Are you a teacher with her finger on the pulse of all of the latest ways to incorporate technology into your classroom? Maybe you’re a burgeoning tech-educator who’s looking for their first step into this exciting world. No matter how experienced you are in the world of ed-tech, the case for collaborative learning experiences is always a win-win.
Ask any teacher to describe the excitement level of her students when she announces they’re weaving technology into their learning. Engagement increases. Attention spans are focused. Creativity pours out of students in exciting waves.
Exploring Your Options
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of incorporating technology into your lesson plan is finding the right tool or project. One of the most successful projects I see teachers using again and again is creation of a class website. The beauty of this project is that your students will walk away with a wide array of skills. From technical knowledge to writing and editing, this project demands that students rise to a challenging yet achievable occasion.
Building Your Site
The first step in this process is to decide which platform you’d like to use. For first time candidates, I’d recommend using a user friendly option that allows for customization. WordPress jumps to the front of the pack since its use stretches far beyond the classroom walls. Further, there are thousands of resources and troubleshooting guides published for teachers to utilize. To get started, create a free domain or if you’re interested in a custom domain, you can buy a hosting platform. This will give you more freedom on obtaining the URL you want.
Brainstorm Your Content
The next step is to decide on a theme or a purpose for the website. Will this be a summer website where students are encouraged to write weekly blogs on their adventures at home? Or is the website tied to a specific school subject? Consider opening up this discussion with your students.
From publishing a post to building a new page, check out this resource on website fundamentals. One of the first elements to discuss with your students is the architecture of the site. Is a user able to navigate the site with ease? Are there hidden pages that may not be found? If this is a long-time project, consider teaching the following elements:
- Creating a menu
- Building a page
- Writing a post
- Adding a photo gallery
- Creating an ‘About’ Page
Dive into the Design
One of the essential skills your students will gain is that they’ll try their hand at designing and building websites. Thanks to WordPress, its format was created to be easy to build. From pre-built layouts to the Divi Builder, you’ll be able to give your students the freedom to play around without having to teach heavy coding skills.
Assign and Moderate
Getting the website up to speed can take the longest amount of time to accomplish. You’ll be creating a homepage, an about page, a page for blogs. But once that initial work is completed, you’ll be ready to fill the site with content. Assigning blogs can take the place of traditional in class writing prompts. The beauty of blog writing is that your students will be exposed to a different form of writing–one that still requires clear thinking, grammar, and flow.
Building a website can be a great, cross-disciplinary class project that inspires your students to develop new and existing skills.