I just had a major “duh!” moment yesterday when I was on the computer replying to an email, I think the 5th one about meeting for a “Communication” committee for my daughter’s school. I was getting irritated at how it’s taken weeks to figure out when to meet when in my experience, working on SaaS applications, developing community sites, that just about all of what we need to do can be accomplished through email…
Really it can! I know this because I have created online communities that cross borders, bring people together locally and have simplified what it means to ‘be online’ for many people who otherwise don’t do the ‘social online thing’ because they didn’t get it. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and opening up to it can make the world a MUCH better place.
Then I realized, that was a service that I can offer to schools! I can create sites, like the one I have for Moms with MS that are communicating internationally about dealing with multiple sclerosis while raising their families, and that schools can increase their efficiency, at least communication wise, exponentially!!
I see using something like ning, I have one set up but not launched you can see HERE, where the blog posts can be news items and announcements, forums can be discussions about any given event or item that needs discussion, and the groups can represent grades, committees, classes, etc. and can streamline communication to those different sub-sections of the school without even really having to think about it!
I’m working on an ebook to describe how to create a site like this for your school covering the following:
1.) Why would we want a website?
-Increase overall parent involvement (especially parents that aren’t able attend meetings)
-Increase fundraising opportunities across the school
2.)How does it work?
Online community gives a place for parents and teachers to collaborate and discuss things that need to be discussed at all hours of the day,
-SAHM can post ideas while baby is sleeping in the morning
-Working parents can post comments and ideas when they have breaks between meetings or during their commute (if they are not driving!) and
-Teachers can post during the time kids are in PE or after school. All participants can stay updated on everything that is going on at all times despite maybe not being able to attend any meetings.
3.) How do we set it up?
There are many options for online collaboration, sites like facebook provide a forum type setting, my favorite of the moment is Ning.com which has forums, blogs, and groups in addition to a wide variety of custom applications for posting classifieds, selling promotional gear, and much more and so this option is what we will be focusing on.
I will describe the basics for how to create a site like this, you can also hire someone to do this part for you if you don’t have time.
-Community site creation
-Filling out all information to optimize the SEO for the site and make it so that users can easily find it
-Setting up the profiles with appropriate questions and information needed to keep track of who is who
-Setting up all the appropriate groups and roles for your school
-Making an intro page explaining to users how to interact with the site
*Setting up fundraising tools with cafepress, amazon, google etc.
*Defining the ad space, who it will be sold to, what the rates are etc. to be raise money and also cover the cost of the site.
-Last but not least….inviting all the families and teachers!!!
4.) What kind of maintenance is required once it is set up?
-Updating the site
If you are interested in being contacted or notified when it is available please comment on this post and I will notify you when it is complete!