Building Home / School Partnerships

by Sandy  •  17 Apr 2014  •  Pedagogy, Showcase

Your school website and Ultranet virtual classroom can provide the perfect starting point to connect with your community and engage with your whānau.

Is your website looking a bit tired and need of a revamp? Do you want some simple ideas for connecting with your parents using your Virtual Classroom?   Below are some ideas showing how different schools have used Ultranet Webpages and Virtual Classrooms to connect with their community and engage with their whanau.

Our first examples are from Hanmer Springs School , Wairakei School and Merivale School. These school websites provide excellent examples of how Ultranet modules and other social media sites can be integrated under the one ‘roof’ to provide clear and succinct messages about the school, learning and events to the community.

These schools communicate events and notices and share student learning via the News Centre. The content in the News Centre is pushed through onto the home page so that it can be seen at first glance by the reader. Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds and google calendars are also embedded on to the homepage providing parents and caregivers with details about school events, cancellations etc.

 Celebrating Learning and the Community Spirit of your School

Te Puna School and Te Kura o Matapihi are just two of many Ultranet schools using 3rd party applications such as Vimeo, Youtube, Photobucket and Animoto  to bring their websites to life and to celebrate ‘a sense of community’ and student achievement.

Check out the TP News at Te Puna School.
Check out the Whanau Family Fun Day at Te Kura o Matapihi

 Specialist Interest Group Webpages

How do your special interest groups at school connect with their communities?  The following example is a student lead Enviro Group webpage at Omanu School.  A blog (using Blogger)  has been embedded into the page content using an iframe.  In addition to this, students can upload and comment on images in the Media Gallery module on the page. They can also share events through the Ultranet Calendar module. Could you set up a similar forum for your school Kapa Haka Group, Choir or Student Council?

Setting up a webpage in this manner invites the community to respond in two ways. Community members with their own user accounts provided by the Parent Portal functionality within Ultranet, are able to comment on the images in the media gallery.  The extended community (anyone without Parent Portal logins) are invited to respond via the blogger interface itself.

Enviro Blog

Enviro Blog

Communicate Classroom Learning via your Virtual Classroom

My final examples show how 3rd party applications such as blogs, google presentations and google docs have been added to the page alongside Ultranet Classroom tools to provide an integrated view of the learning activities that the children have been participating in.

In the junior examples, the learning logs are co-constructed with the teacher and the students are then able to share their classroom learning with their families by clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the presentations. The teachers at this school were already familiar with applications like Powerpoint and Keynote so the idea of building on this was the most obvious starting point for the school to begin sharing their classroom learning in an asynchronous manner.

The Learning Logs (created in Blogger and integrated into the Virtual Classroom) in the Y3-6 examples go one step further by making connections to other artifacts i.e. workflows in uSpace, artwork, videos and images in media galleries and other interactive tasks in progress in the Virtual Classroom.

What I enjoy most about all these Ultranet Website and Virtual Classroom examples is how Ultranet has helped to bring everything together under one roof. The concept of ‘Write Once, Promote Everywhere’ enables these schools to have multiple touch points with their community touch points which are not dependent on any one particular device or digital platform. Aggregating all this communication in one place, the school website,  also creates a fabulous sense of community and sets the school up for more in-depth home/school partnerships.

The Virtual Classroom examples are relevant, vibrant, collaborative and purposeful for both the students’ learning and for their families. When interacting with these pages I can almost feel and hear the vibes of the the happy, excited children going about their learning.

If you have any further questions about how any of these ideas were achieved please don’t hesitate to contact us as we are more than willing to help.