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Teacher Websites – A Student’s Perspective

Written By: Robert Fuess

I have been a student for many years. I even took the 7-year plan to go through college for my Bachelor’s degree. Every so often I take another course. Since much of my studies and background involve web-related stuff, I tend to notice other people’s websites. (My wife who owns a little hair salon always notices people’s hair.)

My colleges have normally been well supported, and in my last one the teachers had their own web page on the campus website. It included a one-page description of the teacher’s credentials, a picture and some contact information. I found this very useful – since I could find the email for the teacher (especially since I tended to loose handouts that were given a month ago). It also helped me get to know a little more about the teacher.

Unfortunately, these pages were seldom (if ever) updated. Eventually they disappeared with budgetary restrictions.

Lately I have noticed on the web that there are a lot of teacher websites around. Elementary schools, high schools and colleges all had teachers with their own web pages. Many are funded by the school district or by the college campus administration. But few teachers tended to fill this out. I talked with some of the teachers and only a few had the skills or web tools to build their own web pages. Of those who did, there were varying degrees of utility in the pages. Some were very good – with useful information organized in a way to be helpful to students and parents. Others were rather sparse with little information and a couple of class pictures – but who could blame them? These teachers are normally very busy – and the fact that they took the initiative to start one is admirable. Any teacher who took this kind of effort must really love his or her students. (Most teachers don’t have one.)

Here is one teacher who did an outstanding job creating her own website: http://pfinck.tripod.com

I have found a few websites that are focused on providing teachers already built templates in that are nicely organized and useful to the students – and they have web-tools to help the teacher put the information in so they don’t have to be webmasters. They just have to be teachers. Hurray!

This is a TIME SAVER and a valuable information tool for the students (or their parents). All of these listed do not require the teacher to know HTML!

WEBSITE #1: http://www.inetteacher.com
ANNUAL COST: $24.95

There is a 30 day free trial available.

This is a very nice template site. I would definitely recommend this for teachers who have only one class.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
* Place to put information about the teacher or class
* contact information
* calendar of events
* ability for students to check grades
* homework calendar
* materials list page
* student work page (to view student’s work)
* EASILY CUSTOMIZE the look and feel (colors/backgrounds)
* Ability to add other pages as needed

DRAWBACKS:
This site seems to be designed for those who ONLY HAVE ONE CLASS. There is only one page for class news, one for class policy, one calendar of events, and one homework calendar. If a teacher had more than one class, students from the different classes could easily get confused about what information applies to them.

FAVORITE FEATURE:
My favorite feature here is the student work page. This is an innovative feature that I haven’t noticed on the other sites. I think that having a student’s work posted on the website can be a great moral booster.

WEBSITE #2: http://www.schoolandteacher.com
ANNUAL COST: $19.95

There is a 1 YEAR free trial available. (There is a link on their home page for this.)

This too is a very nice template site. I would highly recommend this for any teacher.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
* Place to put information about the teacher or class
* contact information
* calendar of events FOR EACH CLASS
* homework calendar FOR EACH CLASS
* projects calendar FOR EACH CLASS
* exams calendar FOR EACH CLASS
* quick view FOR EACH CLASS (today’s homework, next exam, next project) This is automatically generated for each class based on the current date.
* files to download (for homework lists and such)
* Email sign-up – to get email reminders for homework or projects or exams
* EASILY CUSTOMIZE the look and feel (colors/backgrounds)

DRAWBACKS:
I didn’t notice any drawbacks. I would like to see a student work page on this site though. (Who knows, they might add this feature this soon.)

FAVORITE FEATURE:
I have 2 favorite features for this website.

My first is the email sign-up for the homework reminders. I have 2 daughters and wish my teachers would have this service – just for this particular feature. That way I could get daily emails on what my kids have for homework. I wouldn’t even have to browse to the website.

My second favorite feature here is quick-view. For students in a hurry, this is an awesome thing to check. In one page, you can see all the current data for your class.

WEBSITE #3: http://www.myteacherpages.com
ANNUAL COST: $39.95

There is a $10 off the first YEAR subscription available.

This is a very nice template site. I would definitely recommend this for teachers who have only one class.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
* Place to put information about the teacher or class
* contact information
* calendar of events
* homework list
* EASILY CUSTOMIZE the look and feel (colors/backgrounds)
* Ability to take a survey
* Slideshow of class pictures
* Form Creator tool to create feedback forms

DRAWBACKS:
This site seems to be designed for those who ONLY HAVE ONE CLASS. There is only one page for class news, one for class policy, one calendar of events, and one homework calendar. If a teacher had more than one class, students from the different classes could easily get confused about what information applies to them.

FAVORITE FEATURE:
I have 2 favorite features for this website.

My favorite feature is the Form Creator. I realize that there can be special circumstances where a teacher wants the students to fill out a specialized form. The other two websites don’t offer this.

I also think having the ability to take an online pole is a nice idea.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

All three of the above tools offer some very nice features and all would be of great value to teachers and students. You must choose what features are most important to you.

If you are teaching more than one class, then I would recommend the http://www.SchoolAndTeacher.com website.

If you are teaching ONLY one class, then any of them will do. I REALLY like that sign-up feature.

Take some time. Do a little research. The cost is not to much to start out. If you don’t like the first choice, then at most you will loose $29.95.

About the Author

Robert Fuess is a veteran webmaster who focuses on building dynamic, editable, data driven websites.
If you are interested in a website that you can edit please email robert@SpiderWebLogic.com or
call (805) 720-0789. http://www.Spiderweblogic.com

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