Carrying on from my previous post, where I bemoaned the fact that lockers shouldn’t really have a place in schools anymore, or at least not in the form that they currently have, I started seeing lots of other things that I think schools should get rid off. The next thing that I noticed was the old school noticeboard. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – the one that’s usually a gift from a graduating class, or a P and F committee, and probably cost at least a couple of thousand dollars.
I can see that they had a purpose at some stage. It’s great for students and parents to be able to see events as they either walk into school or get dropped off. It serves a little bit of a purpose for advertising a school, but only in the passer-by kind of approach, so the reach is limited by the location of the school. And of course, if, like me, you still have one of the really old ones, then some poor sap has got to change it – at least every week. I bribe the students with cans of coke to do it, but then I have to check for spelling, grammar and punctuation issues. Also, a noticeboard is only useful if it gets updated regularly – no one really comments on an up-to-date one, but you can guarantee every person will spot one that’s not up to date!
Some schools have spent six thousand dollars or more on the fancy new electronic signboards. I know they’re not exactly new, but I’ve seen, at least around my house, ltos of schools going down that path. It solves some problems, but still has the same number of limitations regarding location and usefulness.
So what? And why should this disappear? Well, I think it’s like this. Most people that I know – and I don’t think it’s even a generational thing, because I think that’s changed – will look something up on the internet first – websites, facebook, Yelp and the like. So the old noticeboard is kind of pointless – before people have already seen your school, they’ve already made decisions – and most importantly, they’ve decided whether they will see the school at all.
That’s why a school’s online presence is vital. Facebook and Twitter are replacing noticeboards. Of course, some of the limitations remain, and this is why schools sometimes fail when it comes to social media. Regular, at least weekly updates, are essential. Failure to do that, I’m sure, limits the effectiveness of the school’s presence on the web.