NEWS • 12 May 2016

The Future of The Web and what it means for Schools

The web is always changing, so keeping a clear vision of the future is vital.

As a company, we always try to look ahead rather than getting comfortable with the status quo. The web moves so fast that without a vision of the future, you can easily get lost in the past. For schools, it’s particularly important not to let your digital presence age beyond repair. Just as cats mature faster than humans, we think of one normal year being the equivalent of five web years!

So what is the status quo with Schools?

Currently most schools divide their digital presence into two:

  1. The public facing website about the school aimed at two audiences: Marketing driven content for prospective parents; and activity driven content primarily aimed at current parents who often tend to be seeking news, event info and sports fixtures and results. Combining these two facets with the site does work well as showing the vibrant activity happening with the school is often the best way to attract prospective parents.
  2. The non-public School portal – which is used by staff, pupils and parents as a tool to manage the detailed workings of the school: Helping to organize homework, planning, tracking, resources and communication.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?
We think the main weakness of the status quo is that it relies on current parents to check the public facing website on a regular basis to find the news, events or other activity that their child has been involved in. Photos certainly say a thousand words and videos many thousands more and seeing their child scoring a try, or singing in the School Concert is the ‘golden content’ most parents are eager to see.

The problem is that most schools don’t have a mechanism for telling parents that this golden content has been loaded on to the site. Schools do send newsletters but these tend to be general headlines (boring!), not customized newsletters about one’s own child (golden!). They also take a huge amount of work to compile – we frequently hear of marketing managers knocking their heads against the wall trying to get their monthly newsletters out.

So what’s the solution?
Our vision is that every piece of content about the school’s activity: News, events, photos and video should be tagged with the school group involved (year, class, house, team, orchestra, play or individual).

Adding this extra layer of data allows us to send automated image-based emails (yes, that means no work involved!) to every parent with all the golden content about their child: The photos of a recent class trip they did, a video of their House Concert, or a sports report of their last fixture.

Instead of having to check the site on a frequent basis to see if this content has been added, the content comes to them. If they do check the site directly, we can also render a totally customized site, with interesting content about their child.

This offers huge and tangible value to parents with no more administrative work than the current set-up.

Sound good?
We are integrating this functionality into our new sites as well as retro-integrating into existing sites. Please get in touch if you’d like more information or a demo.

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