Friday, November 2, 2012

Exemplary Classroom Web Pages by Pre-Service Teachers

I love exploring and discussing applications of technology for teaching and learning. It's my passion. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a course for pre-service teachers called Technology in the Classroom. One of the major assignments I've designed for the course is the development of a classroom web page. Most of my students are seniors who are currently in their internship semester and will begin student teaching in January. I encourage them to develop a web page they can use this year and in the future as a classroom teacher. I demonstrate four possible sites my students may want to use to build their classroom web pages, but I also encourage them to use any other sites and tools that work well for them. The tools I demo in class are Edmodo, Google Sites, Wikispaces, and Weebly. Last semester, most of my students used Edmodo to develop their classroom web pages. This semester, an overwhelming majority chose Weebly. My expectations for their web pages include:
  • Web page is visually appealing and structured in a way that makes it easy to access and interact with content.
  • Web page enables students and parents to access and interact with instructional materials. Multiple types of resources are in place to support and extend students’ learning.
  • Web page provides a structured format for meaningful interactions between teacher and students and among students.
  • Web page provides a meaningful structure for ongoing two-way communication with parents.
  • Web page provides extensive evidence of meaningful application of course content.
Early in the semester, I asked my students to explore three different classroom websites of their own choosing and critique those websites according to the criteria above. We used this initial exploration and evaluation to jump-start a conversation about what makes a classroom web page effective and useful. My students identified features and ideas that they wanted to replicate on their own web pages. They also found several examples of ineffective classroom web pages and identified things they don't want to replicate (i.e. outdated announcements, lack of organization).

I have been extremely impressed with the quality of the classroom web pages my students have created. Keep in mind that their websites are fictional since these pre-service teachers do not yet have their own classrooms. However, I believe there is much that current classroom teachers can learn from these students' web pages. The creativity and resourcefulness of these sites are amazing. If you're a teacher who is looking to spice up your classroom web page and make it more useful for you, your students, and your students' families, please take some time to check out the sites below. If you're an administrator who expects teachers to keep their web pages up-to-date and use them in a meaningful way, you may want to use some of these as exemplars for your faculty. My students and I would love to hear your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment.


Middle Grades:

High School English:

High School Social Studies:

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