Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to Create a Class Website

The WaPo yesterday tells how teachers move toward paperless system to cut costs:

As school districts look to save money anywhere they can, some are moving toward a paperless operation. Teachers are more frequently turning to hands-on activities instead of student hand-outs and using online communication, such as e-mail and Internet newsletters. The Washington Post

You can call me a 21st century educator :) I have started innovating and have veered away from using papers since I created my class website. I have seldom used the photo copying machine in my school since distribution of copy paper has been a perennial issue, and it's too costly for me to buy. My gradebook is online too that the parents can see, review and track their child's class performance. Homework, lesson presentations, lesson plans and projects are posted on our class website which automatically sends email alerts to parents upon publishing.

Having a class website saves me a lot of time and money, and has improved my students' engagement in educational websites, and my collaboration with the parents has never been easier! My class website has also become my annual digital portfolio, documenting everything that we did in class during the school year. I only do minor tweaking and updates every year.

Creating a class website is simple especially if you are already a teacher blogger and/ or you have some training on HTML.

1. Decide which type of software you will use to create a class website. I use eversince I started blogging because I find it user friendly and it's free.
2. Consider using a kid friendly template for your first attempt at website design. Your class website has to be appealing to your students and the parents so that they will want to come back. Some softwares already has a template so you just have to focus on building the content.

3. Add content to your website. I have all my weekly lesson plans in my class website, project announcements, a syllabus or class rules area, homework assignments or a calendar, and maybe a links section for learning more about in-class topics and playing educational games.

4. Decorate your website with graphics, clip art, background, cool fonts and other decorative items. If you think that is too cutesy, go for an abstract look. Remember to keep it simple since too much color and graphics make a site look busy and detract from its usability.

5. Tell students and parents about your site. Keep it updated on a regular basis with new announcements and homework assignments. Students and parents will only use it if you make it an indispensable communication tool.

Let me know how I can help, I'd be glad to assist you.


Christa Yearns said...

A new way to gather your students online. Kids of today stay more on their computers than the usual.


Rick Raven said...

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Max said...

It is good to know that the academe is now banking on websites to improve their way of teaching. Students who are tech-savvy would find it easier to learn their lessons. And you sure have a talent on web development! Keep it up!

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