Monday, 7 September 2009

Intranet survey

We have been using our current intranet structure and development platform for seven years now. It was developed by an ex student who was employed at the school to develop and bring it up to current ICT developments and in some cases future developments.

Though, it has been recognised that the current look and feel is getting rather old and dated and that there is a need for change. Using the Technology Achievement standards and the year 13 students who have studied web design at year 12 and doing the subject at year 13, and with a slightly changed course of web development, they have been entrusted with researching current trends of our school intranet and development of the future intranet.
They have noticed some interesting trends of development so far with the use of to handle the results and analayse the votes of some 184 students, which is 10% of the school.

85% of students use the school intranet, although a number don't know that it exists as it is not the first page that loads up when the students access the Internet browser. Normally this is a page as we have an issue with log ins not grabbing the right policy.
Almost 50% of students access the intranet between 1-3 times per week. With 11% of students accessing the intranet over 10 times per week.
This will create an interesting task in making sure that we keep students coming back, are we after changes every day or once a week.

Most students are looking at the school notices, this is a rather interesting point, as notices should be read out in form class each morning, they are mostly printed and given to form teachers at morning meeting. So something must be going wrong here. There has been mention by a couple of students that previous day or days notices would be appreciated to go online as well. For year 13 students with study in the morning, they would like to access notices at home to see what changes they have during the day, also various visits. Though this brings in another point that students would like to see included in the thought of the intranet. University visits to be made more public and informed, a calender to show when they are coming up. Thoughts point to using the schools LMS, KnowledgeNET, though various questioning of students through the survey show that almost 50% of students do not know what knowledgeNET is or how to access it. Students have pointed to the fact they they struggle to find information, it is not clear on where things are or what is available, as many of the pages have links that are not yet active. Which is causing some students to give up using such a valuable resource.

What would they like to see on the school intranet?
House events, career information, subject selections, access to the school library, access to google apps.
I myself see our school intranet being used as a portal for students.

Internet portals are virtually dead, but a portal approach can tame the unruly chaos on internal company networks. Intranet portals overcome many Internet portal limitations, and might be the best hope for productivity and a unified user experience.
This is where I see our future development going, though there is still a question, access. Should it be able to be access from home, or should it be an in school thing? Should we put all of our eggs in one basket. KnowledgeNET allows for a public area to be developed and changed, though I see the issue of Internet Traffic. Internet traffic and connectivity is still an issue at school and home. We still have students with dial up access, though this value is getting smaller as more parents see the value of the Internet as being a part of their daily lives. Then there is the apple ipod developments going on, with some thought possibly in the future of a mobile portal for school to be put on the cards in the development of the school intranet.

We then could put all of this on google sites,

Google offers templates, a rich-text editor, 10GB of storage for each Google Apps account and integration with other Google services so you can embed gadgets, calendars, spreadsheets, presentations, photo slideshows and videos. You can invite people to collaborate or just view a site and you can also publish the site so that anyone can view it.
This goes back to connectivity and traffic. One of the solutions that could be used is wordpress being hosted on a server at school. This provides us the solution to put up a media rich site with various gadgets being hosted inside the school, When future connectivity and traffic issues are sorted with the roll out of fibre connections to the gate, then we are ready to provide access outside of school.

Students are busily writing their report on the results from the survey, which will steer them in the development of the future portal/intranet.

One thing I would like to see is some google analytics on the site, to see where students go and what they are looking at,

If you can reach the above URL using your network's internet connection, you have satisfied the first requirement. Additionally, your intranet must be accessed using a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) such as The ga.js JavaScript will not work if your intranet is accessed using a non-FQDN (such as http://intranet). Copied from google
This seems that we would have a problem running it on our site, though I would like to see an alternative that was able to run on our system. It seems that would be a suitable alternative to run, and is simple enough to install on our own webservers.

KnowledgeNET Stats
We have been in contact with the management of the system at school for a copy of the login logs of students and staff on knowledgeNET, out of the 1850 students and 120 staff, only 546 have ever logged in successfully into knowledgeNET. 4281 successful logins have happened, so it shows that some students have accessed this multiple times, one student has accessed the site 262 times over this year, the top teacher has accessed the site 86 times.

Some of the student comments:
- A range of things - Arts and Culture, Sports, Careers, and other interesting school related events - Bollywood Night, School Productions, International Day - Information regarding these (permanent instructions to partake etc)

- Past notices (few days back maybe) - Upcoming events, possibly like the calendar available on knowledgenet which is quite useful occasionally. As a side note, syncing with google calendar would be useful. - Library catalogue These would probably be useful only if available at home

- Video access - Drama and Media Studies Recent books/movies- Hard to find any good ones these days (books especially)

- Arts and Culture, Careers, House Events (needs to be regularly updated), Videos/Presentations shown in assembly throughout the week

- Yes all of those but also it would be better if it was updated regularly because some of the stuff is pretty old.


Where to go to next?

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