Website creation used to take time and skills that most teachers simply don’t have.
But now, with Google Sites and other online services such as Weebly, building a classroom website is quite straightforward and easy. Teachers can focus on their content and what they want to communicate. No software to load or learn. No HTML coding. Building a classroom website is also cost effective. Think free.
Weebly is specifically designed for educators. The service is designed specifically for the following:
- Easily create a classroom website & blog
- Manage your students’ accounts
- Accept homework assignments online
- Keep your parents up to date
New technology and simplicity mean teachers can finally can have the websites they’ve always wanted. The sites come with templates and themes. Drag and drop construction means kids can help build it. And for older students, the website can be responsive to appear on their mobile phones and devices.
A class website can be built in an hour or two.
The purpose of a classroom website
Why build a class website? For starters, a class website gets students engaged. It is creative and they have a voice in production.
A class website also fosters communication. Teachers say a class website is a game changer in home-to-school communication and perhaps the best reason for a teacher to create one.
A teacher is probably a daily user of technology — sending e-mail, browsing the web and using a computer for basic classroom management tasks such as grading, attendance, viewing assessment scores, doing some online research and creating basic documents.
But that teacher may have yet to cross the line where instruction and technology merge to meet the needs of today’s social, collaborative and creative digital student.
A class website is interactive.
A class website is environmental. A portal means less paper.
How to make a website
What is a website builder? They are programs that allow you to design and develop your own website through an easy interface that removes the hard work. You can produce a beautiful and functional website without having to understand technicalities like code, even for your online classroom. With your own free website, you can have your very own space on the Internet.
For teachers, website design and website creation should start with choosing the proper website builder platform. There are many. Some of the top ones are Wix, WordPress and GoDaddy. And, as mentioned, Google Sites, which most teachers probably already have as part of their G-Suite package. Weebly, given its focus on teachers, is particularly popular. The last two are generally preferred.
Getting started with a classroom website
A teacher serious about building and implementing a website can begin with a professional development course aimed at instruction that encompasses goals and theories, as well as the practical building blocks that go into creation.
This usually involves three stages.
The Planning Stage
Participants will read articles about best practices for teacher websites and critique several teacher websites to develop ideas for their own sites. Additionally, they will create a Website roadmap as a plan of action for their sites. Finally, they will explore initial setup on two free services: Google Sites and Weebly.
The Development Stage
Participants will convert their roadmaps to an initial site home page and navigation plan. They will learn about site customizations and experiment on their own sites. Finally, they will create and submit for review two major sections of the site.
The Practicum Stage
Finally, participants will work independently to complete their sites. In this phase, they will also get feedback from colleagues and establish a plan for maintenance.