LiveTiles Reach Blueprint for Schools
Schools have special requirements and a specific stakeholder structure unlike other organizations. The resulting communication needs are different, too. The following standard setup concept can be adapted to any specific requirement to bring schools online quickly.
A typical pattern in commercial companies looks like this:
- The company has a need to reach its staff in order to communicate, provide information, align and engage
- In some cases, "the staff" is not just including employees, but also contractors, partners, or other external parties working closely with the company's employees. But this does not necessarily change the communication flow since both employees and external parties share a common goal - which in turn is in line with the company strategy
- The result is a quite clearly defined information/feedback loop that can be applied regardless of the organizational structure
For schools, this pattern common to many commercial companies can't be applied. But there is a different pattern instead:
- First, there is a need to communicate between school (management) and teachers which could be compared to the above
- But there are other stakeholders that need to be included: the students/pupils and in many cases also their parents. This is comparable to a situation in which a commercial company would use LiveTiles Reach to also communicate with its clients
- Instead of 2 groups of principal stakeholders, we now have 4: school management, teachers, students, and parents.
- Moreover, some of the communication must be strictly separated by class and only takes place between specific individuals from the teachers' group and a specific sub-group of the students' group. This could be compared to a commercial company selling something through dedicated sellers who are responsible for strictly separated regions, which would provoke a similar need to communicate with just a sub-group of clients assigned to a seller.
- In elementary schools, pupils and parents often need to be treated as synonyms, since small children will require help from their parents to understand messages and tasks they get from their teachers.
The channel setup is best designed with a focus on ease of use for the individual user. Channels are mainly used as navigational elements for LiveTiles Reach News, so there should be as few as possible, but as many as necessary, based on the target groups or stakeholders in the organization:
- My Class The "My Class" is a special case. Because of its mandatory assignment with all "Classes" groups (see below) it will automatically only show content from the class assigned to the current user, i.e. a student or a parent will automatically only see content from their own class. While all Channels are visible to all users, not all channels will necessarily show any content for all stakeholders. For example, as a student, the "Teachers" and "Management" Channels will be empty. Unneeded Channels can easily be hidden by the user.
LiveTiles Reach Groups are at the heart of this recommended blueprint. The particular stakeholder structure of schools actually make it quite straight-forward to define permissions, which is reflected in the followin setup of Groups:
- All: contains all users
- Management: this is for all members of the school management
- Teachers: all teachers from the entire school are in this group
- Students: summarizes all students from all classes
- Parents: all parents across all classes
- Classes: a separate group for each class containing only the teachers, students and parents of this class, plus the school management
Once created, all Groups need to be enabled for LiveTiles Reach Posts, too.
The secret behind the blueprint lies in the pre-defined Channel assignments. For each group (see above), the channels are assigned in a mandatory way and can't be changed by an editor, which makes content publishing very straightforward. The only thing an editor has to select is the LiveTiles Reach Group. And because most editors (i.e. teachers) are only assigned to one or a few classes, the amount of Groups to choose from will be very limited. This is how Groups and Channels need to be connected to make this work:
- All: Available Channels: Management, Teachers, Students, Parents, My Class; Mandatory Channels: Management, Teachers, Students, Parents, My Class;
- Management: Available Channels: Management; Mandatory Channels: Management
- Teachers: Available Channels: Teachers; Mandatory Channels: Teachers
- Students: Available Channels: Students; Mandatory Channels: Students
- Parents: Available Channels: Parents; Mandatory Channels: Parents
- Classes: Available Channels: My Class; Mandatory Channels: My Class
To make assignments easy but still get some relevant filter criteria, we suggest introducing two keyword categories:
- Subjects: to categorize content by subject (e.g. Mathematics, History, Geography, French etc.)
- Content Types: to assign a content type to each item (e.g. Exercise, Exam, Message, Alert etc.)
- All users can read in the "All" group
- "Management" can read in any group
- Only "Management" can read in the "Management" group
- "Teachers" can read in the "Teachers", "Students" and "Parents" groups
- "Parents" can read in the "Students" and "Parents" groups
- "Students" can read in the "Students" groups
- Individual "Teachers", "Parents" and "Students" can read in the "Classes" groups they are assigned to
- "Management" can publish in the "All" group (to be considered individually if certain teachers should be able to publish here, too)
- "Management" can publish in the "Parents" group
- "Management" can publish in all "Classes" groups
- "Management" and "Teachers" can publish in the "Teachers" group
- "Management" and "Teachers" can publish in the "Students" group
- Individual "Teachers" can publish in the "Classes" groups that have been assigned to them
- "Students" and "Parents" don't have editor roles in any of the groups (they can only Post within their respective class)
The setup described here mainly covers LiveTiles Reach News and Posts. We recommend switching off the LiveTiles Reach People Module to start, since it might reveal too much information about individuals to the whole school.
For more advanced scenarios or to extend the scope of LiveTiles Reach, Pages and Events are interesting options. In a school context, LiveTiles Reach Pages are useful to provide more static information, such as:
- contact persons
- address lists
- information about special projects
- exam dates etc. by class
The permission settings and possibilities described above are the same. LiveTiles Reach Events is an interesting feature for communicating:
- parents' evenings
- 1:1 with parents
- ski and summer camps
- school trips
- project weeks
- optional courses with the possibility to register
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