Today I am sharing several awesome website builders and blogging platforms. These (mostly) free web tools have many uses in education including
My first recommendation is Weebly. When I started this website a few years ago, I researched the options and Weebly was my top choice. The drag and drop website builder is easy to use and doesn’t require users to know how to code. Weebly has a decent number of templates from which to choose and is often adding new ones. I’m still using the free version of Weebly, and it does have some limitations. However, I like that Weebly offers paid versions that would allow me to purchase my domain name and have more functionality. I look forward to doing this in the near future.
A very similar website platform is Wix. I don’t have any personal experience with Wix, but it looks a lot like Weebly. Wix also uses drag and drop and has many beautiful pre-designed templates. According to this comparison of the two website builders, Wix is more popular but definitely has some drawbacks. For example, users can only select the pre-designed Wix templates and cannot change the template after it is chosen. However, Wix does offer more design flexibility because users can drag and drop elements anywhere on the webpage.
A third website builder is WordPress. WordPress has long been known as the most popular and professional blogging site, but it also has features that make it similar to Weebly and Wix. Users can build an entire website with multiple pages and not just a blog. It is helpful to know how to code when using WordPress.
Another great option is Google Sites, which has the obvious advantage of integrating seamlessly with other apps in the G Suite. Google Sites has been around for a while, but few people used it because it wasn’t user-friendly and it didn’t have a lot of options. However, Google recently made a major upgrade to Google Sites, and it now functions similarly to the sites listed above. I haven’t really tried it yet, but I love that it would integrate with my Google Classroom and Google Calendar. Therefore, it may be something I use in the future for a classroom website.
The four options above are website builders, but each platform includes the ability to write and post blog entries. The advantage is the ability to create an entire website with multiple pages. On the other hand, Google’s Blogger is a great option if the user just wants a blog without the hassle of a website. Blogger has unique templates and simple blogging tools. Content is added on Blogger sites strictly through blog posts. My first blog was on Blogger, and I really liked the simplicity.
A few other websites that deserve mentioning are Kidblog and Edublogs. Both sites were created for students to blog and post original content. The teacher creates an account and student accounts are linked to the teacher’s. The teacher can monitor all student activity and decide how private or public to make student blog posts and comments. The downside of Kidblog is that it is only free for a 30-day trial. However, at $44 per teacher per year, it may be worth the investment. One advantage of Edublogs is that it is powered by WordPress, which means it utilizes the same templates and website-builder tools as WordPress. Plus, it would be fairly simple to move an Edublog website to WordPress.
The final tool I would recommend is Seesaw. It is a simple digital portfolio tool aimed at elementary-age children. Although it may be too young for high school students, I like how it empowers students to document their learning and allows parents to see what their children are doing at school. I appreciate the fact that content can be added from various electronic devices using both the Seesaw website and the Seesaw app.
Although I haven’t tried it with my students yet, I really like the idea of student blogs or digital portfolios. I like that my students would be creating projects for an authentic audience and not just for me. Additionally, students would be able to take their work with them after they leave my class and could possibly submit their digital portfolio as part of a job or college application.
If you have thought about creating a teacher or classroom website, I encourage you to do it! It can be a great communication tool for you, your students, and their parents. It can also be a great way for you to share content from your lessons with other educators. I have found a lot of great lesson plans and project ideas from other teachers’ blogs. Be willing to share your knowledge and ideas with others – who knows who you might help and inspire!
High School Business & Technology Teacher in Skiatook, Oklahoma.
Tall Tech Teacher Website by Jamie Fithian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.