Lately we’re getting more emails from parents and students asking us to help them find the class blog or explain how to do things like add comments.
After spending the past few days trying to find my own son’s class website I’m really feeling their frustration. You’ve more chance of finding a needle in a haystack than a website if the web address is wrong and the site is set up to block search engines.
A class website can really help students with their learning and it doesn’t need to send your parents and students crazy trying to work out how to find it or use it.
Here’s our two simple tips to help reduce their frustrations:
1. Create a Parent Handout
The best way of making sure both parents and your students know how to find and use your website is to explain it using a handout.
Check out Kathleen Morris’s 10 Steps to Navigating the 2KM and 2KJ Blog. It’ll help you work out the type of information needed for a parent handout.
Make sure when you include your website address that you double check it is correct by clicking on the link You would be amazed at the number of URLs we’re sent each day that are completely wrong or missing a letter.
- We’ll often see teachers include www. in their website address.
- Websites like blogs and wikis generally don’t include www in their web address; adding it to your URL means the website takes longer to load because it needs to redirect to the correct URL.
- I use SnagIT to create quick screen captures with arrows, text and effects. You can download a 30 free trial here!
2. Gradually Introduce your website to your students
Never assume your students will know how to use your website.
Our experience is students generally don’t know what’s expected of them and too often teachers assume too much.
The same principles apply regardless if you are working with younger students, teenagers or adults and the type of website you are using — the more you guide them through the process of what’s involved the more they’ll get out of it.
Check out Kathleen Morris’s information under 4. Introduce your blog to students — it’s a great example how to gradually introduce and build on their skills.
What do you think?
How else do you help your parents and students? What other advice would you give teachers?
Let us know in the comments below and we will be sure to add it to the post!