Tuesday, 1 April 2008

21st century learning environments - a great 'on line' virtual tour

I frequently visit school websites as part of my work, and like so many websites they can vary enormously in quality. Some are very good, but all too many are incredibly cursory, out of date and poorly maintained. Schools with these poorly maintained websites project a poor image of themselves and undermine the work that they and their students do. They also discourage parents and visitors from revisiting the site to gain information, commmunication updates etc. In these cases schools would be better off without a web site at all. A high quality website takes time and concerntrated, consistent effort. Having said that, can any school not afford to have a fully functioning website as we model good practice in the 21st century to students, parents and the wider community.
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Many school websites contain a 'virtual tour', ranging from a line drawing plan of the school, supported by the odd photograph, to fully interactive moving images.
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One of the best school virtual tours that I have seen online recently belongs to the new Thomas Deacon Academy in the U.K. This fully interactive tour shows almost the whole building, and the viewer can zoom in, pan round and examine many parts of the building from the floor to the ceiling. The building looks great and extremely creative in the design, the use of light and finishes and crucially the variety of open and transparent teaching spaces - it looks like somewhere people of all ages want to be and where teaching are learning are visible and celebrated.
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Without discussing the rest of the website, the virtual tour is just fantastic and a real outstanding example of excellence. To view this virtual tour click: Thomas Deacon Academy.
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