How to Use the Internet to
Communicate with Your Audiences
New Jersey School Public Relations Association
Spring Workshop, April 30, 1999
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Lewis Carroll published Sylvie and Bruno Concluded in 1893.
In Chapter Eleven - The Man in The Moon, we find the following dialog:
Mein Herr looked so thoroughly bewildered that I thought it best to change the subject. What a useful thing a pocket-map is! I remarked.
That's another thing we've learned from your Nation, said Mein Herr, map-making. But we've carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?
About six inches to the mile.
Only six inches! exclaimed Mein Herr. We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!
Have you used it much? I enquired.
It has never been spread out, yet, said Mein Herr: the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.
The Internet as a map of the world.
- The Internet is "spread out" over the entire world and does not shut out the sunlight.
- Millions of people are making the "map" (Internet) larger every day.
- Millions of people are using the Internet to "surf" the world.
- The Internet reflects more than a mile-to-mile scale of the real world.
- Web sites present information about the contemporary world.
- Web sites present historical information.
Who are the audiences that you can reach on the Internet?
- Board Members
- Local Community and Businesses
- Prospective Community and Business Members
- The World - everyone with access to an Internet connection.
What do you want to communicate about your district?
- Your district's students are doing excellent work.
- Your district's teachers are doing excellent work.
- Your district's administrators are doing excellent work.
- Your district's parents are encouraged to and actually do communicate and participate.
- You have an excellent school district.
How can you use the Internet to communicate that you have an excellent school district?
Use your district and school web sites to:
- Publish exemplary student work.
- Publish web pages that enable your students to do excellent work.
- Publish web pages that enable your teachers to do excellent work.
- Publish web pages that demonstrate your teachers' and administrators' knowledge and expertise.
- Publish school and district web pages that provide your audiences with important and valuable information about your district.
- Provide your audiences with an opportunity to contribute to and communicate with your district through your web site.
Web sites designed by Harold Olejarz
- Benjamin Franklin Middle School, Ridgewood, New Jersey
- Art Educators of New Jersey
- Harold Olejarz, Artist and Educator
Information and Links to Related Web Sites
When building your own school web site you may want to incorporate some of the services or ideas offered by commercial web sites. SchoolNotes.com provides a valuable free community service that allows teachers to post homework and other school information on their web site using a very easy web interface. The beauty of this service is the ease in which a teacher or school group. This free service is supported by advertising.
Many people on the internet use a listserv to communicate to large groups. A listserv is a kind of group mailing list. A member of a listserv sends an email message to the listserv and the listserv then sends the message to everyone on the list. Schools may consider setting up a listerv for their teachers, parents or students in a specific grade, activity or club. Some teachers use a listserv to communicate with the students in their class. eGroups.com enables groups to communicate, share ideas, exchange documents, and coordinate events. Individuals can set a free eGroup list that others may join. Email sent to the list is automatically sent to everyone on the list, just like a listserv. This free service is supported by advertising.
School groups may use calendars posted on the internet to share schedules with others. Yahoo! Calendar lets you set up a free individual or group calendar that may be public or private. This service is supported by advertising. Ridgewood's OnTime Calendar software provided by Livelink OnTime Web Edition.
Yahoo! Clubs help you create bulletin boards which members can post messages for one another. You also have access to a club chat room. Clubs can be listed or unlisted and the Club Administrator may delete members of the club.
School Web Site Listings
You will find an extensive listing of school web sites at Web66: International School Web Site Registry. They provide links to school web sites from all over the world. Web66: New Jersey School Web Registry is a listing of New Jersey school web sites. If you have a school web site, you should register your site with Web66 and similar listings. Baxter's EduNET - EduNET's Choice Links is a listing of selected school web sites. There are other groups on the web like Baxter that provide listings to outstanding school web sites. Looking at other school web sites will help you clarify what to do and what not to do on your own school's web site. Having students evaluate other school web sites is a good way to get feedback from students for your web site.
Examples of Student Work
ThinkQuest® is an annual contest created by Advanced Network & Services, Inc. ("Advanced Network"). They state that "the purpose of the competition is to promote the Internet Style of Learning - an interactive, participatory style that encourages students to take advantage of the Internet as a constantly growing source of information and as a powerful collaborative tool." Their Library of Entries lists educational web sites created by students for the ThinkQuest and ThinkQuest Junior contests. You will find some exceptional web projects here. You can also find examples of both teacher and student work in the Virtual Almanac area of the Benjamin Franklin Middle School, my school's web site. The BF Ridgewood Smoking Ordinance is an excellent example of a student creating a web site to inform the public about their accomplishments. In this case, BF students got the Ridgewood Town Council to pass a no smoking ordinance.
Student and Teacher Resource Web Pages
Education Index provides great links to Education Resources for k-12 teachers and students. The Blue Web'n Learning Sites Library (Pacific Bell site) also provides links to curriculum materials and internet learning activities for k-12 students and teachers. Mr. Warner's Cool Science! was developed by a science teacher at Frontier Trail Junior High in Olathe, Kansas. This site contains many helpful pages including a Teacher Resources page and a Research Page containing links to internet resources of value to students, teachers and parents. Another teacher resource page may be found at http://www.edhelper.com. The Virtual Library of Benjamin Franklin Middle School is the area of the BF web site that provides links to internet resources for students, teachers and parents. Many of the resource pages were created by students. Resource web pages can help teachers develop new and exciting lessons or enhance lessons they are already teaching. They can also help students access resources that will enrich their school experiences, and help parents help their children with their school work.
District Web Site Examples
Putnam Valley Homebase page is an example of a district web page that gives a visitor an overview of the school district. The Putnam Valley School District page has a comprehensive page with links to important district information. Their site also offers a page with one of the most complete listings of links to Educational Standards. This page, Developing Putnam Valley's Educational Standards: Overview, is a fine example of using the internet to provide important information to your teachers and your community. If you are working on a district, school or class web page take a look at Putnam Valley's page entitled: Some Ideas for Creating Good School Web Pages, it is another example of a page that provides helpful information.
School/Community Communication Examples
School web sites should also provide audiences with an opportunity to contact a school's staff. The Benjamin Franklin Middle School has a Contact Us page that lists school contact information. The Virtual Offices area of my school's site provides links to the Principal's Office, Main Office, Guidance Office, and Nurse's Office. There is also Parents' Center on the BF web site. This area of the school site provides parents with information about the school and gives them a place to publish information they would like to share.
All work on this site ©Harold Olejarz 1997 - 1999 and the artists credited. No images or text may be used for commercial purposes without written permission from Harold Olejarz. Personal or educational uses are allowed with permission from Harold Olejarz.