Quick overview: Are you interested in creating a class website but don’t have technical experience, time, or budget? Weebly is an on-line tool that allows one to EASILY create a website without any knowledge of programming. In a nutshell, it’s a website building tool for non-techies. It’s also completely free, unless you want to upgrade to a Pro account for some additional advanced features.
How can Weebly be used in the classroom? I thought the most authentic way to present Weebly would be to provide you with two testimonials from actual FGA teachers who are using the tool:
Isabelle Bertolotti at Place Cartier, LBPSB shares: “My class website is my most important teaching tool. It is my virtual office where I communicate with students about my calendar, daily agenda, links and course notes. I can add or change information at a moments notice, and/or make special announcements. This has enhanced my students learning in that they can review class notes, videos, handouts at all times to suit their learning styles and levels. I am never worried about attendance because when they see the demands of the day through the daily agenda they can actually see the amount of work that is planned and how their absence will have a negative impact on their learning.”
Isabelle’s class Weebly: www.isabelleplacecartier.weebly.com
Matthew Kennedy at Place Cartier, LBPSB shares: “I use Weebly for my English class in order to provide students with access to content inside of the classroom on the SMART Board, at home on their computers, or on-the-go on their mobile devices. For my purposes, Weebly is primarily an organizational tool — one that provides a digital representation of everything I cover with my students. I include all of my daily lesson plans on the website, so students can review what we completed in class at the end of the day, or catch-up on what they missed if they were absent. I upload all assignments to the website for access outside of the classroom. The website is particularly useful when providing extra help for students in the computer lab or after class, because we can review elements of a lesson at the student’s own pace. The same goes for when students seek additional support at my school’s academic resource centre — support staff can access the website to help my students with a specific assignment, and even view daily lesson plans to learn the context of the assignment. The website also has a great blog function, which is useful for communicating with students between classes and also for generating friendly discussion and debate.”
Matthew’s class Weebly: www.english5062.weebly.com
Benefits and Limitations: Weebly utilizes a straightforward WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) interface, which makes it much easier to create your class website. In regards to content, a Weebly site (like most other traditional websites) is often designed to share information in a “top down” approach, i.e. – information delivered from the teacher to the students. In comparison, a tool like Edmodo is often used to create a forum for ongoing class discussions between multiple students and the teacher.
(Huge thanks to Isabelle Bertolotti and Matthew Kennedy at Place Cartier Adult Education Centre, LBPSB for telling me all about Weebly and providing me with their testimonials. Thanks a lot guys!)