The Education World Tech Team shares its picks of the best software programs for classroom use. In this article, our experts reveal their choices for Web-authoring software. Don't miss the rest of this multi-part Ed World series: Load 'Em Up: The Best Software in the Education World!
Web-authoring software is used to create and post interactive Web pages, without learning a programming language. Most of the software in this category is designed for adults, but older students can use many of the programs. Interestingly, neither Claris HomePage nor PageMill, the two programs recommended most often by our tech team members, are still being produced, although copies may be available from school media centers or Web sites specializing in pre-owned software.
Each of the remaining authoring programs listed below received a single -- though glowing -- nomination from tech team members. Of those, WebExpress, CoffeeCup HTML, and Microsoft FrontPage are available for Windows only, and Apple HomePage is available only for Macintosh.
|Class Homepage Builder*|
|CoffeeCup HTML editor*|
The Gold Star rating was determined by considering each program's total score along with the number of recommendations submitted for the program and the tenor of reviewers' comments about it.
* based on results from a single evaluator
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The reviews and recommendations in this article represent the opinions of only our Tech Team experts. If you would like to add your rating to theirs, or if you want to rate and review another productivity program's suitability for classroom use, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Claris Home Page and PageMill are both easy for teachers who are interested in creating Web pages -- and easy enough for older students as well," Mary Kruel agreed. "Unfortunately, neither is still in production. Additional options for students and teachers who want to create simple, yet effective, Web pages include online tools such as HomePage (included in the AppleComputer iTools package), the WebPage Builder from Tom Snyder, and Class Homepage Builder from Scholastic.com."
Madeleine Decker's favorite authoring software is Macromedia's Dreamweaver. "Using a template of your site, you can update any pages that were created using that template," Decker said. "For example, if you add a button to your index page, Dreamweaver will add that button to all the other pages created with that template!"
"We have had seven different assistant principals in ten years," Decker noted. "Dreamweaver automatically changes the URL on the button to the new assistant principal's page. What a time saver!"
According to Russ Stamp, "Adobe GoLive is also a wonderful piece of software for Web authors. I use it with my eighth graders and they are learning the features quite easily."
"Making a Web page is a lot like creating WebQuests," Karen Kelly pointed out. "In my WebQuest workshops, I always use Microsoft FrontPage. It's set up like Microsoft Word, so if you're used to a PC, FrontPage is easy to use. The program makes it amazingly simply to create a Web page; in fact, it's not much harder than word processing! I learned FrontPage from an
"My school uses SiteCentral to create our school Web page," Kelly added. "It is very user friendly -- good for people who know very little about using a computer. For that reason, I don't like it! It's too prescriptive and the resulting pages don't look professional. The program is full of graphics and I don't like those either."
"The best HTML editors to get for student use," Fred Holmes concluded, "are those that are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). HTML codes are fine for advanced users but not for beginning users."
Article by Linda Starr
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