Electronic calendar for schools

Stage 1 25 November 2008

I want to create an electronic calendar for my school community. I plan to start small with a Google Calendar for my department. However, because we use Moodle I also wanted to see how best to integrate GCal with moodle, so I tweeted my PLN for any experience of doing the same sort of thing. Here are the replies, the most recent is at the top:

davefoord @daibarnes – the learners could view the calendars without Google accounts if they want to overlay them, then yes they need to create them

wbtech @daibarnes We put our district calendar in Moodle, but not at 100% participation at the high school yet. Also use School
Center calendar.

davestacey @daibarnes Moved over to GCal this year. One internet, and one public. Some staff still want paper, but we’re weaning them slowly!

bcdtech @daibarnes We have a database driven calendar on our website for parents and the faculty use Google calendar. Gcal is new this year for us.

betchaboy @daibarnes we are moving to a school calendar on Moodle that will do auto exports out to Google cal. Not running just yet, but soon!

davefoord @daibarnes – I thought the Google calendars had more functionality than the Moodle ones, and learners could choose which ones to use.

davefoord @daibarnes – I worked on a project in college where I used multiple Google calendars which over layed and then embedded them into Moodle.

Check out Dave Foords blog http://davefoord.wordpress.com/

From this we can see that I am not alone in thinking this would be a good idea. However, there are two different approaches:

1. Set up GCals and embed them into Moodle to give more functionality and multiple layers which could be turned off by each individual user as required. EG we could have a calendar for each sports team in the school and you would only include the layer of the team(s) you are involved with, or indeed, for your year group.

2. Set up Moodle calendar and then get it automatically export to GCal for public access and possibly improved functionality.

3. A calendar database that probably costs a bit of cash but is run by school admin, SchoolCenter.

Question: what is the best model to run with?

Answer: not clear.

I will have to set up calendars in Moodle and GCal and try and make them talk to each other to see where functionality is lost and gained. Could easily go ahead with GCal which can be embedded but there is a need to utilise moodle features as much as possible as it is our learning platform.

What are my aims:

  1. The calendar co-ordinator sets it up and stops generating 1000+ A6 50 page booklets per term.
  2. Motivate teachers to develop their own layers that pupils can subscribe to or visit.
  3. Notification of changes made to existing events (email sent if you’re subscribed to a particular calendar).
  4. Restricted access to editing calendar items so it can only be amended by it’s creator or set list of admin.
  5. The calendar to exist in/be accessed from one place that everyone uses or is supposed to use (SIMS [with Learning Gateway installed], Moodle or website).
  6. Clear and simple navigation front end to access the desired calendar.
  7. To provide our community with fast and consistent access to events and dates.

Stage 2 16 December 2008

I took the electronic calendar idea to our school ITMG (IT Management Group) to see what they thought of it. I just pitched it as a principle to gauge reaction. Reaction was positive(ish). There were some concerns about doing away with the paper calendar but I suggested a 5 year plan to phase them out – surely within 5 years parents will have to request paper copies of correspondence and admin?

Action: for me to write a paper on the pros and cons of implementing an electronic calendar and how this might be done. More work for the Christmas break.

Electronic calendar for schools

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