I write about this topic because of a personal experience. My friend, Andy, is into his second year as a 5th grade teacher. He came to me a week before school was about to start, and asked me if I could host his class website.
The year before, Andy gave out his cell phone number. I remember how it was for him when he wasn’t teaching, because he would get called quite a bit. I think he was getting tired of it, so that’s what led to him wanting a site.
Andy got Dreamweaver training from the school, along with the principal. He would’ve started with Dreamweaver, but he still couldn’t remember everything that was taught. Plus, he described it like a crash course, so I couldn’t blame him for not remembering some stuff. I just started using WordPress in August 2004, so I explained and showed him the system. Funny thing was that I didn’t know too much about WordPress, but it was simple enough to show him what to do before jumping in.
Thanks to WordPress, Adhesive, Faked Folders, and Image Browser, Andy now has had a site up since September 2004. It’s been a breeze to keep his class and their parents updated. (Pearl Prep 5th Grade)
He has some static pages, including:
- Contact information
- Upcoming field trips
- A monthly poem, which the kids could try and memorize for extra credit
- Reading minutes, where the students can track how much time they’ve read (they can win a prize)
- Site information, that describes how to navigate through the site
He also has some categories where he’d post pictures of cool events and parties his students have had. Those are a bit more unorganized, but I’m sure we can figure out a better system to manage pictures by next year.
I could tell that he likes the system because Pete, another friend of mine, wanted a site for his class as well, “just like Andy”.
There is a difference between the two: Andy teaches fifth grade, and Pete teaches third. Looking at their traffic, Andy has an average of 26 visits a day now, compared to Pete’s average of 3. There could be a number of factors, such as posting frequency, the difference in amount of material the two classes have to cover, involvement of parents, or maybe computers being used at home. So far, I think fifth graders on up would be optimal to utilize a website. Anybody younger might not have that much of a use for it, but more research would probably be needed to make a more educated guess (if it hasn’t been done already). Perhaps if Pete posted more frequently, his website might be utilized more often.