Website creation as a class project
I might incorporate this technology into my future classroom in upper elementary grades by having students conduct some of their own research that could focus on literacy, math, science, history, etc, and synthesizing the information into a website. This is a very general idea, and depending on the grade level and subject, I could tailor the assignment to meet each student's needs, focusing on a subject that he or she might need to spend a little extra time on.
I would incorporate this technology into my classroom for several reasons. One goal is the use of the technology itself. To be able to maneuver a website and create a quality product is a skill that could come in handy in the future with our increasing attention to technology in the working world.
Another reason is that in making one's own website, I will allow students to explore through trial and error to produce something that he or she can be very proud of. One objective of the activity will be that students teach themselves how to create the website. They will be advised to seek help from other websites or their classmates. Learning on their own with minimal guidance from the teacher will foster inter-personal communication skills, intrinsic motivation, and problem solving.
The last goal is to create a lasting piece of reference that students can look at for years to come without it getting lost in the back of their closet. A quality website can be shared with other students in the class or students in other countries if the topic warrants. So, the long life of a well organized site can be something that students use as their own resource or send to other students as a resource for them.
Time involvement and possible barriers
Since I will be implementing materials students already have access to, like the Edutopia article suggests, I do not plan to run in to too many barriers. That being said, lack of time in the computer lab to finish the project is one barrier that could happen. I would want students to be able to finish the entire project in the computer lab in case some students do not have access to computers at home because then they would be at an unfair disadvantage.
Since I already know how to make a website through a couple different outlets, it would not take me long to learn the basics but if I were to become more advanced, I could spend hours learning how to do different things, so I would be exploring on my own just as the students are.
I do not think it will be easy to integrate this technology, however I also do not think that it will be the most challenging thing. In my courses at MSU, we have learned that activities should be meaningful to students in some way or another. The website is perfect because it's meaning is to create a resource that students can actually go back to and use or have other students use. I can envision myself using it in many different subjects, it is very versatile.
Is creating a website really worth it?
I would definitely recommend this technology to other teachers. I think that creating a website is something that can be done in a wide variety of contexts in everything from English Language Learning to art class, and it will create skills, motivation for learning and something students can be proud of in the end.
What do you think?
Comments are welcomed, I would love to hear your thoughts on if you think a website in a classroom is a good idea for integration of technology in a classroom.