Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How can teacher websites impact student learning?

Over this past school year we have been working hard to create and develop a model for teacher websites. In the high school we have introduced a Wordpress MU blog server. This new tool allows teachers to maintain websites without having to know any web programming.  It also allows teachers access to their sites from home without the need for any special software. Some other features include: Rss feeds, moderated commenting, threaded discussions, embedding of multimedia, attaching files, and parent notifications.

We have also introduced a course management software called MOODLE. Moodle is a secure software that allows for an extension of your classroom outside of the four walls. On Moodle teachers create online courses. Within a course they can host discussions, give quizzes, collect assignments, create webquests, develop surveys, link to videos, text and images, and a host of other features.

Now that we have these tools it is important that we take the next step and understand how these tools can be useful for teachers and students. How will they impact student learning? I will be writing about this topic in a few separate blog posts. For this post I would like to focus on teacher websites. The diagram below outlines some features that I believe are valuable on a teacher website.



By providing resources such as class  notes and assignments we eliminate the need to spend time during the day gathering these materials for students who are absent or lost the information. By adding quizzes and online discussions we open up our classroom to students outside the school day. Students can respond to discussions on their time. They have an opportunity to formulate a response and share it without the pressures of a full classroom. Quizzes can be used to assess prior knowledge before starting a new unit or as a formative assessment to check for understanding.

By displaying student work you are allowing them to write for a global audience.  Students will show engagement in the fact that what they are producing is going to be made available for others to view and comment on.  There will be a greater sense of pride with what they are creating.

These are just a few ideas of how a teacher website can contribute to student learning. I welcome additional comments from  you regarding this topic.

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