Tech Tools for the Everyday Teacher

Creating Class Websites: Totally Popular

Every class needs a website.  True or false?  The biggest issue I see with class websites today is their functionality.  What’s the purpose of the website?  Is it practical – with daily homework assignments posted?  Is it entertaining with game-links?  Is it memorable with pictures and classwork?  Does it allow for students to hit the 3rd stage of technology education – allowing the student to be the producer?

As a teacher – I have become overwhelmed with creating a class website.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s simply – what is going to be the purpose of the website?  I have built, now, four class websites with four different companies – I will highlight these now:

1. Google Sites: My first class got a class website from Google Sites that I created.  It wasn’t super engaging, but it served a very practical purpose – to outline the expected homework and curriculum taught that week in 6th Grade.  All the teachers in our grade got together and posted the work expected to be completed that week.  Also, all homework and notes were uploaded to the site for students to download at their own leisure.

Was the site used? Yes.  Most definitely, but only for the purpose of notes and homework.

2. Glogster – My third class received a website I constructed from Glogster.  Glogster is really fun to use and allows for teachers to do a lot of ‘crazy’ stuff.  Unfortunately, I found myself getting carried away with pictures and random ‘junk’.  I also found my site difficult to navigate.

Was the site used? Somewhat, students visited to see videos uploaded of their projects and to click on links to websites I suggested.

3. Wix – My third class received a website from Wix in the second semester.  Wix is flash based and allows for much sleeker looks than Glogster.  That being said, Wix was not created for the same intent as Glogster, thus not having some of the educational functions that Glogster has.  Wix is still was snazy looking.

Was the site used? Perhaps – to view pictures and to check out my book list of books that students should read.

4. Weebly – This is the newest website creator that I have played with.  It is more user-friendly than any of the other website creators (Really easy to use – just drag the templates or formats you want onto the page).  Unfortunately, Weebly does not allow for all of its tools to be used unless you are a ‘pro’ member.  Nonetheless, Weebly has an educational function and support unlike Wix.  It’s a mixture of Wix and Glogster.

Those are the four website builders I have played with thus far.  None have wowed me out of my socks.  I am considering creating my own HTML script and using that within one of these builders.  I first need to know what purpose my website serves.  Either way, I am going to make sure I incorporate Symbaloo this next year – because I believe that will organize links or films very well for my classes.

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