Free Online Web Site Creation and Publishing for Teachers
Are you an educator interested in establishing an online presence for your classroom? Many Web sites offer teachers free tools and free hosting services, with no HTML knowledge needed. Whether your goal is a home page, a hotlist, a WebQuest, or a full-fledged Web site, these online resources will allow you to create the online "home" of your dreams! Included: Links to the best free Web site builders and hosts the Internet has to offer!
"As the technology coordinator at my school, I've had several teachers ask me to show them how to create a Web page for their classes," technology teacher Pamela Horrocks told Education World. "Because I use HTML, I needed to find an inexpensive and easy way for novice Web designers to create sites."
Horrocks, who teaches grades 6-12 at The Archer School for Girls in Los
Angeles, sent an e-mail to Classroom Connect's "Connected Teacher" listserv, asking her peers to recommend sites they had used. She received about 30 replies -- and many leads to share with teachers at her school.
"Currently, I'm the only teacher in my school who has created a classroom site," explained Horrocks. "We are really hoping, though, that teachers will catch the fever; we'd love to see more teachers create sites. As we all know, however, it's a huge time commitment -- and sometimes time is not easy to come by."
Hosts With the Most: Educational Web Site Builders
Selecting the right resource to suit your needs is essential to developing a Web site you and your students can be proud of. The following sites, developed specifically for educators, offer flexibility, reliability, and a simple format.
* Create your own password-protected list of educational resources with EduHound Hotlist from EduHound. Every page can be customized with a title, theme, and mascot.
*A free home page is one of the benefits of membership in the Bigchalk.com community. Registration is free, and the pages can include photos, links, and even documents. Know a little HTML? You can add it too!
* Inspiring Teachers, another source for Web site development and publishing, offers a variety of hosting options.
* This site claims that anyone can create an "eBoard" in just two minutes! Less a Web site than a virtual bulletin board, an eBoard is the perfect format for publishing class announcements, messages for parents, photos, links, WebQuests, and even pesky permission forms!
QUICK AND EASY SITES FOR TEACHERS
With Web hosts designed for teachers, however, building simple Web pages couldn't be faster or easier. The resources below -- many from Horrocks's list -- provide educators with the tools they need to create attractive Web pages and to publish those pages for free!
Whether you want to create a complete Web site or just a WebQuest, TeacherWeb can help. Available only to educators, TeacherWeb's basic site provides space for classroom announcements, homework assignments, teacher background, a calendar, FAQs, and links. A sample starter site shows the versatility of this particular host. Non-educators can use the site's counterpart, WorkNotes.com, for $3.95 per month.
This unique Web creation tool allows educators to establish five different types of pages for student use -- a hotlist, scrapbook, treasure hunt, sampler, and WebQuest. Filamentality, from Pacific Bell's Knowledge Network Explorer, does not host teacher home pages; it's designed instead to help educators create online activities and encourage active learning among their students. The site saves students search time by providing starting pages for online explorations. Students can use resources created by their own teachers or visit the site's Blue Web'N Library to explore existing topics! "Filamentality is a great site for creating an online work sheet," said Horrocks. "Several of my colleagues use it and love it. It definitely takes a bit of preparation, but the kids really enjoy the end result."
Register with SchoolNotes, part of EdGate, and quickly create a classroom Web site. Teachers can post assignments or class notes along with school contact information and favorite links.
HOME, HOME ON THE WEB
Several of the sites recommended to Horrocks were established for any Web user, not just teachers. Horrocks's favorite choice for online site creation and hosting -- although no longer a totally free service -- is Homestead
"Homestead is a fantastic online Web design site," Horrocks told Education World. "It's my personal choice for online Web authoring. I really like Homestead because the site is very user friendly -- users don't need to know a hint of HTML -- and offers lots of options. Teachers who have no idea how to create a Web page can simply click an icon to place text, pictures, sounds, a hit counter, weather, a guest book, and more on their own Web pages."
Horrocks especially appreciates the fact that Homestead allows teachers to import student work for parents to see. She noted, "If a teacher is seriously interested in creating a classroom Web site and doesn't mind spending $5 a month -- or if the school is willing to cover that cost -- Homestead is the way to go!"
Free for All -- Even More Web Site Builders
Although not designed specifically for educators, the resources below are also useful for creating free Web sites!
- GeoCities This popular Yahoo! outlet for free Web site hosting offers short URLs, "PageWizards," and an easy-to-use editor for building pages.
- Lycos The Web builders Angelfire and Tripod are a part of the Lycos family. Choose from several sources to meet your Web-building needs.
- The Express Page Even beginners can make handy home pages with this resource. Simply name the page, select graphics, and then add the finishing touches.
Article by Cara Bafile
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