Why Upgrade to School Jotter 3?

Published: February 17, 2021

If you’re a customer of School Jotter, you will have heard lots already about School Jotter 3 and many of the improvements that we’ve made from our previous website platform. But for those of you who are new to us, we wanted to tell you a little more.

The history of School Jotter

Since its original release in 2008, and with the School Jotter 2 upgrade in 2012, School Jotter has undoubtedly been one of the most popular school website platforms in the UK, with over 6,500 designed and delivered using this software.
But as always technology moves on, as do customer requirements, so we’ve rewritten the School Jotter software from scratch and in 2021 are bringing you school Jotter 3.

What’s new about School Jotter 3?

We’re confident that School Jotter will give schools a more delightful user experience when it comes to controlling and managing their websites. But School Jotter 3 is not just a website content management system, it also offers mobile apps for iOS and Android, which we’ll talk more about in our next post.
We’re proud of the research and development that has gone into the brand new School Jotter 3, we’ve really focussed on re-writing the software and designing a new architecture, taking into account much of the feedback we’ve received from customers over the years.

How different is School Jotter 3 from the previous versions?

School Jotter 3 has been written from the ground up using the latest technologies, with a focus on speed, security, and usability. By focussing on key areas such as page layout management and easy onboarding of users to the web and mobile platforms School Jotter 3 makes life easier for school administrators and teachers.
With the innovative technological approach with School Jotter 3, Webanywhere has planned a roadmap of features which will consistently deliver added value and useful functionality to schools; both to users of the web platform and the iOS and Android apps.

Still unsure about upgrading?

We think there are lots of compelling reasons to upgrade to School Jotter 3, but don’t just take our word for it.  Here are just a few stories of customers who are moving onto School Jotter 3, and why they’ve taken the decision to upgrade.
Simone Peters the Managing Director at Monarch Childcare recently chose to upgrade to School Jotter 3 to make use of the new visual editor. The nursery wanted to enhance their brand and engage better with parents, so alongside the website, they decided to purchase the premium mobile app too. This lets them benefit from the new features such as contact forms and booking management together with instant messaging. Simone saw this as having a competitive advantage over other nurseries in the area in a bid to appeal to new and existing parents who have children enrolled in her nursery.
Gail at Albany Village contacted us when she heard about School Jotter 3, she could see straight away from the short videos how the CMS had been simplified and was much slicker to use. Despite being in contract still for a number of months they have decided to upgrade early and get in the queue for the upgrade and subsequent new design. 
A member of staff at an Infant School in Buckinghamshire had inherited the responsibility of updating the school website from a predecessor. Although she could update it, she found it very cumbersome to upload anything, and found the page layouts so limiting that she decided to stop even trying to change them. 
Karen advised us she would be looking into alternatives as all she knew of Webanywhere was the 9 year old School Jotter 2 software. We presented the new updated version of the software, displaying how flexible editing the page layouts had become and how easy the photos were to upload. Added to that the update came with a brand new theme, Lynx Deluxe was here favourite. 
Martin Allen Deputy Headteacher and all round good sport, took the reins of the website and works alongside the admin staff in updating content. They struggled managing the file manager on School Jotter 2 and the structure of the information and wanted an easy and more efficient and effective way of updating this. School Jotter 3 seems to be the answer for Rawdon Littlemoors, issues and they are looking at the deluxes theme and in particular the Leopard theme which is responsive and fantastic on mobile. School Jotter 3 instant mobile was a game changer and may move them onto the platform. The school have been a loyal customer for many years and hopefully for many more years to come!

Find out more about School Jotter 3

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing lots more updates about School Jotter 3, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more about School Jotter 3 we’d love to have a chat with you. Book an appointment direct with a member of our sales team here, or get in touch with us at info@schooljotter.com

School Jotter 3: Our Most Advanced School Websites and Mobile Apps

Published: December 10, 2020

School Jotter 3

This year, possibly more than ever before, there has been greater demand put on schools to ensure they’re maintaining effective communication with parents and guardians. The school’s website and mobile app is an essential part of this.
School Jotter 3 is the biggest upgrade we’ve made to our school website and app software in recent years, making it easier than ever to keep parents engaged.
Sean Gilligan, Founder & CEO of Webanywhere said: “School Jotter 3 is the most advanced solution we’ve created and has been built combining the expertise of our development team, with feedback from customers. We’ve already had a number of pre-orders from schools who are excited to use such an intuitive platform, and we’re delighted to be rolling School Jotter 3 out to school’s all over the country, starting this month.”

Arthur Howie, Product Lead for School Jotter added: “The feedback we’ve received from customers has been invaluable in helping us to create School Jotter 3, which will be suited to schools of all types. Whether you’re an individual school or a multi-academy trust, we can create a beautifully designed website and mobile app, which is a breeze to update and maintain.”
One of the first customers to see School Jotter 3, Lindsey Caplan from Irlam Primary School, said: “Everything I’d have liked to see streamlined on our school website has been built into School Jotter 3. Building and editing pages has really improved, with far fewer clicks. I can really see this update saving us time, and making it much easier for other people in the school to become involved in managing our website.”
If your school is interested in using School Jotter 3 for your website and mobile app needs, find out more here, or speak directly to one of our education consultants by calling 0113 3200 750.

The importance of learning spelling in the age of technology

Published: April 7, 2016

The importance of spelling

Learning how to spell words is one of the most useful lifelong skills and it builds the basic foundation that all children will need throughout their education and life in general. Learning how to spell is very important for other basic skills, including writing and reading. These skills support children in achieving good results and progressing through various grades. What is more, being good at spelling may have an impact on the future careers of students.

One of the hot topics surrounding the education sector also relates to learning spelling in schools. The introduction of compulsory spelling tests for all key stage 2 pupils in England is expected to improve the literacy of students.

The new spelling tests are justified by making sure the students are prepared for the secondary school. This is expected to eventually improve the standards of learning and to raise England’s position in reading and writing. However, it has caused a number of negative responses in terms of being unnecessary and putting too much pressure on pupils, causing stress or even discriminating against students who might have special learning requirements caused my mental health.

Another point that some people make against spelling tests or even against teaching spelling in school is based on the irrelevance of learning how to spell in the age of technologies.

How technologies affect the way students learn to spell?

The rise of different learning technologies causes discussions on how they could be used to support education in schools. Some people see endless opportunities in how modern technologies could benefit education, while others only see the negatives associated with technologies or even believe that technology should be banned in schools. Talking about the relationship between spelling and modern technologies, most of us are familiar with ‘autocorrect’ on our smartphones or other online resources for checking spelling. Does that mean that that it is less important for students to learn spelling at school?

Having good spelling skills is just as important as it was before different technologies were available. Although technologies provide great alternative ways for practicing spelling, it should not be assumed that learning how to spell is less relevant nowadays. Mobile phones correct our spelling and if we are not sure how to spell something, it is easy to check it online. However, different learning technologies should be seen as opportunities for learning and practising spelling and we should not encourage students to view technology as a replacement for their own thinking as there will always be situations where technology might not be available.

It is clear that it is very important to learn how to spell and it should not be considered less important in the age of technology. However, it might be worth focusing more on teaching spelling in many different ways and helping students achieve high standards without causing unnecessary stress by making them take complicated tests for spelling.

Banning mobile phones at school ‘moving in the wrong direction’?

Published: January 11, 2016

Using mobile phones and other technology in schools has become a popular topic recently. Some people say that using mobile phones could benefit students, while others agree that restricting or even banning mobile phones in schools might be a good idea.
Controversial opinions surrounding this topic are usually caused by the concerns regarding the negative effects of ‘digital distraction’. It’s clear that most people would support the opinion that mobile phones and other technology can have negative effects on sleep, homework, exercising and studying. However, it is important to accept that technology is part of children’s lives. So instead of restricting or banning it, teachers and parents should look at how children are interacting with the technology and consider different ways of teaching children how to use technology in a healthy way.

It is important to remember that we are living in the digital age, so banning any kind of technology might not be the best way to go. Teachers should consider how mobile phones could be incorporated into the school curriculum to give children the skills they need to thrive in the modern world. Building mobile phones into the school curriculum enables students to learn everything from soft skills, such as learning to use the web effectively, to more specific tools, such as the latest communications and social platforms that are used in the world of work.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Professor Howard-Jones said: “Banning mobile phones and other technology in the classroom is moving in the wrong direction, an academic has said, as he warns children will keep using technology anyway.”
“I share concerns of parents about the effects of leisure technology on sleep and homework and exercise but it’s important that we don’t demonise it completely.”
Several studies have been undertaken in order to find answers whether mobile phones and other technology have a negative effect on the quality of learning. Again, the results of different studies are usually controversial. For instance, some studies prove that banning mobile phones in schools can actually improve grades, while other studies show that using technology allows students to study or to concentrate better which leads to improved results.
“Video games are powerful things for engaging children. Still, computers need to be turned off in the evening because they could be affecting the sleep, but if they are using games to learn that can be a positive thing.”
To conclude on this topic, it can be agreed that if used properly, mobile phones and other technology can help improve different aspects of learning. This means that banning mobile phones in schools, without trying to teach students how to use them in a healthy way, might not be the best solution.

Times tables ‘to be tested by age 11’

Published: January 8, 2016

BBC News recently published an article regarding the new way of testing how well students know times tables. According to new government plans, students aged 11 will be expected to know their times tables up to 12×12 and they will be tested using an “on-screen check”. Students will be able to do this test by completing multiplication challenges against the clock, which will be scored instantly.
“Every pupil in England will be tested on their times tables before leaving primary school, under government plans”.
“The Department for Education says it is the first use of on-screen technology in National Curriculum tests”.

According to new plans, the checks will be piloted to about 3,000 pupils in 80 primary schools this summer, before being rolled out across the country in 2017. The decision to test students was based on the opinion that maths was a non-negotiable aspect of a good education. What is more, it has been noticed that some students continue to struggle with the times table; this test is seen as an opportunity to deliver educational excellence.

In addition to other benefits, this test is expected to help teachers recognise students who might be falling behind and it should also help target those areas that require more attention.
However, Labour says standards are being threatened by a shortage of teachers, and in the past some teaching unions have warned additional tests can place unwelcome pressure on teachers and pupils. Similarly, in the article published on The Telegraph, it has been noted that testing at a young age, when pupils have not developed their resilience and coping strategies, should be kept to a minimum and for the very young it is best avoided. It has also been acknowledged that teachers should have the freedom to use time more productively rather than putting pupils through a times table test.
Therefore, it can be agreed that alongside expected benefits, it is important to acknowledge all the possible negative aspects that might be resulted by this new test. The learning of times tables is obviously very important – but is a special test necessary?

Why the PiZero Matters to Teachers

Published: November 27, 2015

Image taken from Element14

Today, Raspberry Pi announced and launched the PiZero, a tiny £4 computer that can be reprogrammed for a variety of purposes and can even run programs like Minecraft. It’s an astonishingly tiny and cheap computer, and it opens up the possibilities for coding in the classroom.
The machine is so small and cheap that they’re even willing to give it away for free on the cover of MagPi magazine, meaning the tiny tech toy will be one of the most easily-acquirable computers ever made. This is something that your average KS2 pupil can buy with their pocket money, and it opens up a world of technology that will help them become the coders and programmers of the future.

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Budding Web Designer in Harrogate wins Website Design Competition

Published: October 9, 2015

A pupil at Harrogate’s Saltergate Junior School has been declared the winner of our national Digi Designer Competition! The competition asked for schools up and down the country to design a website using the child friendly design software found in School Jotter’s ePortfolio for the chance to win an iPad Mini.

The competition received hundreds of entries, but the winner, Charlotte Durosaro, a Year 6 student at Saltergate Junior School, was awarded her prize on October 6th. Her design used a huge array of features, including the built in profile, image gallery and video embedding.

Charlotte was awarded a certificate to commend her great work and an iPad Mini to keep designing her wonderful websites on.
Although Charlotte was the overall winner, there were also two runners up, with Aman Praveenb using his excellent HTML, Java and CSS knowledge to secure a highly commended certificate and goodie bag, and a team of pupils going by the acronym SVER used their teamwork to make a great page about dogs, landing them a goodie bag each.
Webanywhere’s CEO Sean Gilligan says “We’re delighted to help find budding talent such as Charlotte and support young people developing skills for the future. Web design is a skill that children will need to learn as everything heads online – we’re proud to be supporting technology education and its evolution in the classroom. We’re delighted to see coding make it onto the curriculum, and we hope that running competitions like these shows teachers how they can combine the creative with the technical to inspire their students.”
Keep an eye on the blog for more updates about upcoming competitions, and if you’d like to try out ePortfolio yourself check out the free trial available here!

Children don’t have too much tech – it’s just not being used right

Published: August 27, 2015

Government advisor Tom Bennett was recently on Good Morning Britain, discussing with the hosts the issue of school students and gadgets – 20% of whom will have over £400 worth. Bennett seemed resolutely opposed to the “creep” of technology into schools, and as an education technology provider, we’re here to fight the corner of the tablet and the laptop in the classroom.
Before we start, I do want to note that Mr Bennett isn’t entirely opposed to the idea of having tablets in classroom (and indeed his ire is focussed far more on mobile phones), and happily says that an iPad could be there if teachers have “strong reasons to use them” – additionally he’s willing to be proven wrong if in five years’ time everything turns out well. However, we rather think that Bennett’s definition of “strong reasons” might differ somewhat from ours!

As an advisor on bad behaviour, Bennett’s key objections with mobile devices seem to be how open they are to abuse, and I’ll concede this is a fair point, especially with mobile phones. Their smaller screens and boosted connectivity (with mobile broadband allowing kids around school filters) provide a less-than-ideal working environment. A tablet, however, can mitigate many of these problems, especially if provided by the school and connected to the school’s managed Wi-Fi. Distraction will always be a problem, but to assume kids will automatically get distracted just because they “can” is to do a disservice to their intelligence. If a child wants to learn, they’ll learn – why not give them the best interactive learning environments possible?
I’m particularly confused as to Bennett’s problems with a viewer whose school has gone paperless, and whose homework is now set via an app. Would he rather teachers instead deal with illegible handwriting, endless paper and cramped hands from manual marking? Setting homework and assignments online can save everyone – teachers, students and parents – time and effort – indeed according to ITV, 33% of respondents are now doing just that. Teachers can even plan out a term’s worth of work ahead of time, to be automatically assigned and even, in some cases, graded. Perhaps this can’t be the case for longer, essay-based work, but why mark a worksheet manually when you can have a VLE mark 30 of them automatically, instantly?
The problems, though, come when this tech is miss-used. We’ve got customers around the country (and indeed the world) happily tapping away on iPads and laptops, utilising their VLEs without the problems Bennett seems to think all gadgets bring. As ever, it’s important to note that none of these schools have got rid of textbooks or face-to-face learning, and this is never something we’d advocate.
Interested in finding out how you can better engage pupils using your VLE and a bring-your-own-device policy? Contact us for a free consultation at education@webanywhere.co.uk

Announcing Education Technology 2015: The Largest Ed Tech Conference in The North

Published: May 14, 2015

The Education Technology conference is here, and we’re inviting you to join us at what promises to be the most exciting event in Education Technology in The North.
Hosted in the beautiful and prestigious Hilton Leeds City Hotel, the event will be a great chance to see some of the leading EdTech companies in the country, meet other teachers and professionals and take full advantage of our free catering.

Plus, we’ll be hosting talks from world leading experts in Education Technology and from schools and teachers who have changed the way they teach forever.
You can view more information on our website: www.educationtechnology2015.co.uk

Register today! Tickets are FREE (including lunch and refreshments) and are available now.

Mobilegeddon: What it Means for Your School

Published: April 20, 2015

Mobilegeddon is here. In February earlier this year, Google announced that any sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will find their search rank plummet from April 21st, making it extremely difficult to find your site if it isn’t readable on mobile. It comes as very little surprise to anyone keeping an eye on website traffic over the past few years, nearly 60% of all internet browsing is now done from a mobile or tablet, which is why Google is now making it a top priority. This is something that schools need to fix if they want their site to remain in the top hits in Google.

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