Focus Questions: How can teachers use a website or blog to improve teaching and learning?
Websites and blogs have become one of the most used tools for communicating within the last couple of decades. It has emerged as one of the most important ways for teachers to communicate with students, families, and colleagues. After reading chapter 8, I have now learned that there are three basic types of education-related blogs. We have 1) "official-face blogs", 2) single-purpose blogs, and 3) active learning blogs. Each of these blogs serves a different purpose, but they all benefit students, teachers and everyone associated with the school. Teachers also have three different options when creating their own website or blog: 1) do-it-yourself, 2) commercially available, or 3) open source.
Teachers often find that using blogs and websites is one of the most efficient ways to communicate with students and parents these days. Living in this fast-paced, highly technological twenty-first century, one has to quickly learn to adapt to these changes. I remember the days when teachers would send little notes home to parents, but these notes would magically disappear and for the most part were never received by the parent. Nowadays, you rarely have magic tricks being performed on these notes to parents, it's all done with a click of a button. Most teachers have made pretty neat websites for their entire class that benefits all parties. For the most part, teachers have included everything on their websites from their daily lectures, homework (along with the worksheets attached), projects, consent forms for parents, field trip dates, pictures of student work and much more. I am also highly aware of the benefits of having a blog for a classroom, this is a place that students can go to if they have any question for their classmates or for the teacher. There are teachers who have linked their blog to their e-mail address which is then linked to their phone. For example, one of my teachers in high school had a blog for her integrated science class, a student would post a question on the blog and almost instantly her phone would alert her of the new post. She was kind enough to show us an example of this on our first day in her class and we were all amazed. She would make sure to answer any questions posted in a timely manner and she kept this up for the entire year.
This resource can be extremely useful for educators of all sorts. This allows us to customize websites to our liking and to be fitting for students and parents to visit. It also allows for easy navigation for those who are new to the internet experience. With the use of the programs "plugins" you can virtually do anything imaginable to your website. Therefore, giving you an endless amount of options to customize. It also allows the creator of the website to edit and tweek things to their liking at any point in time. If for some reason, the creator of the website forgot to include something all they have to do is edit the webpage, as simple as editing a Word document.
The link provided below is a websites that has been built for a school, but in my opinion is a perfect layout for a teachers website (all it needs is a few tweeks here and there):
In conlcusion, there are many ways to communicate nowadays. Teachers greatly benefit from these savvy and useful resources. Whether it be using websites, blogs, e-mails, instant messaging, etc., it gets the job done. Teachers use the means to communicate that works best for them and their students. I believe that depending on what subject is taught, this will alter how the teacher can best communicate with the students. Teacher do need to keep in mind that some students are not as fortunate as others as they do not have the resources to go online. This will hinder the students ability to participate like other students do, but this does not mean that they should be excluded. Similar resources should be offered to the student, such as a phone number to the teacher or even a buddy system. Although notes to parents can seem a bit old school, it is still used all over the world and can be used in situations such as this one.
Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.