This year I created a website for my 1:1 iPad class. I did not think it would change things that much, but wanted a space for students to have access to certain instructions, groups, timetables etc. What happened was that our class site became the backbone of our room, the go to place whenever they did not understand an instruction, or when they were continuing work at home.
I introduced the concept of a class site to my colleagues and they found exactly the same thing – words like ‘amazing’ were thrown around, alongside the phrase ‘I wish I had created one sooner’.
So what is a class site? It is a place students go to daily. They know what subjects they have when because of the timetable on the front page. If they have reading, they know the focus of the lesson, alongside the materials they need and the instructions to follow. The refection question is also on there, just in case they were busy reading one last sentence instead of listening to the instructions. It is a place where files can be shared with students, as can YouTube videos (embedded in; no links!), questionnaires, links to relevant content and more.
But why bother with the effort of creating it? Find our below.
Why You Should be Building a Class Site
1. Time management
Teachers do not have much time, but class sites free up some of that time so you can focus on creating even more engaging lessons. Instead of having to write instructions/questions/content up on the board, you can copy it straight from your planner, add a little detail and DONE. Much faster than writing everything on the board. Giving students files is also faster this way, as students don’t need to sign in to a LMS or find there app deleted overnight – it is always available.
2. Late comers/day dreamers
We all have the them. The students who always turn up to class five minutes into instructions, or those students who even in the most exciting lessons find their attention drifting. Rather than having to explain the instructions again and again, they can simply go onto the class site to find out what they are meant to be doing. This way you can focus on making sure they understand the content rather than simply repeating yourself again and again.
What happened was that our class site became the backbone of our room
3. Clarity for students
Some students are not late comers or daydreamers but find it difficult to think about the content and what exactly it is they are meant to do. Others listen but find that as soon as they begin to work they have forgotten part of it, or at least think they have, so constantly seek clarification. With a class site, they do not need to worry that they have forgotten something important. Even if they think there is a chance they misheard, they can double check the task and then continue on their work. This is a lot more time efficient than waiting with their hand up for five, ten minutes, until their teacher reaches them.
4. Multiple intelligences
For every student who learns through reading written content, there is another student who would prefer to watch a video, or connect it to other content, or listen to the audio version. A class site allows you to differentiate your teaching to reach these students. For example, you could have written instructions explaining a science experiment, then a video of the experiment being conducted, and a link to a blog of another class who is writing about their experience with the experiment. This provides multiple entry points to suit all of your students.
5. Staff absence/meeting days
Occasionally teachers are away. Whether we are sick or have a meeting or a professional development day, it means leaving our class with a substitute teacher and leaving instructions for that teacher. Sometimes your class will not get a substitute teacher and the class will be split, leaving no one to pass on your pre-planned lessons. Either way, a class site prevents a lot of problems, as it allows the substitute teacher to know exactly what needs to be taught (including with any documents or links you need the students to have access to) and leaves the students with no questions as to what they need to complete. It means the ‘I didn’t know what I had to do so I played games’ excuse can be left at the door.
Do you have a class site? How do you use it with your students? Drop a comment below and even sneak in a link to share your site!
Here are a few links that might help kick things off:
- 3 Great Ways Teachers Can Create an Online Identity for Their Class
- How To Choose The Right Platform For Your Class Blog
- 10 Innovative Ideas for Class Blogs
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, mkhmarketing.