Monday, September 20, 2010

Using Your Class Website As A Productivity Tool

I've used a class website every year I've taught, generally as way to inform parents of class activities, share deadlines with students, and occasionally post student work.  This year my class website is taking on a transformation as a productivity tool. Two key changes are:

  • I switched from using to Weebly's education version. The only reason I did this was because yola is blocked in our school, and instead of going through the long process for unblocking requests it was easier to make the switch. Weebly is a little more user friendly for newbies, but I do miss the extra features yola provided.
  • Because I have several non-readers I added more graphics to my homepage, students will rely more on the graphics than the text.

Previously for my "What Are We Doing Today" page I've used individual class blogs to share objectives and links. With seven preps this was incredibly time consuming.  My favorite new feature is the use of PlanbookEdu. I discovered this today through a random search and am quite pleased! . I've always wanted my plan book in an online version for students/parents/teachers/admin, and this provides a great way to do this.

  • Create your account in PlanbookEdu and make your lesson plans.
  • Share the book with a random address (I choose completely fake but it doesn't matter).
  • After doing the above you will get a link for to view the plans, add that link to your website.
  • When students click on the link from your website they will be prompted to enter an email address (the fake one again) but then they will be able to see the plans.
My class website is set as students' homepage. Students click on the "What Are We Doing Today" button when they log in to see the plans, which includes the hyperlinks for any activities we have that day. This is also very helpful if I'm not in the building one day.

The one downside is that in order to have the plans shared you have to be a paid subscriber. I think the $20.00 a year fee is incredibly cheap to make my life easier.