Building a strong sense of community in your school is a very essential step towards the overall growth of your students. A community is basically a setting made up of individuals who come together for a common purpose. A community should be so that welcomes members, gives them the opportunity to connect with each other and discuss their interests. Schools and classrooms are where children spend most of their time every week. To make them interact with each other, take more interest in academics, giving them an environment where they can communicate freely becomes important. This is when creating a community of your school comes into play. Moreover, if you are planning to create a school website, having a community feature can be really useful for your school and students as well.
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Adding Community Feature To Your School Website
In today’s article, we will discuss the importance of adding a community feature on your school website. We will also tell you how you can create a community website for your school.
Importance of Building Community Around Your School Website
The benefits of creating a community around your school website offer many benefits for your students as well as school. These include:
1. A Community Keeps Students Engaged
With an online community of your school or classroom, you can very well make your students engaged by letting them share their thoughts on certain topics in the community. An online community adds an engaging feature including peer to peer discussions, stating views, fostering healthy relationships and making learning more interactive for students. Moreover, an online community can also keep teachers engaged as they can communicate with other teachers and administrators in one place. They can also create groups of different important topics that need attention and can discuss that in the community.
2. Student Feel Safe And Connected
An online community is very important for students with special needs. Students who do not feel safe in the school or do not feel connected due to some behavioural issues can be benefited via an online community. They will not consider themselves under any burden or pressure of performing better than others and can express their opinions properly in a community. Moreover, students who find it difficult to connect with other students in school can also benefit from an online community.
3. Involve Students With New Activities
An online community can also empower students to take part in new activities that are happening around the community. With an online school community website, you can motivate and engage your students by organising various activities such as creating polls, involving them in fruitful discussions, setting up gamification and awarding them badges, asking them to share their feedback, and much more. This will boost their participation skills and keep them motivated in their studies as well.
4. Positive Relationship With Other Students
Having a community around your school can help your students build positive relationships with other students and teachers as well. Students may feel at ease connecting with their teachers online which can break down many barriers among them. Furthermore, with regular participation and healthy competition in the community, students develop a positive relationship with other students as well. Once your students feel a sense of belonging in the community, they will invest more of their time in learning and improving themselves.
How To Create A School Website With Community Feature?
Adding a community feature to your school website can be really important in offering students opportunities to build relationships. In addition, a community website fosters a sense of belonging, safety and participation in students which acts as a fuel to motivate them to learn more and achieve better. If you have decided to create a community around your school but are still confused on how to build one, read this step by step guide and in no time you will be ready with your school community website.
What A School Website With An Online Community Needs?
There are a few elements that most school websites have in common. But when including a community feature to your school website, the requirement increases. It includes:
- A Home Page
- An About Page
- Courses Offered
- Faculty Bio And Information
- Registration Form
- Contact Form
Community Features include:
- Activity Updates
Extended Features if any.
Steps To Create A School Community Website
1. Appropriate Domain Name And Hosting Plan
The first step is to decide a domain name for your school community. The name should represent your school and hence is an important aspect. Usually, school, college or educational institution use their own name as the domain name. Once you are ready with your domain name, you are required to sign up for a hosting plan as per your needs. Thus, in this step, you need to register a domain name and sign up for a web hosting.
2. Install WordPress Platform
Now is the time to install a preferred platform you want to build your school website on. Our suggestion would be to go with WordPress as this platform allows you to easily create any type of website. Moreover, this platform is free and can be used to create a website without any coding skill. Therefore, if you want to quickly start a school website with community features you can install WordPress.
3. Install Relevant Plugins
To give your school website, the desired functionality, you will be required to install certain plugins which are free and can be easily downloaded.
Currently, the functionality your school website needs is a community feature.
For the community feature, you will be required to install BuddyPress Plugin which is a social networking plugin for WordPress. This plugin is the most popular and free plugin that offers all the community features mentioned above such as activity streams, member profiles, messaging, groups, friends and much more. Thus, if you want to integrate a social community feature to your website, this plugin is suitable for you.
If you also want to include a forum functionality on your website where you can allow your students and teachers to discuss various topics, you should install bbPress plugin for an added forum functionality.
4. Install A Dedicated Community Theme:
A website without design will not be able to attract visitors. Therefore, it is very essential to install a dedicated WordPress community theme which will give you the desired design.
Our choice of theme would be a stunning WordPress community theme Reign BuddyPress Theme that offers in-built support for BuddyPress plugin.
This theme is suitable for your school community website as it offers numerous features to help you get started quickly. It offers:
- Multiple Member & Group Directory Layouts
- Multiple Member & Group Header Layouts
- BuddyPress Customization Options
- Inbuilt Social Profile Module
- Responsiveness For All Major Devices
- Multiple Header Variations
- Compatibility With Popular plugins like Elementor, Paid Membership Pro, WooCommerce Support and more.
If you also want to include e-learning capability to your school website such as allowing your students to take online courses, you can download a dedicated LMS addon called Reign LearnDash Addon which will offer you all the features of an e-learning portal and will also work great with this theme.
5. Build Required Pages And Content
Once you have configured the required plugins and themes, you have your basic setup ready along with the demo content. Now, create the required pages and add relevant content that you will have on your own school website.
To add a page, go to Pages> Add New Page via your admin Dashboard.
To add a post, go to Posts> Add New Posts via your admin Dashboard.
With Reign BuddyPress theme, you can easily use Elementor to design your site pages with easy drag and drop options.
You have come a long way till here and now it’s the time to celebrate and your website is ready. You now have a fully-featured school website along with a community feature to engage your students and teachers, increase their interaction and participation. Feel free to customize it the way you want.
We hope you found this article informative. If you have any suggestions for us, let us know in the comments below.