As IT Consultant, one of the topics I receive the most questions about is how to create a website to post lessons, assignments, homework, and other such communications to students and parents. The one thing I want to stress right off the bat before going any further with this post is that creating a website as an extension of your classroom is easy! Do not be afraid! The other thing that I would like to stress is that it is not overly time consuming. At first, put as much time into it as you can. Over time, you can add more and more elements as your comfort level allows.
What would you like your website to do for you and your students?
Be sure to come up with a plan as to what exactly you would like your site to do. For instance, do you want to post daily updates about what happened in class? Would you like to post homework and assignments? Would you like to include links to downloadable files (such as assignment sheets and rubrics)? Would you like to include video as a reminder or extension of class lessons? Would you like to include mp3 files of the book/story you are currently reading in class? Would you like to link to your or other blogs? Would you like to link a calendar to your site that lays out your entire unit and class events? If you answered yes to any (or all) of the questions above, then I am here to tell you that Google Sites has exactly what you need. I have found Google Sites to be both easy to use, and versatile – a dynamic extension of my classroom and of my teaching style. A class website is the best way to keep students and parents informed and up to date.
How to use Google Sites
Google Sites is *very* easy to use and is completely web-based.
Here is an example of one that I set up for my Media Studies class (EMS3O) – CLICK HERE. I wanted the students (and their parents) to have a place to go to review class materials, check for homework, participate in enrichment activities, and engage in other relevant course topics.
The fact that Google Apps. are fully integrated with each other provides you with a versatile platform to embed calendars, video, audio, blogs, downloads, and the like all in one area.
Follow these step-by-step instructions and by the time you are done, you will have a web-site with which you can extend your classroom into the digital world.
Let me know what you think. Share some ideas here about what you find works and what is valuable to your particular teaching style and class dynamic.
Check out The Google Channel for more Useful Tutorials.