Weebly: Simple, School-Friendly Class Websites
There are a lot of free options that can help you to create a great class website. Some of them, such as blogs and wikis, will be discussed in later chapters. One of the tools that is simultaneously very easy to use and offers great additional features for schools is Weebly (http://education.weebly.com). Simply go to Weebly’s educational site and sign up as a teacher. If you sign-up at Weebly’s main site (http://weebly.com), you can still make a great free site, but you won’t have access to great features for students later on, such as having students turn in homework online or make their own websites as part of the class.
Once you confirm your email address, the first thing you want to do is to start working on your site. Before worrying about how the site will look, though, the best place to start is by brainstorming what types of information you want in your site. For example, I want the home page to be updates about what happened in class each day. I also want a page for a syllabus, for contact information, and for assignments. This is just an example; your site can have more or less. Just consider what information you need students and parents to have and what information students and parents need to be successful.
When you start to create your site, it will ask for a little information. I put a simple title, like “Mr. Bedell’s Class” or “Room 127.” I chose “Education” as the type of site and “Teacher” as the category.
Weebly will give you the option of registering your own domain name. What that means is that the site would be locate at http://yourname.com. This option costs money and I would not recommend that, especially if this is your first time creating a website. There are a lot of advantages to owning a domain name, but it is more than most people need. Choose the first option, as it is the simplest and it is free.
Weebly sets up a site with a default layout and an empty homepage. To use this, all you have to do is just drag the features you want from the bar on top to the page itself.
For my home page, I might choose paragraph with picture. Having a picture of the students or the classroom could help to show that this is their space. So, just drag drown “Paragraph with Picture” and click on each element that you want to edit.
The design tab along the top of the page gives several options for choosing different layouts and styles.
The pages tab lets you easily add new pages, such as a page on expectations. Just click on “New Page,” give it a name, and choose to show it in the navigation menu. If you have something you only want parents or specific people to have access to, you can even password protect certain pages.
When you feel you have the information you want to start with on the site and you are happy with the design, you can click publish. With one click, your site is published and your students can access it.
Whenever you want to update your site, which will likely be often, if not daily, you simply go to http://education.weebly.com and login. Just click on “Edit” and it will take you back to the same familiar editor you used to create the site.
There are more advanced features that you can use as well, but this is a great start towards providing students and parents with all the resources and information that they may need.