|How to Create a Web Site for Your Class|
In response to many Thirteen Ed Online subscribers wanting more information about how to start their own Web site for classroom use, we asked one teacher how he did it. Mike Kelley, a high school Calculus teacher, is also the Webmaster of Calculus-Help.com (http://www.calculus-help.com/). Here are some helpful tips he shared with us.
Why did you want to create a Web site for your class?
Creating a Web site for my class was one of the best things I've ever done. It gives me an opportunity to assign additional practice over weekends and provides a means to contact students outside of class. Although it has taken some time to practice and improve my Web site, I am now at a place technologically where I feel comfortable with Web page design. I did not start out at this level; rather, I have tweaked my Web page over time, adding this or that idea from other Web sites I enjoyed.
How did you start?
To begin, I went to Yahoo! GeoCities (http://geocities.yahoo.com/home/) and signed up for a free Web page.
Click on "Get a free home page" in the upper right corner of the page and follow the registration directions.
The site includes detailed instructions at every step of the way, which makes it pretty easy to use. As for Web space, they now offer 15 megabytes of space for free (that's a lot of room -- the equivalent of about 10 floppy disks). Once you sign up, you are ready to start.
Did you use an HTML editor?
HTML (hypertext markup language) is the language, or code, used to write Web pages, and it's fairly complicated. GeoCities provides HTML editors you can use for free to design your Web site. Luckily, these programs act like word processors and do all the dirty work for you. If you can type a letter to a friend, you can design a Web page.
What program(s) would you recommend to teachers starting out?
I personally use Netscape Composer, because it is a very easy program to learn by yourself, and it is free. Communicator is the name of the collection of programs -- the umbrella -- under which Netscape Navigator (a Web browser) and Netscape Composer, a Web page creator, fall. You may even have Netscape Communicator on your computer right now!
If you don't have it, just go to Netscape (http://www.netscape.com), click "download," and follow the directions to download Netscape Communicator.
Once you create pages with the Composer (it only took about two hours the first time I tried to get a very rudimentary page up), you simply go to the GeoCities File Manager, send your files to GeoCities, and you're done!
Click on the "Upload Files" icon from the homepage and follow the directions to upload your HTML files to their site.
Geocities does the rest, and it couldn't be easier. Before long, you'll be trying more complex things.
What other resources would you suggest?
Your students are a great resource for this project. When I wanted to add an image map to my page (a picture that you can click on to take you to different parts of the Web page), I asked a couple of my computer students, and they were happy to help. Don't neglect to use your kids' expertise. My site is over a year and a half old and I have learned a whole lot, and you will too.