24 April 2014

How to Make Your Teacher Website

I had to create a self-guided instructional module for a project in a class I'm taking. I decided to provide some tutorials and such for teachers to get a website going. I turned in the final project last weekend, and while it's still probably far from perfect, I figured I'd share it in case anyone was interested in creating their own teacher website.

You can click here to go to the promotional video with links to the Canvas course I created (the site itself is a kind of example of what you can accomplish), or you can continue past the break and I'll embed all the tutorial videos from the project with short descriptions.

First, you'll need to set up an account with Weebly. They have a program going where if you refer someone, you both get $10 toward premium. Click here to be referred by me and we both get $10, or click here to simply create your own teacher account. If, for some reason, you're looking to create a website for personal or professional reasons, just go to Weebly.com and create an account there.

At some point during the registration process, you'll see a screen that looks like this:
My tutorials are based on choosing "Site," but naturally you're welcome to choose whichever suits your needs. If you're considering doing a teacher blog but you're not sure, you can choose "Site" now and switch to a blog later. It's not that hard.

Setting up a basic home page


In the top right of your window you'll see an orange PUBLISH button. You need to click that to put your website online, and you need to click it again anytime you want changes to show up online.

Next will be several videos demonstrating different things you can do with a website. If you have the time and resources, I say do them all. Otherwise, just pick the most appealing thing and start there.

Creating a Class Page

A great class page will have a description of the class with objectives, and assignment descriptions. New students can get a glimpse of the course and current students can make sure they're staying on top of their assignments. If you flip your classroom, you can use this page to link to videos, and if you use a calendar you can put that on here too. That would be an amazing class page for sure.

Creating an Online Disclosure Document

First you'll just put all your disclosure information on a web page. You can stop there, or create a fillable form using Google Drive which will be shown in the next video.

Creating an Online Disclosure Form

By creating one of these forms, you'll end up with a Google Drive spreadsheet of the student/parent information, rather than a bunch of crumpled half-sheets of paper in a drawer somewhere.

Embedding a Google Calendar

Two of the most annoying questions a teacher will get are, "I was gone yesterday, what did we do?" and "When is this assignment due?" (The second question doesn't sound that bad, but it is when it's the 50th time it's been asked today.) Avoid these issues by putting a calendar right on your website. It'll have the day's activities and due dates on it, and students and parents will never wonder again. You'll need to have a Google account. (Many teachers already organize their instruction in a Google calendar.)

Switching to and Using a Blog

An announcements blog will appeal to some teachers but not all. The nice thing about a blog (vs. the general class page) is that it shows you the most pertinent information, because it's the latest. You can use it to post the week's assignments. You can use it to remind students about projects. You can use it to show off student work, or link to something in the news that's cool, or just share fun stuff. This is incredibly easy to set up, and it only takes a few minutes to create a new post.

Sharing Video (Flipped Classroom)

Flipping the classroom is a big trend these days, and it's a trend I believe in. When you flip the classroom, you eliminate much of the classroom management that teaching lessons requires. You also automatically help out the students who are absent, and your lessons can be a lot shorter. Flipping is a bit of an investment, but it pays off, and I'll never go back. If you have PowerPoint lessons or other computer-based presentations, we'll use Screencast-o-matic to make lessons. If you have an iPad and you do white board or transparency lessons, we'll use Educreations. Then we'll set up the class page or the announcements blog to link to these videos. Like I said, it's an investment, but it's worth it.

The video below really only shows how to share videos that have already been uploaded somewhere. Yesterday I posted about recording your screen on a Mac. Otherwise, I'll refer you to Screencast-o-matic for recording your screen on a PC and Educreations for creating lessons on your iPad.

1 comment:

  1. My Screen Recorder Pro will work better for you. It is an excellent screencast tool. Records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone - or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to AVI, WMV, MP4, or FLV. Just perfect for creating tutorials, demos, and presentations. Plus, java is not required and there are no limits on recording length. Also, the recordings play back on any device.