Tuesday, August 29, 2006

School Web Pages and Ads

HI All,

Long time, no blog. This issue caught my eye. It is a new version of the old, "a soda company wants to buy us a wicked cool billboard, should we accept it?", problem.

School web sites mostly underperform. This is understandable. There generally is not enough time or resources to dedicate to it so a teacher and/or a group of kids usually get the task. These generous souls (myslef included when I was in the classroom) offer much of their free time to this task and should be applauded. The problem is that there is often no systematic way to update the information in the various categories and so you get images from the October pep-rally staring at you in April. Web savvy parents who expect to see breaking news being covered on the site are sadly disappointed. Initial enthusiasm for the work wanes as the year goes on and an important resource is under utilized by all.

(A personal note... Ms. Betsy Nagurney does a great job at Scofield Magnet MS with little to no help. http://www.magnetmiddle.org)

So, a company says we'll step in and run the site and make it look fresh by sending all sorts of info feeds to it and all you have to do is watch the advertising on the site to compensate them. One could understand why a school might take the bait.

The issues are: 1) Should we be subjecting our kids and parents to the advertising? 2) Shouldn't a school district have the internal resources necessary to support this kind of work from within, in this day and age? 3) Do you think that an outsourced job on a school web site will carry the same meaning as an in house production? Should we not be thinking about the lost authentic learning opportunity that it represents for the kids who Would be involved?

What do you think?

Jim :-)

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