Intro to Technology in the Classroom

This blog post is the required submission for Lesson 6.4.

The following link to my website will take you to a list of staff websites for my school. In order to get to mine, you will have to scroll down and select the one that says “McCarthy, Mr. P”. There is no way to directly link to my personal site.

Here is the link: https://www.oncoursesystems.com/school/menu/13586

The primary purpose of my website is to reduce the need for students to come to me personally about matters and information that are either repetitive or can be posted easily. In other words, it’s mostly for efficiency. If a students needs a summer packet for an upcoming class, they can go to that course and download it. If they want a college recommendation from me or want to know my extra help times, all they need to do is read the opening page. If they miss a few days of class, they can download and go through my PowerPoint presentations that I have posted online. If they want to work on a lab at home, then they can open up one of the various interactive labs that are now on the site.

The “product” that was used to create this site was Oncourse Systems. (https://www.oncoursesystems.com) They host the websites for all the schools in the district. Creating a website on this system was mandatory. Their website creation tool is simple, but gets the job done. At first, I didn’t like the fact that there is basically only one template that can be used. For people who are new to website creation this is great, but it feels restricting to experienced designers. Creating new pages is really easy though, and the text editing interface is very similar to Microsoft Word, so it‘s also very easy to use.

For future students who wish to create a website for when they are a teacher, my advice is pretty straight forward:

  1. Keep is simple. If there are certain goals that you wish to accomplish with your website, stick to them and to them well. Your audience should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Graphics and design elements are good, but if they get in the way of your content, then it’s too much.
  2. Know your audience. I gave some advice to someone taking this class about a month ago. They had a page on their website that gave a brief description and history about themselves. But, it was written in an off-the-cuff manor. Now, this is not a page that students will read, but parents will. Parents do not want to see if you can be funny, they want to know if you have the knowledge and experience to teach their children. You can be goofy with the kids, but everything geared toward parents or administration should reflect your professionalism.
  3. Don’t make more work for yourself. Technology in general should be a tool to aid you, not create a larger burden. You might find things like discussion boards and chat rooms engaging for the students, but if you’re spending time cleaning up site issues or off-track conversations, than that time is not being spent wisely.