I am very proud of my school. And I'll bet you are proud of yours, too. To show our pride, we have done two Internet projects showcasing our school and our town. We also recently installed a kiosk in our office that takes visitors on a virtual tour of both Our Home Town and Tour de Millennium Actually, these are simple projects that can be taken on by any school, even elementary schools.
First, I recommend surfing the Internet to get an idea of what other schools are doing. I just went to my favorite search engine, Google and typed in "school tour" in the search box. I got a list of Web-based school tours right away. One of my favorites was the King Edward's School in Birmingham, England but this was mainly because it was done in Flash, and I love Flash.
Our magnet director at my school wants a 3D tour of some of our classrooms and of our auditorium, "Millennium Hall." The Hall was designed by IMAX and is quite spiffy for a middle school auditorium. I bet that your school has something special that could best be shown off by 3D, too. There are different types of 3D. One example is the Eastview High School 3D tour.
I also recommend that you work with the students and the administration to come up with a plan. Students have their own ideas about what other students visiting your tour site will want to see. Administrators know what parents will be looking for. In the end, you can come up with a nice little tour.
I recommend getting a digital camera for ease of posting pictures directly to the Internet. Second, I recommend teaching your students how to use the camera. These types of projects mean more if they are done by the students themselves.
There are many types of digital cameras, some good, some not so good. Though it's not of the best quality, I prefer the simplicity of the Sony Mavica. It uses an ordinary floppy disk to store the pictures, and this disk then goes directly into a computer so that the pictures can be loaded onto the hard drive and then onto the server.
Ideas for tour:
- Do a history of your school. I know you might be surprised at what you will learn, as will your students and their parents. For example, I did not realize that our school, with its new buildings and 2000 students in grades 6-8, actually started in a small building and only housed about 200 7th graders. I also didn't realize that our wonderful secretary, Mrs. Washington had been at our school since its beginning in the 1970's.
- Ask what does your school focus on? Our school is a Fine Arts and Communications magnet, so it is important for us to show our students doing things like band, drama and foreign languages.
- Show learning in action. Parents love to see that
- Show students having fun. Students love to see that
- Don't show maps to your location. I feel very uncomfortable with the thought of our school map on the internet, so I do NOT include one. We do include a map on our kiosk in the office.
- Include other departments. This would be a great chance to showcase work done by all the departments. I know that we are working with the art department on the introductory screen for the kiosk.
- Take it live on the Internet and show everyone how proud you are of your school!
Email: Rosemary Shaw