website mockup to help you meet the needs of all your audience members!

 

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.

Beehively Update: What Do These Flags Mean!?

You may have returned from Thanksgiving break to find some exciting new Beehively updates – including this little symbol appearing on the the Overview screen:Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.48.35 AM

The orange flag will appear beneath select students within a single subject area. You can see it under Troy’s Reading class in the below screenshot.

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If you try to enter a grade override in that box, it won’t save. What gives!? Well, this symbol signifies that Troy is not enrolled in that subject. Therefore, no Reading grade can be assigned to him.

This is especially useful if you have a mixed-level class. For example,  some students in your homeroom may not be in primary Math, but rather in Algebra. This symbol allows you to see, at a glance, which students are and aren’t assigned to primary Math.

If the student should be in a flagged subject, you can “edit” the subject, select “Add Students,” click Troy’s name and save. He’s now good to go!

If you ever forget the meaning of this symbol, hover over the mark for a short reminder.

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Other improvements include:

  • Improved speed on the Overview entry screen
  • Standards Based Report Card signature line improvements
  • Excused absences now count towards overall absent count

As always, support@beehively.com is available 24/7 should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions. Happy grading!

 

Beehively Update: Gradebook Improvements

Welcome to the new school year! We are staying busy here at Beehively – as our new gradebook is used by more and more folks, we continue to make changes to improve the user experience.

With the handy autosave feature of our new gradebook, we found some were having trouble with poor network connectivity impacting their grades. If a teacher enters grades without being connected to the internet – they don’t save to the gradebook. We definitely don’t want that!

In this release, we have implemented an error message when a grade doesn’t save. This allows users to know when their internet may be down, or another computer issue causes failure to save a grade.

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As shown above, a red error mark appears when a grade did not save successfully. If this happens, ensure your computer has a strong network connection or try to refresh the page. Keep in mind any grades with an error beside them will not be saved.

Next, we will cover the brand new “saving icon.” Displayed below is a user entering grades. Once he or she types in the points and hits “enter” to move to the next student down, a new icon will emerge (grey circular loading icon). 

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This icon signifies that the system is in the process of saving that grade. Once the grade is saved successfully, the icon will vanish. Look fast, because it goes away quickly! If your internet connection is sluggish, the saving icon may remain on your screen longer. If the grade loads far too long, this signifies potential network issues and the grade may move to “unsaved” error mode.

We hope these new icons will be helpful in cases of network or device issues causing gradebook problems.

Also look forward to our next release on September 17th! Some minor fixes and improvements include:

  • Created the option to remove the preferred name field in people profiles
  • Improved assignment saving (faster and better than ever!)
  • We improved the the assignment creation and edit dialogue so vanishing assignment issues are no more!
  • Fixed some stale data issues to resolve lingering assignment marks
  • Subject grades can now be entered by for all students at once using the overview screen
  • The ability to undo overridden grades is now up and running again
  • Warning message when accessing the new Gradebook using Internet Explorer
  • Improved category filtering in the new Gradebook
  • Newly created categories will now have blank weighting – no more 100% defaults!

As always, please contact support@beehively.com with any questions, concerns or suggestions!

The Buzz: Beehively Summer 2015 Updates

As we head towards the new school year, Beehively has worked on improving and streamlining the user experience. A few of our notable updates are listed below:

New Text Editor. You wished for a new text editor, and we listened! Included in this updated text editor are additional features:

  • Strikethrough text
  • Numbered & bulleted lists
  • Improved tables and –
  • Font choices!

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Report Distribution now has all report types. Progress reports, missing assignment reports and all formats of report cards are now available for your school to send home – completely paperless! If report distribution is not yet turned on for your school and you would like to try it out, contact support@beehively.com.

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We cleaned up the reports area. We streamlined the naming conventions of your favorite reports, so the staff can have a better and easier experience come report time.  Feel free to explore and find the best report for your school’s needs! Contact support@beehively.com if you have any trouble locating your previously used reports. They are all still there!

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Inline file viewing – parents can now view Beehively files* within their web browser, rather than having to download! *Applies to PDFs and image files.

Other improvements include:

  • Restored components of volunteer feature functionality
  • Various bug fixes, always to better your experience!

Google Forms: Creating Objective Based Quizzes and Tests

It is well documented that one of Google Classroom’s main objectives is to enable teachers to spend more time teaching and less time doing paperwork.  If you are interested in doing less paperwork, read on!  Google Forms, an application that is part of Google’s suite of Apps for Education, can make creating, distributing, collecting, and grading a snap. Using Google Classroom will require some familiarity with Google Drive.  For a quick review of Google Drive, here’s a Google produced introductory video (click here).  After watching, continue reading.

To create your first Google form, navigate to Google Drive.  Click “new” and and then “Google Forms” (You’ll want to make sure you have a folder created for the form that you’ll be working from.  Keeping forms and related files organized helps to efficiently locate the student results when you’re ready to grade the assessment).

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This action brings up the forms editor.  Adding fields to capture the student’s name and other important information is your first priority.  Make sure you choose “text” for question type. Other common tasks are naming your document, giving your form a title, choosing a theme, and finally adding your content.  Creating assessment items such as true/false, multiple choice, or choosing from a list are among several choices.  Just have your test bank handy and you’re on your way.

To see how your test will look to students, click “view live form.”  After you’ve become comfortable with your first item,  add more items until your test is complete.  Click the “add item.”  Before publishing to yours students, you’ll want to revise your form a couple of times. 

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Now that you’ve created your test, getting it to the students is the next task. To distribute the test, there are several available options: you can share the viewable live form with an individual or group or class.  For our purposes, we’ll distribute via Google Classroom. First, view the live form and copy the url. Navigate to Google Classroom. Post an announcement for your class to take the test.  Add the link by clicking the “add link” icon. 

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To view your the student responses, click “view responses” at the top of the menu bar.

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Manual grading is an option, but it’s not recommended.  In our next blog we’re going to cover how use a free Google Education script called “Flubaroo” that can grade an entire class quiz in just a few seconds.

How does one become more proficient?  The best way to get proficient at using Google Forms is to simply begin using it.  The more you use it, the more comfortable you’ll feel.   If you get stuck and need help, feel free to reach out to us here at Beehively  (support@beehively.com).  Thanks for reading.  If you have a topic that you’d like us to cover, please send us your suggestions.

Support

Need help with your device or your school’s devices? Feel free to contact us here at Beehively support@beehively.com.

Professional Development

Beehively offers a wide range of professional development seminars designed to meet the needs of your organization.  Contact your Beehively account representative to further explore these opportunities.

Buzzworthy Apps: ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.16.32 AMNow that we’ve all been busy incorporating the California Common Core State Standards into our classrooms, it’s apparent that there’s a common theme that relates to technology.  Although there is a progression of the standards themselves from one grade level to the next, here’s an excerpt from grade 5, “With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.”

Although most teachers who have been teaching the last several years are already familiar with this imperative, getting started can be overwhelming. Without support, equipping students to properly use technology and the internet to write, publish, and collaborate is a tall task. At Beehively our goal is to provide the support superintendents, principals, and teachers need. 

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard is an audio/visual presentation tool.  These presentations, called ShowMes, use text, drawing, photos, and or voice over annotation to publish and share ideas.  Upon launching the app, you’ll see an elegant intuitive user interface.  Simply choose a tool, tap the record button and off you go.  Students can demonstrate a math skill, explain a science concept, publish ideas, and interact and collaborate with others.  Students  could even work in partner groups to explore/demonstrate ideas.  However, that’s only the beginning.

ShowMe is also an excellent instructional resource as well. Teacher’s can record a lesson and then share it with their students for viewing on an iPad, Chromebook or  desktop PC.  This app is helpful for introducing, teaching, reteaching, or for differentiated instruction.  ShowMes (as they’re called) can easily be incorporated for use in Google Classroom.

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To see ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard in action, just check out some of the teacher created ShowMes.  Just point your browser to www.showme.com.  You’ll be able to view amazing ShowMes on any subject from math, science, history, ELA or fine arts. It was recently given a 4 out of 5 stars teacher rating by the folks over at Graphite (www.graphite.com). To get this free to use app, click here.

Support

Need help with your device or your school’s devices? Feel free to contact us here at Beehively support@beehively.com.

Professional Development

Beehively offers a wide range of professional development seminars designed to meet the needs of your organization.  Contact your Beehively account representative to further explore these opportunities.