Jake here once again with another ALTopedia update! It was a full year ago today that the first ALTopedia activity was posted, which means that we've reached our first birthday!
As I write this now, we're closing in on 400 activities, so that's more than one posted every day for the year. We've archived 150 activities from Englipedia and there's plenty more on the way. We've added in a Jobs listing page, a search system, landing pages for different school levels, a comment system, a new "Themes" category for activities, and Discord and Shoutbox chat systems.
The coolest thing for me personally is seeing people sign up for the site, share an activity that they've used in their English classes, and then have other people leave a comment saying that they used it in their classes and it was a big hit. For all the times I feel like I'm a monkey pecking at my keyboard trying to make something a pro could make in their sleep, it feels gratifying to see that people are benefiting from each others' efforts. That's what the site is all about! I really hope that this is something we'll see more and more of as time goes on.
Recently the folks at our sister site ALT Training Online have been discussing how to fund both sites. There's no way to get around the fact that web hosting costs money. It would be easy for us to include the sort of standard online ads that you see on lots of web sites, but I've gone out of my way thus far to resist including them. Personally, I install ad blocking software on any browser I use and I think that selling advertising on web pages creates a system of incentives for sites that lead to a worse experience for the end user. The big web sites you hear about in everyday conversation spend a lot of time fretting about "engagement" and things like that which leads to them coming up with ways to monopolize your attention as much as possible. Maybe it's not something you can afford to ignore when you're trying to pay the salaries of a full-time staff. My goal for the site has been to make it as easy to find what you're looking for as possible, and not stuff the site full of ads or monetization gimmicks.
We have one sponsor, Nagajob, which is a job placement agency for companies looking for international hires in Nagano Prefecture. We need to communicate this better, but if you sign up with them, they can give you an e-mail when they find a company that might suit your needs if you're looking for a career after English teaching. They're kind and are otherwise hands-off with how we run the site, so please check them out if you think you might benefit from their services!
The web hosting I use has gotten more expensive lately now that we've been using them for more than a year. ALT Training Online is thinking of starting a Patreon to help with their hosting expenses. Does anyone reading think that they'd like to contribute to help host ALTopedia? I'd much rather rely on user support than try and sell advertising. There would probably be a way to code in some level of perks for contributors, but I wouldn't want to make it feel like it were required or to make normal users feel like their experience on the site was worse as a free user. What do you think?
I've mentioned this for a few updates now, but my goals for the next year of the site are to develop a more cohesive, modern layout and to make a system where you could link activities to each other. If you have your own modification of an activity on the site, it would be really handy if you could simply post that, link it to the original, and let users choose which version suits their needs the best. The new layout is coming along slower than I thought as I try to envision a site design that incorporates everything we need it to without being too cluttered or dull. I've had a few projects recently that have given me more CSS practice, so that should help, at least!
We're flattered and excited to see people visit and use the site. Thanks for reading, contributing, and saying hello! We hope this next year is much bigger than the first!