ETL 501. Topic 8. The collaborative role of the teacher librarian: learning websites

Learning Websites – Design and Tools

The term ‘learning websites’ is often called learning objects (re-useable resources in this case electronic resources). In this section, we will be discussing aspects of the design of websites and some of the tools which can be used to develop learning websites.

Check some of the following tools: 

  • Wikispaces  Great!
  • Weebly       Excellent!!
  • Prezi          Good.
  • Slideshare  Not for me

Do you use these already? If not, do you think you might use them in the future?

I will definitely use Wikispaces, Weebly and Prezi but not Slideshare which I consider to technical for me at my present level of expertise (lack of!). May try it again as I become more experienced with web tools but the other three are far more user friendly – my type of tools!

Are learning websites being developed in your school (or a school you know)? Send examples into your group forum.

No, not that I know of, I haven’t send or heard of any.

Are these learning websites well designed? If not, how could they be improved?

Well I guess as the web is constantly changing and evolving there are always new and more innovative learning websites being created and available for use by teachers and students.

Consider developing a storyboard for a learning website. What would you include? What are the advantages of developing a storyboard before designing your learning website?

It’s always advisable to use a storyboard first as a plan or indicator of how you are going to create the content, by using a series of Word documents (1 for each page of the pathfinder), and then transfer the content to the Web utility to present it.

How much do you know about the technical aspects of website design e.g. format, template, colour, navigation and accessibility? Which of these do you consider most important for your own school (or a school you know)?

I don’t know anything about technical aspects for website design but I would presume a visually appealing design would be necessary for students to want to engage with the content and research topic. Easy access to resources and navigation would be essential too, with good links to additional information and a home page, which identified the topic criteria and a template which needs to be usable by all students irrespective of their learning levels.

Why do you think subject content is important in a learning website?

Subject content is important because students need to know if the information is relevant, easy to access, navigate, and read? Also, is it reliable, up-to-date, visually appealing, age appropriate or reading level suitable for all students to use?

Do you agree that learning websites developed in your school (or a school you know) are likely to motivate students, because they are geared to what is being taught in that particular school?

Yes, students can work at their own pace but also work collaboratively with other students, and being iterative, they can always go back to a previous page if necessary.

What kind of information literacy guidance should be provided in a pathfinder and how can this be linked to information literacy development in the school in general?

Independent learning, evaluation, critical thinking and search skills when accessing information for research tasks.

Annotations should be helpful to students. How can we ensure that students will read and take note of the content of annotations?

Keep them short, concise and relevant to the topic, and by using simple language which students will understand and be able to read and follow.

How can we get students to participate in developing learning websites, and subsequently adding content to the sites?

If students enjoy their learning experience they will be enthusiastic when using further learning websites, gaining more confidence with practice. If they use them successfully they will identify the learning websites as an authentic means of researching and learning independently.

Buttacavoli’s ‘Thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool ‘ (2013), and Hill’s ‘The power and point of using Prezi in the classroom(2010) were excellent examples of how Prezi is used to create and utilise pathfinders/learning websites. I really enjoyed the Robinson’s Prezi presentation of using Google’s Advanced Search and thought it was very useful for future use (2010). Herring (2004), I couldn’t access or loan, but  I bookmarked the Animoto articles as I really feel I can use them in the classroom as they felt more user friendly, for those of us who aren’t experienced in using technology, and Pappas’ website design(2000) was constructive and informative.

References.

Buttacavoli, C. (2013). Thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool. Retrieved July 30, 2013

Hill, P. (2010). The power and point of using Prezi in the classroom. Retrieved July 30, 2013.

Pappas, P. (2000) Design your website from the bottom up. Retrieved July 30, 2013.

Robinson, A. (2010). Effective research: advanced search. Retrieved July 30, 2013.

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