Using your classroom website effectively

Posted: November 14, 2010 in Websites

The idea of a classroom website certainly isn’t a new one. Seemingly hundreds of web-hosting companies are now catering to teachers, providing templates and websites designed specifically for the needs of the classroom. However, I have seen so many ineffective websites that are a pain for the teacher who created them, and ignored by parents and students who should be benefiting from them.

I can’t recommend or review any specific website, because I don’t use any of them: I have a google sites account that I use specifically for my classroom. Google sites does have a template specifically for teachers, but you don’t have to use it to create an effective website. It is easy to use and all you need is a google account to create one (and it’s free!).

There are so many ways that you can use your classroom website, so I thought I’d spend a bit of time here discussing different outcomes for your website and how you can achieve them.

(1) To communicate with students

  • Post resources that you use in class (your syllabus, handouts, websites, videos) that your students can access from home.
  • Post a google calendar with due dates and other important deadlines to serve as an additional reminder (or just post the due dates as a list)
  • Share resources (websites, webquests, etc) that your students might find helpful in your course
  • Post a word, quote, or thought of the day that is relevant to your course

(2) To communicate with parents

  • Parents will also appreciate a calendar so they can help keep their children on task when necessary
  • Post any materials that are being sent home, just in case they don’t quite make it
  • Share links to websites that will act as a resource for parents

(3) To show off what your students have been doing

  • Use your website to share your podcasts
  • Link to your classroom blog so others can read what’s on your students’ minds
  • Post a student of the week
  • Post pictures of your classroom or students’ projects

(4) To communicate with other teachers

  • Post lesson plans that you have had success with
  • Share your thoughts on a particular approach or lesson
  • Share professional articles or blog posts that you have found inspirational and important to your teaching

Remember to update your website regularly, a website can be amazing but it quickly becomes useless if it is not up to date.

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