- The Student-Teaching Model Is Outdated: Here's How We Can Do Better - September 15, 2021
- Visualize: How Seeing What's Coming Changed My Teaching - August 16, 2021
- 10 Lessons About Teaching from My Youngest Son - June 24, 2021
- Ending the Epithet “Try-Hard” Once and for All in Classrooms - June 18, 2021
- From STEM, Let's Pivot to the BRANCHES of the Humanities - May 25, 2021
- Would Education Collapse If Teachers Stopped Working for Free? - May 20, 2021
- 10 Ways to Teach Like Ted Lasso: Part II - April 21, 2021
- 8 Tips So Your Substitute Plans Don't Suck - April 14, 2021
- 10 Ways to Teach Like Ted Lasso: Part I - March 12, 2021
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: Habit 3 - First Things First - February 26, 2021
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According to a recent survey by eSchoolNews, students are using computers and the Internet more now than ever. A majority of students say that they use the Internet for homework help, learn from YouTube, use their mobile devices for instruction, and would like to try the flipped classroom method of instruction. And yet there are still teachers in our profession who haven't updated their website since GeoCities went under or, worse yet, outright neglect an online presence.
I'm here to help teachers build their websites into the best tool for them and their students by incorporating the following components:
Trait #1: First, choose a website company to use. My school district uses SchoolWorld (which I absolutely love), but that's something that a teacher or their district would have to pay for. Try these free sites in case the district doesn't have a district-sponsored space.
*WordPress is probably the best free-player site. It's very maneuverable and user-friendly and what we use to help add content to our website here.
*Weebly is what students use for National History Day; if a group of 7th graders can use it, they can show their teachers how to use it as well.
*Wix claims to be one of the largest free website builders.
*Jigsy is another very user-friendly website builder with very crisp designs.
*Lastly, there's YOLA, among many others, that teachers can use.
Trait #2: Decide to purchase a domain name. I'd highly recommend doing some investigating as to whether the cost is worth it. GoDaddy.com is probably the best place to do some research on whether www.BiologyWithMrsJones.com is available.
Trait #3: Upcoming homework assignments! I know, I know. Teachers post their homework in the classroom, and students should write it down in their agenda. But that won't always happen, and sometimes when Sour Sally is absent, her mom is going to want to know what homework she missed. How nice would it be to already have a link for it? Don't think students will use it? When I ran a visitor stats assessment of my website, students visited the homework link more than 300 times in May alone. That helped combat the spring blues more than anything else in my repertoire.
Trait #4: With that said, post the whole Class Agenda and curriculum. Why the heck not? If anyone wants to know what they're learning about that day or next month, put it online so the sick student, the parent, the administrator, or community member can see how committed we are to this profession.
Trait #5:Extra Credit. It's not something I personally believe it (see my past article on why it should be eliminated), but teachers can save themselves tons of headaches by having extra credit opportunities solely online.
Trait #6: Online textbook. When I taught language arts, the books weighed about as much as the darn kids did. Save their back and save a book's condition by letting them keep it in their locker and using an online version of the textbook. If it doesn't exist, press the administrators for new textbooks because they're outdated!
Trait #7: Unique classroom tools. I for one use the online, Facebook-like Edmodo program in class (read the article by a guest columnist on Edmodo by clicking here). We also do mini-projects called Processing Assignments (which I learned from the Teacher's Curriculum Institute), and students participate in National History Day. These are all unique, thought-provoking components to my classroom, so when students have questions, I have a part of my site dedicated to explaining what they are and how to best use these tools. Other teachers should do the same as well.
Trait #8:Photos and videos. If we could earn a nickel for each minute a student spends looking at these things online, we'd have no education funding problems. Teachers should be part of the online expedition by adding their own.
Trait #9: Contact information. Email address. School phone number. Google Voice phone number. Voice mail extension. Personal phone number. Twitter handle. Whatever a teacher is comfortable with, but at least one of them.
Trait #10: A personal biography. Whether teachers know it or not, students are going online to Google as much as they can about their teachers. It's fun to find students locate (and photoshop) teeny-bopper, "hip-hop" artist Jake Miller and me together. Despite this, students are still able to find out information about me because I publish it on my website and have a presence almost as large as the musician. I control the information about me because I write it. Teachers should do the same, too.
Please feel free to view, beg, borrow, and steal from my own teacher website (http://www.cvschools.org/webpages/jmiller/index.cfm). One random administrator from a different state prompted me to write this article when she told me that my website is "how all teachers' should be." I'm very proud of it, and I want all teachers to be make their websites top-notch, too.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]