Culminating projects can be fun for students. It is the optimal time to allow students a creative channel to showcase their knowledge using a variety of formats. With new web 2.0 tools, final projects can be interesting and innovative while clearly showing whether students have met the intended learning objective.
One of my favorite projects to end or accompany a unit of study is the use of website creation in the classroom. Free, online website templates allow students to easily create web pages that are both organized and professional looking.
Weebly and Wix are free and easy to use website creators. Weebly offers Weebly for Education offering features such as student account management and parent connections. With an extensive library of templates to choose from, students can create a website without requiring any knowledge of html.
The benefits of website design are far-reaching and supports many 21st century learning outcomes(taken from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework).
- Use a wide range of idea creation techniques (such as brainstorming)
- Create new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts)
- Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts
Work Creatively with Others
- Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively
- Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work
- Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand the real world limits to adopting new ideas
- View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes
- Act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur
Web design can be implemented across the curriculum:
- Allow students to be become experts in a field and collaboratively create a classroom site on a specific subject. Other classes can use this site for reference purposes.
- Students can create a site to support a cause. Many classrooms have empowered students to become advocates for change. Sites that involve environmental awareness, anti-bullying or literacy campaigns are ideal for elementary aged students.
- Create a themed site on biographies, art, or music.
- For older students, foster the skill of maintaining ongoing content by allowing them to manage your classroom website.
- Students can create a mock business site.
- Websites can be used as online portfolios for students.
Web design tips:
- Ensure students are creating for a specific audience.
- Discuss the importance of content and design
- Discuss the importance of proofreading!
- Discuss creative commons.
Whether you are a web design novice or an experienced master, drag and drop, template based website creators are easy to implement into the classroom and can be an ideal addition to your next unit of study.