TeachersFirst Edge - Web page makers

 

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PBWorks - PBWorks. Inc.

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This online tool lets you and your students create a collaborative "space" online in any subject, allowing as many people as you want to edit, make changes, add new content, ...more
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This online tool lets you and your students create a collaborative "space" online in any subject, allowing as many people as you want to edit, make changes, add new content, etc. You may be familiar with wikipedia, but wikis can be so much more! A recent poll of "high tech" educators cited wikis as the one web-based tool they could not live without! If you have not tried a wiki yet, visit the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for a detailed, step-by-step explanation and starter help, including dozens of ideas for ways to use a wiki in your classroom.

If you are not sure which wiki tool is best for you, see our detailed TeachersFirst review of PBWorks (formerly PBWiki) features, pros, and cons(done as part of the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through). Ignore the persistent and pervasive suggestions that you upgrade to a fee-based membership!

tag(s): social networking (112), wikis (19)

In the Classroom

Click through the first two steps to create a free wiki, including the name (which becomes part of the wiki URL). Be sure to select "education" as the answer to "What is this wiki for?" Wait for your confirmation email (may take a while...check junk mail folder). After the email, choose whether your wiki is public or private (visible to members only or to the public). Set a "key" (password), if you wish. Bypass the offer to PAY. Use the Quickstart steps to configure the wiki just the way you want it or simply play to learn the Clickable editing toolbar. Add and edit pages, invite new members, explore the three template options and a few options for "skins." You may want to become familiar with the tool as a teacher-created site at first so you know its capabilities before turning students loose.

See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips.

Safety concerns: Students need email accounts to have individual log-ins. Note: with this wiki tool, you do not have the option of "locking" certain pages or setting different "levels" of users. You and your students have equal access to make changes, once you make them "members." There are also "plug-ins' (widgets) available from the toolbar, some of which may connect you to sites with unmonitored content. Decide ahead of time what you policies are concerning use of the "plug-ins."

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Weebly - Weebly

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create ...more
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Besides the basic "drag and drop" features for the title, text, text with a picture, etc., the free version allows you to use cool items: photo gallery, slide show, YouTube videos, Google Maps, an assignment form, and lots more. They promise that the free service will remain 100% feature packed.

tag(s): blogs (88), gamification (65), microblogging (44), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

If you plan to have students create their own web pages, under your account, no email is needed for them, and they will have a special log in page. You will have to enter each student's name, username and a password. What's nice about Weebly is they will print out a list for you to give to students with their log in information. Though you can make your site private, you want to be sure not to use student's real names. Use a code or acronym. Suggestion: You can use the first two letters of the students last name, the first three letters of their first name, and if you have multiple classes, have them put the class period or code after the last letter. This works well if you're going to be grading web pages, since most grade books are in alphabetical order by last name.

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own Weebly website for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom, where students can submit their assignments, contact information, and anything else you might want to put on your website. You can add up to 40 students on one free website, so students can use their pages for projects and assignments. There is a free blogging tool that you may want your students to use for writing assignments, reflection, or reading journals, just to name a few ideas. You can have everything you need on one Weebly website! Find more specific blog ideas in TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics ideas.

Try using Weebly for: "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias); science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own.

After a first project where you provide "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class product together using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" long after the unit ends.

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Google Sites - Google

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Need to create a simple website without cost? Google Sites offers a simple interface that is easy to use to build websites. Use some advanced features such as fonts, text ...more
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Need to create a simple website without cost? Google Sites offers a simple interface that is easy to use to build websites. Use some advanced features such as fonts, text size, text color, and headings. Add images and videos from You Tube to your site. Revert to previous versions of the pages you create through the revision history. Add a Google map to your page easily. Use other Gadgets that are easy to plug in by choosing one of the many Google Gadgets. Create many different kinds of pages in your site. Choose your own privacy rules for the site as well.

tag(s): wikis (19)

In the Classroom

Users must have a Google account or sign up for an account. View the controls in Google sites before creating to get an idea of usable features. Find great hints and tips about using Google sites here.

Click "Create a new site" to name your site and begin the process. Choose from a variety of templates and begin building your pages. Click "Edit" on your page to bring up the editing options. Use the buttons on the editor bar to change font sizes, color, etc. Click "Insert" to view a drop down menu of a variety of content that can be included on the page. Use the other tabs such as "Format," "Table," and "Layout" to change other aspects of the page. Be sure to click the "Save" button when finished editing a page. Create a new page within the site by clicking "Create a page." Choose from a variety of pages that have different formats suited for a web page, announcements page, file cabinet, or list. Be sure to select where the page will be found such as the top level menu or as a subpage under a different page in the site. Click on "More actions" to bring up other menu items such as "Manage Site," changing page settings, moving or deleting a page, and more. Share your site with others and invite users who can also make changes on the site.

Use a Google Site to create a simple web page for communication with students and their families at any grade level. In middle and high school, use student-created site(s) as a way for students to collaborate and share with many of the same features as a wiki.

Comments

Very versatile for portfolios. Does take some work, not particularly well-documented. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Spruz - spruz.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for ...more
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for classroom use in K-12. Because of concerns over COPPA (federal legislation protecting children on the web), it is recommended for ages 13 and up. Users outside the U.S. do not need to worry about this law. There are related blog posts and debate about whether the law applies if you configure your site a certain way, but TeachersFirst cannot recommend circumventing the law.

Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.

tag(s): blogs (88), bookmarks (60), chat (51), forum (9), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Before you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.

A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.

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Protopage - Protopage

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This online tool creates a highly visual "home page" that can incorporate multiple elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place. Not unlike Google's personalized homepage,...more
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This online tool creates a highly visual "home page" that can incorporate multiple elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place. Not unlike Google's personalized homepage, the elements look like little sticky notes or boxes, but there is far greater flexibility and a wider variety of content readily available. You can also make the page local (simply use it as the "home" on your classroom computer), shared by a select group (passworded), or completely public. You can easily make a theme or unit page for quick access of resources, complete with directions.

tag(s): resources (112)

In the Classroom

How would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!

Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!

If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.

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