Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Using Weebly to Publish Student Work

In this third part of my "Power of Students Publishing Online" series, I'd like to introduce you to another great tool for organizing and publishing student work for the world to see. Last week we talked about KidBlog and this week I'd like to present Weebly.

Weebly is a website creation tool. It's free, easy, and allows you to create up to 40 student accounts that can start your students on the process of creating and maintaining a positive presence on the web. Here are some pros and cons to using Weebly that I've discovered so far:

Weebly Pros
  • Free!
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to edit. Everything in Weebly is very straightforward for students. It is all drag-and-drop and exactly what you see on your screen is what you will get when you hit the publish button.
  • Unique URL addresses for students. This is a big pro for me. Weebly allows your students to have their own, personal, url address. They will look something like www.billybob.weebly.com. This gives students a web address that they can easily pass along to their friends and family- whoever has an internet connection can easily bring their site up!
  • Easily embeds files from other online tools. Many other digital tools offer the ability to embed themselves into other sites. Excellent tools such as Glogster, Timetoast,Animoto, and many others have what is called an embed code- some text that you can copy and then paste into you or your students' Weebly sites. In Weebly, simply drag a "custom HTML" box onto your site and paste the code in there. This will embed your file for you!
  • Ability to include easy blogs. Simply click on "New Page" and select "New Blog". Voila! Your students have their own blog space built right into the site. And even better- the blogs and comments are moderated easily by the teacher.
  • Students able to add content easily at home or anywhere else they have an internet connection.
Weebly Cons
  • Student content that is posted to Weebly is not moderated or filtered. In other words, if little BillyBob wants to upload inappropriate stuff at home, it will post automatically- it does not wait for approval of any kind (blog posts need approval, but everything else does not). This is not a major obstacle as long as you have strong and well-understood consequences for misbehavior online, just as you would have when they are in your classroom.
I'm a big believer in Weebly and think it can be used effectively to house student work online! Take a shot, create an account, and see for yourself how quick and easy it is to create a very nice, professional looking website with students.

And remember, just let me (edtechsteve) know how I can help!

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