Nothing worth doing is easy! Taking a baby step with the Metropole Market Place
Back to Lisa, who I have known since 2008. I taught two of her children for multiple years, and will be teaching one of them again next year. I also coached her daughter in cross country. I know her husband, too, and this family has selflessly volunteered to support my programs in school. In turn, I feel an obligation to devote a lot of time to teach her how this online stuff works. How she could have a functioning website and link her inventory program to an online store. Most importantly, I feel she needs to know that technology can do the hard work for her so she can focus on the face-to-face relationships with the businesses adjacent to her, or even maintain a blog page on her site. She is wholeheartedly excited to let me help her, and especially because I recruited her son to be a part of this Webpage Design/Marketing extracurricular club (which I hope to turn into an elective class one day), in which these students will be the intermediary contacts between the businesses and myself (and Thomas Cemo, my go-to web designer).
Let me also say that Lisa doesn't speak much English. Her son (and many other students) have the ability to translate information into Spanish, too, and my wife and I could review the information to discuss its relevance, appropriateness, grammar, etc. In addition, this is an issue that Thomas and I, along with Justus and Nick (two student allies who will also be part of the club) can work on. To reference one of my original inquiry questions: Can we make this a multilingual platform? I think we can make it happen.
My friend Thomas would customize each blog page, and if the owners of Metropole Market Place are willing, we could use their name and logos to complement the landing platform. They already have a strong presence in the Avalon community, and their Metropole Hotel is one of the top-rated in Avalon, so their name would only enhance our efforts. In addition, we spoke of creating an app that could be downloaded by all visitors, and using Piktochart to create brochures that we could link to sites and/or print and have students distribute to advertise the upgraded online presence.
Ultimately, every business owner in this Metropole Market place would benefit with the added web presence and collaboration between business entities, and students would benefit from helping make it happen. Thomas Cemo and I would manage the club and facilitate/coach the students along the way. By teaching students the value of networking and collaborating with these businesses, they will possess quality leadership skills that can be applied throughout their lives. They'll also have a greater sense of pride about their own community, and that's priceless.
Lastly, once we have created the landing platform for all business pages, and possibly additional business sites and online stores, we will link up with the Chamber of Commerce to have them add the links to their page, too. Thomas and I will discuss any costs of maintenance with the businesses and students once we get things REALLY moving, and these skills may open doors to career opportunities for these students.
Sample mock-up landing page that Thomas Cemo has made as a platform for businesses (hopefully the soon-to-be Metropole Market Place site!)
The biggest goal for this "wicked hard" problem is to improve the community of Avalon's communication efforts. With the power of technology, communication should be seamless and effortless, so if all goes well, maybe an App is in store. After meeting with Justus last week, we realized that another student--Nick Wood--has been creating applications, and this could be an amazing opportunity for him. His dream is to one-day work for Google, so adding something that is directly benefiting his community to his portfolio is a good start to that dream.
Another look at my original inquiry questions:
- What are the names of all of the businesses, nonprofits, clubs, sports teams, and other entities to be considered in a communal network in Avalon?
- What social networking sites, if any, do each of the named entities utilize regularly?
- Could the social networking sites be linked together efficiently with all blogs fed to one source?
- Is it feasible to create a website for each entity that contains similar layouts?
- Would a Symbaloo-like platform be appropriate for organizing all of the sites?
- Who would oversee the maintenance of the virtual platform, and how much maintenance would be needed to keep the sites updated?
- How could I effectively advertise the platform to all visitors of the island?
- Should/Could students be involved with creating sites for local businesses, clubs, etc.?
- Can the platform be multilingual?
- Can visitors upload photos and/or videos to each site listed in the platform?
In my final reflection of this 20time task, I will directly address the answers to all of those inquiry questions. But it's good to know that most of the questions have feasible answers that will lead to even more questions. This is learning-by-play at its best, and it's making me realize the potential for such projects in my own classroom.