FCIT Home > A Teacher's Guide to School Web Sites > Chapter 1: Introduction to School Websites



The Sunshine County School District implemented a policy that required all schools to develop a school web site. When the schools received the announcement, they responded in different ways. Some schools viewed the project as a burden and others agreed that a school web site was a great idea. The attitudes of the schools made a tremendous difference in how the project was approached. At one school, Rainy Days Elementary, the administration was unfamiliar with how to build a school web site and the work involved in such a project. When the administration presented the assignment to the faculty, the technology coordinator was assigned the job of putting the site together. It was decided that she would design the site, decide what the content would be, and then post it when it was complete. Before long, the technology coordinator became overwhelmed with the project and involved with other priorities. Without the support of the entire school, the site was soon forgotten.

Another school, Sunny Skies Elementary, approached the assignment in a very different way. As with Rainy Days, the administration had little knowledge of what was involved in building a school web site. They understood, though, that the project was important and could be a great tool for students, teachers and parents. They decided that teachers and students should be included in the project and that input from the entire school would be beneficial. At the faculty meeting, it was decided that the technology coordinator would work with the teachers to design the web site. Students and teachers were encouraged to submit ideas for the web site and to create work that they wanted to have published. In addition, the district policy was reviewed to ensure that guidelines for safety, publishing, and copyright were followed. Soon it became clear that, although the faculty and administration had little knowledge about building a web site, they could have a useful, well-organized site.

School Web Sites

One of the most important steps involved in creating a school web site is deciding what content will be included and how it will be organized. Building a school web site provides a unique addition to the curriculum. In the development phase, students and teachers should discuss the kinds of materials they want to add to the site.

Individual Class Sites

In addition to the school’s site, each class can develop its own page where students, teachers and parents communicate about the activities that are occurring in the class.


A WebQuest is a specific kind of web-based learning activity developed by Bernie Dodge, a professor of educational technology at San Diego State University. WebQuests provide students with the opportunity to work independently or in small groups on activities that incorporate research, problem solving, and the application of basic skills. These teacher-created lessons guide student research using the Internet while incorporating skills such as problem solving. The six components of a WebQuest are:
Additional information on WebQuests is may be found at: http://webquest.sdsu.edu/

Electronic Portfolios

A portfolio is a concise, annotated collection of a student’s work that displays his or her knowledge, understanding, skills, accomplishments, interests, and achievements over a specified time. This collection combines curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Teachers and students develop a shared understanding of what constitutes quality work, and acquire a common understanding for evaluating accomplishments. This allows students to take an active role in the learning process.

An electronic portfolio provides both student and teacher with a digital record of what the student has accomplished in the classroom. This can be made available on the Web or on CD-ROM, and allows students to communicate with teachers, parents, and other members of the community about their learning. An electronic portfolio provides a concrete example of student learning by incorporating a variety of multimedia, including digital photographs, video, voice recordings, and audio. An excellent site for information on electronic portfolios is www.helenbarrett.com/portfolios.html

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