Do you continually copy and distribute calendars, hoping they make it home with your students? As soon as you update a calendar and send it home, does something come along that you need to add to or change on the calendar? Do you lose track of meetings and find yourself scheduling two or three appointments at the same time? If you are frustrated with constantly updating paper calendars, then perhaps a Web-based calendar is right for you!
You can create and post a Web-based calendar either on your own school site or on a remote, password-protected site that is accessible only to your school community.
A number of easy-to-use, downloadable programs allow you to create a calendar on your school Web site. One example of such a calendar can be found at Meridian Middle School in Lynden, Washington. Meridian's online calendar, an integral part of their Web site, lists all school events, allowing parents and students to quickly check events for the month or for the whole school year.
"We use a program called HTML Calendar Maker Pro to create our calendars," Meridian teacher Keith Mack told Education World. "It's very easy to use and makes very functional calendars. We also want the calendars to be printer-friendly, so we take care that they will print on one page and look good with basic black ink."
Many Web sites allow you to create customized calendars that rest on their site instead of on your school site. John Adsit, of the Jefferson County Schools in Golden, Colorado, uses the Netscape WebCalendar to create his calendars. "I can access a calendar from any computer that has Web access," Adsit told Education World. "If I am in an Internet caf in Tokyo, I can check my calendar. It will even send a message to remind me that a meeting time is approaching."
Of course, you don't have to use commercial calendar-creation software or Web sites. If you are ambitious, you can create your own calendar! Ed Hitchcock, the director of science at Bayview Glen School in Ontario, Canada, created his own customized calendar because he couldn't find one with all the features he wanted.
"I use it mainly to communicate to students and parents about what was done in class on a given day and to leave reminders about upcoming due dates and quizzes," Hitchcock told Education World. "I can also post course notes if there is a day when students do not finish copying everything down."
This may sound too complicated, but it really isn't. If you choose to create a calendar at your school site, all the programs include instructions that tell you how to add the information you want and how to post that information to the Web. If you choose to use a calendar-creation Web site, you simply insert your information, and it shows up "magically" on the Web!
If you choose to create your own calendar, Building a Web-Based Event Calendar is an excellent resource.
Not everyone will find exactly what he or she is looking for in available calendar programs. "Unfortunately, I have yet to find anything that works well for our particular application," said Anne C. Oelke, computer coordinator for the Cambria-Friesland School District in Cambria, Wisconsin. "We have the monthly school lunch listing and the monthly school events listing in a calendar form on our Web site." But Oelke had hoped to find an easy-to-use program that would allow her to include the calendars in the school newsletter. So far, she's been unsuccessful.
Despite their limitations, Web-based calendars are a quick way to share information with your class, other teachers, parents, and the entire school or school district. No wonder so many schools are turning to Web-based calendars to facilitate communication!
There are a few things you should know if you decide to use a Web site service to create your calendar:
Web-based calendars are not for everyone. But they're popping up everywhere, in many forms, all around the Internet. Even if you don't know much about computers and software, you can find easy-to-use programs or Web sites that will fill most of your needs. So, go ahead, make your life -- and your students' lives -- a little easier. Get busy and create your own Web-based calendar today!
You'll wonder how you ever got along without one.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ABOUT WEB-BASED CALENDARS
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