What's New in EduWeb 2005?

The main EduWeb 2004 program was downloaded over 900 times according to my website statistics.  I don't know exactly what this means, but I do know several hundred schools installed and used EduWeb in 2004.  Stu's EduWeb 2005 will be released during January.  To provide its many users and prospective users an idea of what it will include, this page contains a first look at this pretty impressive update.  The biggest change is the total revamping of the student webpages to provide an optional new structure specifically aimed at and designed for high schools.  The familiar 12-topic layout for K-6 schools remains, but has had a bit of a facelift.  Many other new features have also been included in EduWeb 2005.  Let's take a look!

This is the new EduWeb Setup program, the one that builds this huge school intranet thingy.  The school detail section at the top is unchanged.  In the yellow Student Pages section, you can still choose whichever school grades you wish to create webpages for.  At the bottom-right of the yellow section is a new option to include a link back to the 2004 EduWeb student pages structure (if you have one).  If you select this, on the main student grade selection page, there will be an extra button link to "2004 EduWeb" as shown below. 

Looking back to the EduWeb form above, the next big difference is the "Student Pages Layout" section.  The "K-6 School Layout" option will produce similar pages to that from EduWeb 2004 - with the 12 topic pages for each student.  But the "High School Layout" option lets you do some nice customising.  When selected, the panel shown above and to the right of the main EduWeb setup screen appears.  With this panel, you can setup the EduWeb student pages so that they are broken down by subject/faculty or whatever other grouping you'd care to make.  You can name anywhere between 2 and 12 subject groups (as long as it's an even number) and you can then also set the number of standard EduWeb Topic Pages to place inside each subject grouping.  That number can also be any even number between 2 and 12.  So here's what a high school student might see for their home page:

Of course, the "New Student" shown here would be replaced with each student's real name.  All of the subject names are fully customisable as shown above and your school can choose to only produce webpages with the subject groupings they desire. From there, as an example, the student clicks on "English" and the following screen is displayed:

Because 6 topics were selected in the original setup screen, only six topics are included on each subject page for each student.  But if you created 10 subject groupings and asked for 6 topic pages for each subject, you will end up with 60 webpages for each student!  A little thought is required in the setup process - there's little point in over-building the intranet structure if it has little chance of being used to capacity.  Perhaps a breakdown of 4 subject groups with 4 topic pages per subject is more manageable.  In any case, it's up to each individual school to decide.  Regardless of how you set it up, EduWeb 2005 is now the perfect student publishing tool for the high school situation as well as for K-6 schools.  Some advanced K-6 schools may even choose to use the High School Layout option of EduWeb 2005 to create their own subject groupings.

Speaking of K-6 students, I mentioned a "facelift" for the standard EduWeb student pages.  Here's what they look like now:

Previously, the "owl" (or student photo) went at the top, with the "Hi! My name is..." below.  This took up too much space vertically, so it's been laid out a bit nicer now.  As well as that change, there are also new shortcuts below the name to allow the student or teacher to quickly open the student's Work folder, Images folder and now the new PowerPoints folder to view/find/edit their contents. This can now be done directly from their web page (Windows only), with the folder opening in a separate "My Computer"-type window.  The final change is that if you choose to include the Student Writing Portfolio, it will automatically be installed and linked as Topic 12, ready for use!  The "Add a New Student to EduWeb" utility (for creating EduWeb structures for students that enrol after your EduWeb was first created) and the EduWeb Topics Utility (for transferring work templates into student topic pages) have also been updated to work with either the K-6 or the High School layout.

Interesting so far?  Let's see what else has changed:

The only difference visible on the main EduWeb page is the replacement of the SRC (Student Representative Council) section with the new "Groups" section.  It was found that the SRC was merely one extra-curricula group among in some cases dozens that go to make up the fabric of a school.  To acknowledge that fact, the Groups page introduces the ability to create websites for all of those separate groups at your school.  Here's what's in the Groups section:

So the Student Representative Council now has a new home, along with five other groups that have been included.  Your school may or may not have these particular groups, and may have others.  It's a simple task to edit the Groups page to make any changes that you feel are necessary.  There's no reason why you couldn't have pages on your school intranet for ALL of those separate groups that are in operation.  Here's a closer look at the School Band page:

So, as you can see, it's just a template.  Fill it in, change the row headings, add extra rows, insert some photos, update it with new information and changes and you've got a great website for the school band so the whole school can know what's going on!

The Links page on the front page of EduWeb 2005 has also been updated.  The main changes here are that some links from the 2004 version have died and either needed to be changed or replaced.  Many of the sites on the Links page are highly recommended.  Take a look:

There is another Links page in the Staff Pages section of EduWeb 2005.  This page has also been updated to verify all weblinks and update or replace as necessary.  And while we're on the Staff Pages section, here's what it looks like now:

The only other change here is that the "K-6 Continuum" section has been replaced by EduWeb TaskForce.  The Continuum pages will still be installed onto the school's EduWeb structure, it just won't be linked on the staff page - you can reinstate the link yourself if it's a section you use regularly.  With the new extra focus of getting EduWeb into high schools, the Continuum just didn't sit right.

EduWeb TaskForce was released in August 2004 and is now included in the EduWeb 2005 suite.  TaskForce offers a simple, unique way of logging task requests for specific school support staff such as the school Computer Coordinator and the General Assistant for example. With TaskForce, any staff member can log a request using the in-built database entry tool and auto-generate the EduWeb TaskForce webpage that contains details of all outstanding (incomplete) requests logged. It then provides the support person with a shortlist of tasks to complete as well as a tool to manage all requests including marking requests as complete and regenerating the EduWeb TaskForce webpage. Tasks may also be automatically forwarded to external support staff and Help Desks with the click of a button.  Here's what the data-entry form looks like:

The advantages of EduWeb TaskForce are that it provides staff with a single data-entry point for all requests which is accessible at any Windows PC on the school intranet. It also gives staff an up to date idea of the number of requests outstanding and stops the “just while you’re here” syndrome that makes support staff less efficient overall. It offers support staff a single point of reference for all requests as well as a management tool that they can use to track work completed, including the production of Excel reports.  Here's what the users then see on the TaskForce tracking page, so they know where they are up to in the queue:

While EduWeb TaskForce may sound like a traditional “helpdesk” application, it isn’t really. Unlike a traditional helpdesk, TaskForce is aimed at a single support staff member (or a small team that works together), and most of all, it is VERY SIMPLE to use and uncomplicated in the data it captures.  Here's the TaskForce Admin Module:

The EduWeb Photo Galleries have been updated and extended.  Previously, there were six separate photo galleries and each could hold a maximum of ten photographs and display them in a slideshow.  There are now nine separate photo galleries:

The extra galleries are the breakup into Junior and Senior Classwork galleries and two extra Special Events galleries.  To make the task of placing and replacing your photos in a desired gallery, the EduWeb JPEG Gallery Tool has also been updated to allow for up to 30 photos.  Now there's even more reason to get students to apply to be school Photo Journalists!

Still to be completed for EduWeb 2005:

  • Two more On-line Self-Paced Training courses - one for Students and one for Administrators

  • Documentation updates for those that still read printed manuals

  • High School Teacher subjects/classes pages to link directly to the student pages for the students in each class

Summary of EduWeb 2005 Changes and Acknowledgements:

The main development for EduWeb 2005 commenced on January 4th, 2005.  The changes you see above including this webpage were completed on January 7th following three very long days and nights.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it all came together, but it helps when you have a plan for the development of the upgrade - where to start, what to include and how to do it.  To this end, while I designed and developed all of these new features from a software point of view, I was not responsible for the idea behind most of the changes.  They came from EduWeb users and I thank them all for their continued support.  Here is a summary of all of the changes that make up EduWeb 2005:

EduWeb 2005 Changes: Suggested by:
EduWeb TaskForce added to Staff Pages Steve Wilkins
Replaced 6 Photo Galleries with 9 Photo Galleries incl. Utility update Linda Babic
Increased number of Photos in Galleries to 30 each Linda Babic
Replace SRC section with new Groups section including Student Representative Council / Debating / School Band / School Choir / Drama / Chess Leanne Samootin / Paul Kerr
Writing Portfolio inclusion in EduWeb John Pritchard
New PowerPoints folder in each Student page John Pritchard
Links to Work / Images / PowerPoints folders on each student page John Pritchard
Structure for High School Layout for Student pages Leanne Samootin / Paul Kerr / Noel Brackenbury
Modified Student Page layouts Stu Hasic
Updated Links Pages Stu Hasic
EduWeb 2005 installation from hard disk rather than floppy Stu Hasic
Updated Add a New Student to EduWeb Utility Stu Hasic
Updated EduWeb Topics Utility to work in K-6 and High School mode Stu Hasic

There is no set date for the release of EduWeb 2005, but it will be before school resumes in NSW.  If you have any comments or suggestions about these changes, please e-mail me. 

Have a great 2005!

Stu Hasic.
Sydney, Australia.

Stu's EduWeb is designed and developed  by Stuart Hasic - stu_hasic@yahoo.com.  It is available free of charge for public schools in the state of New South Wales in Australia only.  Other schools interested in Stu's EduWeb should contact the developer directly. (c) 2001-2005 by Stuart Hasic