If you would like to create a website or blog, either as a separate class project or more as a way for students to create an online portfolio, there are a number of options available:
As part of myHebron, the technology department can create and host blogs at sandbox.schoolpress.co. This is how this blog is setup, as well as a few other department and class blogs currently in use.
The software provided is called WordPress and is a professional blogging platform that allows us to specify blog admins (who can change the design of the blog and edit any submitted content) as well as give access to specific students as authors (to create posts and comment on other posts).
Here is what the backend looks like when adding a new post, with the different sections accessed on the left hand side and a box for the post title and another for the content on the right:
It is also very easy to embed a whole range of different content into your post, including picture galleries and YouTube videos. For a classroom example take a look at this post on the AP Literature and Composition class blog that was setup this year.
To set up a blog for you through this service, we just need to know the name you would like for the blog and list of the students you would like to be able to post content.
Another blogging option we recommend, if you do not want to make your blog a part of myHebron, or if you want each student to create their own individual blog and choose the design themselves, is Blogger. This is a blogging platform provided as part of your and every students’ Google Apps account.
The layout, structure and options are very similar in style to WordPress, the only real difference is that you or your students would have to setup everything from scratch. If this is something you are interested in doing, here is an excellent guide to getting started.
Everyone will be familiar with Google Sites as this is what has been used to create your old PDPs (before we switched to Folio), but this is also a tool that can be used in the classroom to quickly create and publish a website. Again, this is a service provided as part of your and every students’ Google Apps account. Although the interface for editing and designing layouts can be a little clunky, Google Sites is especially good at embedding Google Drive content, such as Google Docs and Slides, which makes it very easy to create portfolio websites of academic work.
For an example project completed this year check out this post on Epic Poems, including links to the finished student websites.
Another option if you are looking to spend more time on the design and layout of a website is iWeb. This is a desktop app that is available on the library iMacs and is similar in style to something like Pages. This app lets you select from a range of templates and then exactly position objects such as text boxes and images, as well as add a range of text and image effects such as shadows and reflections. You can also embed different content such a YouTube videos and other multimedia content.
Here is what the interface looks like, with the inspector options in the box to the right:
The only downside to iWeb is that the files are stored locally on the computer so can’t be accessed from anywhere through the web (which is the case for the services listed above). Also, the finished project, once submitted, is a static site. This means that any changes made result in the whole site having to be re-uploaded.
Here is an example project from this year, again with links to student work.