Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Free websites! Create your class site today!

To reduce paper usage I project my lesson on a white board and have my students refer to the board as soon as they walk in the door. This does two things: minimizes goof off time and puts their attention on the task at hand. There are many projection methods, but I prefer the convenience of putting my materials online so I can edit any time, so I keep my lessons online.

We've mentioned Google's *free* website, Google Sites, which is very wysiwyg (ie. there's no need to know html to create a perfectly functioning website). My class site is hosted by Google Pages, the predecessor to Google Sites, which is great for quickly adding content. Did I mention that there are no ads?

The best example of a teacher website I know of is RedKid, by a former co-worker. His students blogged weekly as a writing activity, created graphics, conducted research, and played safe games, all from RedKid. Clearly he has a paid account, which is why his site is so customized and there are no ads, but you can approximate to achieve a similar effect.

Below are some other organizations offering free websites for educators. Some are ad supported, which means you may have to monitor to make sure they are appropriate for children.
  • Teach-nology: offers many graphics and Java to make your site enticing
  • EZ Class Sites: website but also provides student webpages & blogs, gradebook, and classroom management
  • School Rack: offers file storage, mailing list and calendar capabilities
  • Web School Pro: amazingly they offer free sites to districts, schools and teachers

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