Quick intro to setting up a FREE Weebly site in the video below. Please note the last step which I failed to mention is pressing the orange publish button on the top right
For my Master’s course we were required to work with tools that could be used to create and e-portfolio. I picked Weebly mainly because it was a tool that I had not worked with before. I have used Google Sites, Wiki’s, Blogs and other tools in the past but Weebly was something I never got around to trying. The main benefit of Weebly is the simplicity of the process in creating a website or blog. The interface uses simple drag and drop functions that are laid out nicely and the process is fairly intuitive. Teachers that are looking for a way to have an online presence for their classroom (class website or blog) should give this tool a try.
The site allows for a lot more customization than other options which is an important feature for giving the creator ownership of their design. The other tools I mentioned before allow for customization but none of them do it is a simple way like Weebly. Of course Weebly is not as powerful a tool as WordPress as far as customization but WordPress is also not as user-friendly. Weebly is a great tool to use to introduce students to e-portfolios and to begin the process of creating one. The site has options to upload all the standard media a student might use in their portfolio such as video, audio, documents, pictures and text. For students new to the process Weebly is the perfect tool to start with but I think it is important that we give students autonomy in choosing the tool they want to use. My main concern would be the ease in exporting the content from Weebly. Technology and the tools available are changing fast and the ability to move seamlessly from one tool another is an important feature. Another aspect of Weebly that is a benefit is it shows the process of creating a website in a visual way. Of course creating a website requires a much deeper understanding but Weebly does begin that process of showing how websites are created. My hope would be that some students would take that basic knowledge and look for other options as they want to customize and add features. Weebly seems to be a good “gateway” into creating and designing online spaces.
The website created in the video can be found here if you want to see the product
I have written about how we use this app in my class to document and share our weather (see here) but I wanted to remind everyone about this great app and share the new options available. The one I am the most excited about (seen above) displays the weather on a thermometer with both Fahrenheit and Celsius. This is very valuable for us because we share our weather with classes around the world using Twitter. Other options I am excited about are shown below. The kids love helping to take the picture and keeping track of how the weather changes during the seasons.
** I always blur out the part of the image that shows our location using the Skitch app because I don’t like to share our exact location on twitter.
I recently posted examples from my Kindergarten class blog and there were two questions that I got asked several times that I wanted to discuss in a separate post.
Question #1- “Do you have permission to show the kids faces on the blog” or “how do you get permission”.
When I first started my blog I did not have permission to show the kids faces on the blog. Please don’t let that keep your from starting a blog. As long as your administration approves you having a blog you CAN have a very successful space without ever showing a kids face (I rhyme all the time.) You only need to be creative with how you take pictures. At the bottom of this post I have examples of images from our blog without faces. The key is taking a picture that will promote discussion at home. Another option is blurring faces (see below.) To get permission for my class blog I had every parent sign a permission slip at meet the teacher. It was required for them to fill out. I gave them three choices: 1) I give permission for my child’s images to be on the blog 2) I give permission but I want my child’s face to be obscured 3) I do not want my child on the blog at all. You can download the permission slip here and the blog parent info letter I use here.
Question #2- How do you blur the kids faces in the photos
I use skitch to blur the kids faces. Skitch is a web tool and also an app. You can see how to do this with Skitch by looking here. I mainly use the app on my phone to quickly blur out things I don’t want showing before posting on the blog. Even though I can post the kids faces I make sure to blur out names on the wall or anything that will connect us to a specific location. This tool is free, easy to use, and a fast way to blur a part of an image.
These are actual images from my class blog when I could not post the kids faces…
Learning about seeds
Labeling the sprouts (done with Skitch)
Science experiment ingredients
Math story problems with Educreations app/website
Literacy lesson using Popplet app/website
Voting for the president