Why Websites?

Class and project websites allow teachers and students to showcase their work, collaborate online, and learn a different set of communication strategies. Creating a website no longer required the ability to write in HTML (the language used to design web pages). Creating a website now typically resembles an editing platform that looks much like a typical word processing document. Also, many website editing platforms feature a “drag and drop” feature that allows users to select add-ons from a menu that can be dragged an dropped onto the website canvas.

Understanding the Difference: Blog v. Wiki v. Website

Saying website is much like saying dog. You get the general idea that it has four-legs and a tail, but besides that it could be a Great Dane or a Chihuahua. Before choosing a website creation tool, first choose the type (or breed) of site based on the project and purpose that it needs to fulfill.

  • Blogs allow students to have discussions and conversations online. They provide a simple interface for posting documents, articles, and lessons, or posing questions. A key feature about blogs is that the newest information or post is located at the top of the page, pushing older information down the page. Blogs also allow comments by readers that can promote critical read of student work by peers. Visit the blogs page for more information.
  • Wikis create collaborative websites where students can share files and collaborate on any time of content. The term wiki typically brings to mind wikipedia, a publically editable online encyclopedia. A wiki created for classroom use is essentially the same, as any student with access to the wiki can post new content, edit existing content and collaborate on the wiki. Visit the wiki page has more detailed information.
  • Websites are slightly different than blogs and wikis as once content is added to a website it typically stays static over an extended period of time. Websites can be collaborative like a wiki but do not have the commenting function associated with blogs. A website is a great fit for a student or class project that once created, will require little adjustment over time.

Many website creation tools now integrate basic information pages with blogging and wiki capabilities. These tools also do not require any prior knowledge of HTML (the language used to design web pages).

Best Tools for Website Creation

Websites can now be created in a matter of minutes with a number of different tools. The list below provides a glimpse into what is available at no cost.

This may be the website building platform most suited for teacher and student use as Weebly offers a specialized education version. Weebly for education allows teachers to create classes and student accounts within each class. Student websites can then be private to the teacher or public on the web. Websites are also ad free and can be password protected for enhanced security. Visiting student websites is quick because all websites are accessible from within the teacher login.

Create a high quality website with a simple drag and drop interface. Wix has a large number of features that can be included in a website, therefore this platform is suited for older high school students. There is not an education version of this platform. Wix offers both a ‘How To‘ and ‘Help’ page.

Extremely easty to setup and build a website. Webnode features a drag and drop feature to add elements to the website. A blog is easily integrated as well as multi-media content. Similar to Weebly but does not have an education component that allows for teacher moderation of student websites.

Create an online portfolio with this website building platform. This platform is best for students who need to create a visual based website, as Carbonmade leans towards a visual arts based website. This platform is best suited for use with upper level, high school students as there is no teacher moderation.

An extremely easy to use and flexible website platform that features a basic drag and drop feature to build a site. There are basic templates to choose from that can be quickly customized with pictures and text adjustments.Here is a short tutorial from Lifeyo & a FAQ page to help getting started.

A full feature website building platform that results in a website with an extremely professional appearance. With a drag and drop interface, the ability to include slide shows, a YouTube media gallery and an integrated blog, Webs offers a platform that would be well suited for an all year website project where students include both static content on their website and ongoing entries on the integrated blog.

Similar to the both Webs and Lifeyo, Kafafa offers another drag and drop website building interface that automatically updates the website when changes are made while editing. Kafafa websites are quite customizable and offer students the ability to differentiate the appearance of their website. The free option on Kafafa is ad free.

From within a free Google account, unlimited GoogleSites can be created. While the interface is not quite as intuitive as other drag and drop based website builders, the capabilities are significantly greater. Each site can contain unlimited pages with varying capabilities ranging from file storage to blog discussions to sortable lists of data.

Part of the iLife suite that comes standard with Mac computers, iWeb easily integrates with iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes as well as Dashboard widgets to create websites with a variety of features. These sites can either be published to MobileMe or other hosting service with FTP (File Transfer Protocol is the ability to upload files to a website hosting service). However, neither MobileMe nor hosting services are free.

Website Creation Video Tutorials

Weebly YouTube Tutorial

Wix YouTube Tutorial

Webnode YouTube Tutorial

Google Sites YouTube Tutorial