Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Functions of a class website

Are you now thinking of what your class website will be used for? How you can maximize the use of your class website is in your hands now, you just need to give it a touch of creativity and innovation.

Just to give you a list of thinks on how you can use it. Will Richardson, from his book Blogs Wikis, Podcasts and other powerful classroom tools, tell us some ideas on how you might like to start a class website:

- post class-related information such as calendars, events, homework assignments, and other pertinent class information.
- post assignments based on literature readings and have students respond on their Weblogs, creating a kind of portfolio of their work.
- communicate with parents if you are teaching elementary school students.
- post prompts for writing.

- provide examples of classwork, vocabulary activities, or grammar games.
- provide online readings for your students to read and react to.
- gather and organize Internet resources for a specific course, providing links to appropriate sites and annotating the links as to what is relevant about them.
- post photos and comment on class activities.
- invite student comments or postings on issues in order to give them a writing voice.

- publish examples of good student writing done in class.
- showcase student art, poetry, and creative stories.
- create a dynamic teaching site, discussion topics, posting not only class-related information, but also activities, discussion topics, links to additional information about topics they are studying in class, and readings to inspire learning.
- create a literature circle (where groups of students read and discuss the same book)
- create an online club.

- make use of the commenting feature to have students publish messages on topics being used to develop language skills.
- ask students to create their own individual course blogs, where they can post their own ideas, reactions, and written work.
- post tasks to carry out project-based learning tasks with students.
- build a class newsletter, using student-written articles and photos they take.
- link your class with another class somewhere else in the world.

The most important thing is that your students and the parents also know how to navigate your class website and the purpose of it. My students and parents are clear that my class website is an online extension of my classroom, it's our virtual classroom and our information portal. They are given the same high expectations, and rules and procedures apply. My next post will be on this.
How else can we use our class website? Please share your ideas...

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