Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Classroom Web Presence

I regularly check out Jim Moulton's articles on Edutopia's Spiral Notebook. Recently he posted the following: The Classroom Web Page: A Must-Have in 2008.

In it Jim argues that having a classroom web presence is important. He gives 5 reasons . . . all good points. He also gives some good places to start, including Portaportal and Google Pages.

Jim recognizes that teachers are very busy people, so that finding a workable tool for developing this web presence is important. Elaborate tools such as Studywiz and Moodle offer many options . . . and in the hands of the right person can be just the ticket . . . but I will still argue that we have to look at ease-of-use.

There really is no longer a need to use powerful, but expensive, web editors such as Dreamweaver to meet the needs of the classroom. If this kind of tool is needed, free Kompozer will suffice. But why bother?

Beyond using the great tools Jim suggested, I would also suggest using the many other possibilities, such as blogs, wikis, google apps, and other online learning environments. With a bit of searching in this very large toolbox available to us now, we can customize our presence according to our own needs. The beauty in making blogs and/or wikis the classroom vehicle is that the teacher has the freedom to decide the level of read/write collaboration needed.

My three favorite classroom web presence tools are Blogger, Wikispaces & Portaportal. I know a math teacher in the Telstar School District who swears by NiceNet. Others use some of the bookmarking sites here.

What are your favorites? Thoughts?

Photo Credit


Joe Makley said...

Both Jims are right, of course. I couldn't imagine teaching without a web presence, and you don't have to do web design any more. A WordPress account would get you there. I wanted to mention though, that it would be useful (and certainly a feature of my school) to have a web-based tool that all classrooms use. In other words, there would be an official platform which had some communication pieces, etc. that were familiar across classrooms, or even across schools. Our own Maine universities use Blackboard in this way, and we have a pretty good prototype in the Moodle system being provided in the Maine Virtual Learning Project
The advantages would include:
access levels/confidentiality
shared knowledge base
staff development
connection to grades/records
Teachers would be free to use a wide range of web-based tools and resources, but along with students, they would share a "home base."

Podcast Coach said...

Another great tool is podcasting. You can record your lesson and then time shift it to your sutdents. There are now ways to have PRIVATE podcasts. This opens the door for business and schools with sensitive information.

Dave Jackson

Maine Web Dad said...

I think there are some good reasons to use these online web design tools. There are also some reasons to consider making your own web pages:

When you design using an online tool, the company you're using is under no obligation to back up your data. If their systems go down, or if they go out of business, all your stuff could be lost. It's not likely to happen, but I can point to more than a few people who had some kind of "free" e-mail service during the "dot com" era and lost all their messages when the website turned out the lights.

If a teacher wants to share information with students, simple HTML pages may be the way to go. The teacher can design them on their own computer, rather than having an internet connection the whole time. Simple HTML pages load faster too.

Just a couple ideas...
-- Mark

Mark Ford, MSEd.
English Teacher
Telstar High School