Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Website Project Rationale and Reflection

EDUC 3311: Instructional Technology
Idaho State University

In an article entitled, A Case for Social Media in Schools, Sarah Kessler shares a phenomenal report of what happened a year after a teacher began a pilot social media program in her seventh-grade classroom, “Twenty percent of students school-wide were completing extra assignments for no credit, grades had gone up more than fifty percent, and chronic absenteeism was reduced by more than a third” (2010). According to the same article published in Mashable the teacher states, “Social Media should be embraced not banned. The educational benefits of social media far outweigh the risks and schools are missing out on an opportunity to incorporate learning tools the students already know how to use” (para. 2). Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs are not going away; therefore, why not use them to our advantage to engage these students? In the following essay, I will present to you a research-based rationale demonstrating my understanding of the importance of using teacher and student websites in the classroom; as well as, a reflection of my own experience creating and developing a classroom website.
Website Rationale
     Classroom websites have extraordinary potential in the middle school classroom. Blogs and other social media usage within the classroom provide the ability to connect students within the classroom in addition to the outside world. In the article Publishers, Participants All, Will Richardson says, “the engagement factor teachers and students seek while enabling students to gain a variety of academic and social skills” (p.22). Mark Storz and Amy Hoffman share in an article published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, “bridging the gap between schools and the outside world by finding innovative ways to engage and extend student learning” (2013).


Website Development Refection     

     Creating and developing my website, Mrs. Cullip’s Classroom through the platform Weebly at mrscullipsclass.weebly.com has been an incredible learning experience. Even though I have a lot of previous knowledge of creating and developing websites for personal use, I have gained awareness to the designing and running of a classroom website. The platform Weebly is one that I have had experience with and it is similar to other blogging platforms I have used: WordPress and Blogger. The design options are limited; however, practical toward a basic foundation in the building of a classroom website. The process of incorporating my classmates work onto my website was fairly simple and the addition expanded the resources available to me in the future. I am concerned with the notion that some of these websites may not be available if the owner decides to delete them.


     In the future, as an Idaho State University student, I will continue to use my website to add major assignments and essays that could assist me in my career as a teacher. As a Middle School English/ Language Arts teacher, the website will be a valuable resource to have as I begin my professional role in the classroom; as well as, a great model to assist students in the creation of their own sites.
Conclusion
     Within this essay, I have provided a research-based rationale demonstrating my understanding of the importance of using teacher and student websites in the classroom; as well as, a reflection of my own experience creating and developing a classroom website. Throughout this semester, I have gained awareness to the designing and running of a classroom website. I believe classroom websites have extraordinary potential in the middle school classroom; providing students the opportunity to connect within the classroom, as well as the world around them.    
References
Kessler, S. (2010). A case for social media in schools. Mashable. Retrieved
from http://mashable.com/2010/09/29/social-media-in-school/
Richardson, W. (2011). Publishers, participants all. Educational Leadership, 68(5), 22-26.
Storz, M. G. &. Hoffman, A. R. (2013). Examining response to a one-to-one computer initiative:
Student and teacher voices. Research in Middle Level Education Online. Retrieved
from http://www.amle.org/portals/0/pdf/rmle/rmle_vol36_no6.pdf

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