In yesterday’s post I briefly discussed how teachers can develop a web presence using blogs and wikis. Many school districts offer web pages for teachers, but they are severely limited in scope. Use what the district offers to link to your own site, where you will have much more flexibility. Price need not be an issue: blogs at WordPress.com and Blogger.com are free and come with many features. PBwiki offers a free wiki as well. I’ll talk later about these platforms, but I want to start with what I think is the easiest option: Google.
Google’s entire philosophy is based on easy-to-use, easy-peasy, as that cute British cook Jamie Oliver always says. The beauty of using Google for education is that you can integrate as many of the applications together as you need. Start by signing up for gmail. If you did nothing else on the web, you would still be far ahead with gmail, which allows your students to communicate with you, send you assignments, etc. Gmail has a very simple and efficient tracking system so that you can easily retrieve past communications, and you have enough space so that you never have to delete anything. Gmail also has an effective spam filter, and is therefore a good option to offer to your students for email communications.
Once you’ve got email under your belt, you can set up a page on Google’s Page Creator. This page would be the go-to place for your students to find assignments, syllabus, class rules, interesting links, etc. And it is very simple to set up. Google allows you 5 different sites with each gmail account, however, you probably don’t need more than one. Use the opening page to lead your students to their distinctive class or grade level pages.
It’s free, and it’s easy.