Creating a Website for the Busy Educator

These days most educators simply don’t have the time to spend days on end setting up a personal website for their classroom or educational ventures. Some educators prefer using Google Sites because it is free, but Google Sites is limited in the content you can provide to your audience or students. Google Sites is perfectly fine for the older teacher who is about to retire, but wants to follow their school districts’ move into newer technology. Most other educators need to focus on creating a strong website that can constantly be referenced.

My primary suggested reasons for creating your own personal website are:

  • Snapshot of your teaching – in case you end up moving on to a different district you will have a visible instrument to show a new administrative team of what you’ve done and how you’ve done it.
  • It can evolve – some educators initially start their websites as a tool for their students, but the website may eventually involve if other individuals are viewing your website. You could in theory have multiple parts of your website that are each geared towards different ventures.
  • You’re in control – if you are like me you use a bunch of worksheets in the classroom, well with a website you can store all of these worksheets on your server, which wouldn’t be possible with Google Sites or your school district’s allotted website space.
  • One tool educators use if they’re not that familiar with website design in Weebly. There are free aspects to Weebly and paid aspects too. Weebly is a lot like Wixx, another website design service for those with limited design backgrounds. It allows you to modify a template, looks okay, but is pretty basic.

    The Easiest Way to Create a Website.

    If you’re going the paid route there are some websites you should be familiar with in 1&1 and GoDaddy.

    Both of these allow you to purchase a domain, hosting and all the bells and whistles you need to run a website. I personally prefer GoDaddy, but have heard good things about 1&1. NOTE: I only purchase domains through GoDaddy and use a different hosting company.

    $8.99 .COM Domains from GoDaddy!

    Another option you can use is but haven’t used any of their products to advise one way or the other. Windows Hosting

    I then utilize Host Gator for my hosting, as it allows me to create forums, blogs, etc. with ease.

    Once my website is up and running I head over to Vista Print and get some cool advertising gear for the new website. You can too!

    NOTE: Use the tools you are most comfortable with after doing your research.

    Back to School Basics: Create a Classroom Tour Video

    Lights, camera, action! Once you’re done preparing your room, it’s time get out a camera or your smartphone and create a guided video tour of your classroom. When you’re done, upload this video to YouTube, and share the link on a classroom homepage or social media site. If you have availability to student or parent email addresses before the school year begins, send the link out. You could also send this during the first week of school, but sending it before the school year begins helps students feel a little more comfortable and relieve the first day jitters because they know exactly what to expect when they walk in the door. This also introduces you to parents so they can put a face to your name – it is especially helpful with parents at the middle / high school level who may never come into contact with their child’s teacher.

    Here are a few things you may want to cover:

    • The basic layout of your classroom. Show the student desks, your desk. Where are student accessible materials? Where do they turn in homework? Do students store coats, lunch boxes, etc in the classroom or in lockers in the hallway? Is there a restroom in your classroom? Cover all of these areas and any other relevant information you can think of.
    • Is there a place within your classroom, or in the hallway where you post information such as field trips, conference sign ups, or other important information? Be sure to highlight this area so that parents can find it easily!
    • Have someone record you sitting in a comfortable place within your classroom (or, be really hip and use a selfie-stick). Behind your desk may come off as a little too sterile or intimidating. Introduce yourself and convey your excitement for the school year. Share your goals for the year. Remind parents where they can locate your contact information (don’t share your contact info in the video unless you are keeping the link private.)

    Creating this virtual tour should set the tone for your classroom. Let students and parents alike see your passion for teaching, and how you take pride in this space. Be confident and speak clearly.

    Other information videos you can create for your own classroom vlog (video blog) series can include:

    • An overview of your homework / classwork / grading policies.
    • If you have a self-contained classroom, or your entire homeroom follows the same schedule, overview this schedule. If you’re tech savvy, you can overlay pictures over the different areas within the school that the children will visit or even walk the school as you explain where you are going.
    • A walking video of how to get to your classroom from the front door of the school. For students coming into a large, new school this can really alleviate some anxiety.
    • Explain personal electronics policy / computer usage within the school.
    • Video screen navigation of how to access student grades online, locate information on the class website, or social media links for the class.

    Post in the comments what other ideas you have for “How to” or informational videos teachers can create!