We regularly post updates on Twitter about Spike@School, so check the Spike@School Twitter page regularly to keep up to date! You don't have to belong to Twitter to see the updates.
We now post all our news out in regular email newsletters to all our customers. Here's a list of our newsletters to date:
Just a quick update to let you all know we recently emailed out our first email newsletter. You can view the newsletter online if you didn't receive it. If you'd like, you can also sign up to receive it on an ongoing basis.
We've had a few new schools come on board with us too:
Welcome! We look forward to working with you :)
Some of our customers told us that they've been getting spam bots filling out their blog comments form and other public forms on their website with nasty stuff. We've added the option to enable a type of spam protection for Forms, Blog Post Comments and Comment Area Comments. Essentially the person filling out the form has to type in two words presented to them on the screen. This is something that machines can't do, so it pretty much guarantees that a human is filling out the form. I'll be writing more about how it works in our next newsletter.
We hope you've been following us on Twitter and have seen all the micro-progress that's been happening with Spike@School reported there. The update of the How It Works section took us quite a while to complete, but we can now report that it's all up to date and pretty much all of Spike@School is showcased there now. Of course you can still get in touch with us for a free trial and get your hands dirty :) Two new areas that you'll probably want to check out are the ePortfolios and Blogs as these are two exciting new modules in Spike@School, and we've heard great feedback from schools this year about them already.
We have some more new schools to report:
Well, the holidays are nearly upon you all again so we hope you have a fantastic rest and look forward to working with you in Term 3!
Oh and a news post wouldn't be complete without an updated photo of Spike Jr!
We'll admit! This is a pretty late welcome! With Term 1 drawing to a close tomorrow I thought it'd be time to update our public facing website to bring it in to line with all the cool changes we've been making to Spike@School itself. The re-write of the product was a great success, and we launched it toward the end of the Christmas holidays without any major hitches. We've been busy applying small fixes here and there, and just generally fine tuning things.
One of the big new features of Version 4 has been ePortfolios. These have been a massive hit with our schools. Students are using them already and the feedback has been very positive. Our ePortfolios module aims to give students a feeling of ownership over their work, while still protecting the school's public image via their website. The ePortfolios are kept in a private password protected area, and students can share access to their ePortfolios with a select group of people via a passwording system. It's important to note that our ePortfolios module was rolled out free of charge to all of our existing schools and is offered by default to all our new customers. It's our policy at Spike@School to not have confusing 'membership' levels, and prices based on which modules you use, or how many students attend your school. We have one price for all schools, and you get access to the entire product. We think it lets you get on with using Spike@School rather than worrying about how much it's going to cost you this month, or that you might be missing out on something.
Because Spike@School was entirely re-written, we're planning on updating this website over the next couple of weeks to bring all the module descriptions and screenshots into alignment. We'll also be adding sections on ePortfolios, Blogs, and Contact Areas (our new modules).
We'd also like to welcome the 7 new schools we've gained this term:
Just a reminder that we've moved to using Twitter to keep you updated regularly about changes to Spike@School and any relevant news. Make sure you check out our Spike@School Twitter Page regularly for updates, or Join Twitter and Follow Us to have our updates (or tweets) delivered to your account.
On a personal note, my wife and I are the happy parents of Spike Junior! His real name is Dylan and we think he's major cool! He's a month old now, and growing very quickly. He'll be programming in no time! Check him out!
Dylan chillin' with his daddy - He's a big fan of Alexandre Dumas! :P
Have a great holiday and we look forward to working with you in Term 2!
I guess it happens every year but this year seems to be going very fast. We're still making progress on the re-write of Spike@School that is necessary to implement ePortfolios and other cool stuff. It is taking longer that we expected but recently we've been making some large progress on reworking the Learning Caves which is a big proof-of-concept for the implementation of ePortfolios. We'll keep you posted.
You'll be pleased to hear that we've completely re-written the Live Chat module that is in the Learning Caves and Staff Zones. It now utilises Server Push technology meaning that the server pushes new chat messages to the chat window. To put it simply, the chat is now far more responsive for you, and less taxing on the server (which is good news for us). The new chat will be released when we release the rewritten code later this year.
We look forward to seeing some of you at the Catholic Schools Conference next week. We're providing free breakfast at our morning session on Learning Caves so come along if you can, and if you're an existing customer, bring a friend! :)
We had a number of new schools last term, welcome!
Whoops, we're a little late on the welcome. We hope you've all had a great start to the term. We've had two more schools come on board:
Welcome! Also, we're making good progress on the refactoring.
They just keep coming! Welcome to:
Work continues on the code refactoring required to support ePortfolio's in Spike@School in a modular and maintainable way. It is taking longer than we expected but the result will be worth the wait!
We'd like to welcome two more schools to the fold!
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we really look forward to working with you in making a community centred website you can truly be proud of!
What can we say! 2009 is turning out to be a great year for Spike@School! We'd like to welcome two more schools to the fold!
We look forward to working with you!
We hope everyone had a great holiday! Personally my wife and I went on a trip to a few places around the world including Canada, London, Santorini & Athens (Greece), Singapore and Sydney! It was a great break, and we got to catch up with our friends abroad.
This week is our official first week back and to celebrate we have two new schools!
Welcome aboard! We also had the following schools join us just before Christmas last year:
We're really proud to be serving your sites!
At the end of the year we had a student in doing his Summer Work Placement for the University of Waikato's E-Commerce Degree. He managed to crank out a new module which we called the Embedded Item module. The Embedded Item module allows you to paste some HTML code (from Google Calendar, or Youtube for example) into your site. The item will then appear on your index bar. Give it a go and let us know what you think. We aim to do a writeup about this module and the new Quizzes module on this site as soon as we can.
This year promises to be a huge year for Spike@School and we look forward to having you with us!
We had a big weekend migrating all our Spike@School customers to a new faster server in Dallas, Texas. Everything went very smoothly thanks to heaps of planning and testing. We also took the opportunity to roll out the latest changes to Spike@School so now you can use Quizzes! We'll add a section to this site about the Quizzes module next year.
We'd also like to welcome our latest school:
It's been a great year full of growth and opportunity and we look forward to catching up with everyone in the new year!
God bless you and keep you safe over the holidays!
We had heaps of fun at ULEARN this year. We made plenty of new friends and had heaps of people interested in getting Spike@School for their school! I also had plenty of chats with MOE top dogs about where they're heading and how we can stay linked into what they're doing.
Now we're back, we're busy working on getting the last set of changes released to our schools (Quizzes included!) and also getting to work on ePortfolios! We hope to have a version of the ePortfolio's done by the end of the year. The SMS-LMS integration won't be started until next year as currently no primary school based SMS providers have committed to developing the functionality on their end.
We're pleased to announce that the Quiz Module has been finished. You will be able to have quizzes almost anywhere on your site. You can add them to public areas, as well as having them inside your Learning Caves. All existing Learning Caves will be upgraded to contain a quizzes section, and all new Caves will contain them also (you can optionally turn the quizzes off). Your children using the Caves will also be able to make their own quizzes!
We're not releasing these changes for 3 more weeks as we will be away at the ULEARN 2008 Conference in Christchurch in the second week of the holidays, and I'll be away snowboarding with my wife in Wanaka in the first week! We want to roll out these changes at the same time that we upgrade our server. This will require some extended downtime and we will be performing this upgrade during a weekend when we get back. We'd rather be near our computers in case something goes wrong!
Finally, if you're in the Queenstown / Wanaka region and want to catch up with us (maybe for some snowboarding!) please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you have a great holiday!
With ULEARN08 just around the corner, we're hoping to have the Quiz Module finished and available to all our existing (and new!) customers by then, if not, soon after we get back.
You'll be pleased to know that it works great and is really easy to use. The question types that we currently support are: True or False, Multi Choice (one, or multiple correct answers), and Fill in the Blank. You can also attach a file to each question and provide website resources that the students can use if they get the question wrong.
We can't wait for you to try them out and tell us what you think.
We just thought we'd let you know what's in the works for Spike@School:
Running for 3 days, the DEANZ Conference is all about Distance Learning in New Zealand. Since Spike@School's Learning Caves are in this space, we're here to show people how we can get their school into online learning!
Here's a great shot (using my humble phone) of the snowy road on the drive down to Wellington.
We've already had some great interest so far!
I'd just like to quickly take the space to welcome 3 new schools who have joined us recently:
We look forward to seeing the exciting things you'll do with Spike@School!