A Better Classroom Website in a Week



Let’s assume that you’re not a web designer and you don’t want to become one. Does that have to mean that your classroom wikki, faculty web page, or school website can’t be a high quality, usable site?

We don’t think so. This week, we’re going to give you some ideas every day for improving your site. Follow along, and by the end of the week you’ll have a much improved web page.

First things first. Find out these things if you’re not sure about them right now:

  • How can you get into your site to work on it? At Rebecca’s school, teachers have to build their sites and upload them via FTP (file transfer protocol), or send them to the IT department to be uploaded. The IT department suggests building the sites in Word (see below for why we disagree). For online classes, there’s a content management system (CMS — some people say LMS for learning management system) to use, and many schools have a CMS  for their teachers. One of the districts in Josepha’s area uses WordPress. Whatever you use, find out how to get to it.
  • What are the rules? Rebecca’s school requires everyone to have a header of a certain size, and to include the school’s name in it. Some local schools require teachers’ websites to include a list of benchmarks. Find out what the requirements are for your school so you don’t put in a lot of time and effort and end up having to start over.
  • What’s the purpose of your website? You might use it to communicate with students and parents, to provide resources for your school, or to give students a place to publish their creations. Your purpose should define your site and affect how you use it, so this is definitely something to decide before you get started with building or improving your website.

The screen shot below is from Rebecca’s Resources page, where she has useful links for students. The point of it is to give students access to extra practice with grammar games and other fun and useful online resources. A simple page like this can save you a lot of time writing things on the board!

classroom website

Here’s the source code — the computer language — that goes with the part of the page that you can see:

We can show you how to make some changes and improve this without really having to learn computer languages, but you can avoid it if your school uses a content management system. However, please don’t try to avoid it by using Word, because this is what your source code will look like:

This is just wrong, and you really don’t have to do this.

We’re not going to interfere in your system, though. We’re going to show you how to improve your layout and look, how to embed things like Google Docs and YouTube videos into your site so you can do some interesting things with them, and how to make your site more user-friendly — no matter what method you use to build or work on your site.


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