Site update 2.0

News article published at: Thu Apr 19 2012 10:52:31 am
Written by:

The Primary Channel has undergone a major software update.

Continuing the 'social interaction' theme begun with the introduction of the 'walled garden' email service, work has continued to develop the social media hub aspects of The Primary Channel. Links have been placed throughout the system to allow users to

  • Email each other directly
  • Allow files to be attached to emails as required by the curriculum standards
  • Comment directly on programmes, blog or news articles
  • Find friends and other pupils/staff easily and jump directly to their homepages
  • Maintain an Address Book of regular email contacts
  • Send an email to one or more recipients at once, a whole class or the whole school - or even several schools

 Work contributed by pupils and staff is sensibly re-purposed;

  • The new Newspaper function (available at School/Class/Person levels) consolidates news articles contributed by all users (subject to permission safeguards - eg; no pupil material is shown publicly).  For example
    • Viewed at the School level, the Newspaper collates
      • A section containing all the news articles written by the School
      • A section for each Class (provided they have news)
      • A section for each Pupil (provided they have news) - subject to permissions - ie, only logged-in users will see Pupil material
      • A section for each Teacher that has written material
    • Viewed at Class level, the Newspaper collates
      • A section for the news written by the Class (eg; reports of events or work that the class as a whole has engaged in)
      • Sections for each Pupil and Teacher associated with the Class
    • Viewed at Person (Pupil / Teacher) level, the Newspaper collates
      • The news written by that Person
  • The Newspaper also collects the latest relevant blog posts and published programmes


 Home pages at all levels (School, Class, Teacher, Pupil) have been enhanced

    1. School homepages now have a prominent "Find out how to contact or find us" that displays the school's contact page. We have noticed that a high proportion of public visitors to the site search for a school's contact details.
    1. People homepages (pupils and staff) now have a prominent "Where can you find me?" section that lists the classes and groups they are associated with.
    1. When displaying your own homepage, a prominent link appears to your email inbox - from where you can review messages, create new ones etc.
    1. When visiting another user's homepage, the email link changes to an "Email me" button that opens a pre-addressed email form. An "Add me" button also appears allowing the person to be added to the user's Address Book. The button disappears once the person is added.
    2. All homepages now have a "What's happening?" section that displays (with direct links) the latest two Programmes and the three latest Blog entries and News articles belonging to that homepage.
  1. If the user has sufficient authority (SCHOOLADMIN) a "Delete" button now appears on the class edit page. Two warnings are issued before the class is deleted. Pupils and staff associated with the class are not deleted but any programmes and documents created by the class will be deleted.
  1. The pupil list, staff list and class list are now available to all users. The detail shown on the listings is restricted according to the user's privilege level. Clicking on a line causes that user's/class's home page to be displayed.
  1. For users with sufficient privilege (TEACHER, SCHOOLADMIN or above) the pupil list now displays a "Mailbox" link. Clicking this link displays the pupil's mail box, allowing its contents (all sections) to be examined.
  1. A TEACHER viewing an email in a pupil's mailbox can WITHDRAW the message if it is deemed inappropriate. Withdrawal of a message has the effect of removing it from display in the sender's and all recipients mailboxes (as if it had disappeared). The message is not actually deleted but remains available for review by staff with SCHOOLADMIN or higher privilege.
    1. A new "Withdrawn messages" list is available from the school homepage allowing withdrawn messages to be seen and displayed. The system also keeps track and indicates those recipients who read the message before it was withdrawn.
  1. From the School home page:
    1. User accounts (pupils, teachers, visitors) can now be deactivated, either individually (eg; when a pupil leaves the school mid-year) or in bulk using the new Pupil migration function.
    2. A new Pupil migration function allows the easy transfer of pupils between classes or out of the school. If the option is taken to "leave the school", all pupil accounts will be deactivated. Leavers may optionally be moved to a virtual class (eg; "Past Pupils") allowing their work to be preserved. If school leavers are not moved to a new class, their work is deleted.
    1. Deactivated Pupils, Staff and Volunteers can be seen on respectivated "Deactivated .." lists from where the accounts can be edited and restored to active status if required.
  1. "Tell a friend" links have been placed on Blog, News and programme view pages. Clicking them opens an email form containing a link back to the page. If someone wants to tell a friend (actually any other email user(s)) they need only fill in the addressee(s) and (optionally) type a description of why they are passing on the link. Savvy users might consider this a way of "marketing" their work - a click of the link and address it to the class or the whole school!
  1. Email attachments
  • The types of file that can be attached are
  1. MS Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint - all in Office-2010 and prior formats)
  2. Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files
  3. Plain text files
  4. Sound files
  5. Video files
  6. Image files (photos, graphics etc.)
  • In the case of media files (sound, video, image) the same, wide range of formats accepted for programme creation are accepted