Saturday, November 12, 2011

kudos for staff websites

There are so many great ways, ancient and new, that we all conduct our teaching practices. I'd like to thank and encourage the teachers who have built new webpages this year or continue to develop their existing websites. Some of you are also blogging, tweeting, and using social media and other digital tools to affect learning (yours and your students). Your work has modeled a thoughtful web presence for students, administration, parents, etc., and shows both the collective commitment to student success and the diversity of teacher interests or approaches to learning. Sometimes it is easy to think that your website or digital activity is mainly for yourself. That's not a bad place to start, but your students eventually pick up what you are doing and saying, and if you keep at it there are rewards, often unexpected, in terms of your student's total development and experience in school. Parents and other educators also see what you are doing -- your web activity forms a narrative of your professional development and extends your impact beyond the classroom.

Specifically, I'd like to express appreciation for the sites you've linked up at

Addie - thoughtful site, clean design, great level of detail for a new endeavour, links and positive messages appropriately aimed at her AltEd audience and parents, investment of teacher identity in the site -- Judy's ability to care for others shines through on this site (uses Google sites)

Balazs - at least his second complete rewrite of his web world, very practical, lets his awesome blogs do the heavy lifting (good choices and worth the visit), has been proactive with communication to parents about/during job action. Frank has replaced blinding colour with muted ones and has a great blend of different learning technologies in place (uses Firstclass sites)

Barnett - has a start and is being economical, in true biology fashion he has found a efficient niche by making it easy for students to find their marks (uses Firstclass hosting with a Microsoft product?)

Chow - perfect simple presentation of teacher identity and Chow's sense of humour... what better than a chemistry joke? (uses Firstclass sites)

Connell - very welcoming and places a high value on clear communication with parents and students -- calendar of class activities is updated and links to lesson handouts complete with teacher notes... this is a practical example of extending rich classroom learning into "blended" environments -- effective use of web and tablet technology (uses MIcrosoft web product?)

Doherty - it is easy to see the teacher's passion for the subject on this attractive site. There is something here for everyone -- parents, other educators, and students, including class handouts, powerpoint notes, and marks (uses iWeb)

Forrest - has a great start, happy colours and link that works to updated course marks. This simple function is often the first step on the journey. (uses Firstclass sites)

Ganner - safety first, and pictures of exemplary student projects are a respectful way to link to course expectations for students -- very clear guide to course outcomes, expectations, and assessment (uses MIcrosoft web product?)

Hannigan - beautiful front page and "about" section, like a true musician the parts that are ready for "performance" are refined and inspiring, online marks are working and I'm looking forward to the rest of the symphony getting composed (uses iWeb)

Hicks - off to an authentic and colourful start (pink! who guessed?), the use of a calendar to keep students up to date is a good idea (uses Google sites)

Jandric - this is just one Sandra's pages, and she has used the new digs to do what she does best -- find relevant reading for students, model the kind of curiousity and willingness to try she looks for in others, and create opportunities for students to find themselves. Like Sandra and the library itself, her site is welcoming, student-oriented, and totally unique (uses Firstclass sites)

Klein - She had a wonderful iWeb site and she is starting fresh with a new site... just a marks link and a photo so far, but the photo speaks powerfully about the kind of opportunities our kids have in band (uses Firstclass sites)

Kondratuk - the marks are linked, and the commitment is made to add content and build a presence -- that's how it begins, and we're glad you've done it (uses Firstclass sites)

Leitch - the site mirrors all the great things about Ian: passion for relevant outcomes in all areas of life, humour and originality, connecting oneself to one's learning, dispensing with formality, critical thinking and questioning as the root of all learning, and a tremendous respect for the students. The site hasn't been updated for a while and yet still has gems that draw attention from around the province (uses iWeb)

Macfarlane - there was a lot of thought put into this site, many decisions about what was important to put out there for students. The result is a celebration of student work, clarity about what students can expect, access to marks, and simplicity of "being" - fashion and fitness... these are the reasons why they take the course, and this is what they will achieve if they succeed (uses iWeb)

Mcinnis-Ryan - Like Susan she is starting fresh after a successful iWeb page and has wisely placed the Bard in a prominent location. This simultaneously announces that the muse is in the house, ready to inspire more web development, and also that your teacher loves literature and wants to share this with you (uses Firstclass sites)

McRae - Continuing on Rita's theme, Karen's muse in none other than Einstein. To me this suggests that Math education is founded on creativity and deep understanding. The site is a shortcut to marks, and is a practical start that will be appreciated by students (uses Firstclass sites)

Meier - Grad 2012 news and forms, course info, and marks -- this is why students will go there and this is what they will get. The picture is a curious one and offers a promise that Science and Physics seeks to unpack difficult concepts (uses Firstclass hosting with a Microsoft product?)

Orydzuk - I like the invitation... if you can't find what you are looking for, talk to me... what a great way to allow the users to tell indicate what needs to be built next. As an art teacher, one can imagine she found her way into these website colours the way one might picks clothes to wear in the morning... great combos and no doubt will be fluid and resonant with Jeanette's tenor each time she edits. One of the most impressive parts is that the weekly activities are totally up to date (uses Firstclass sites)

Randrup - I'm glad this is here, for it shows how the share folder can be used. You've come across these before on the internet, directories of information that give us a glimpse of exactly what the author meant to share, a look into the window of the teacher's work. I like that both semesters are archived, as students and parents often want to take a look back at what went well or what didn't long after the courses are done (uses public_html sharing)

Riches - like Kirstin, Linda uses the Debian share folder to get the message out... a place to share student projects at key times of the year that meet the criteria for web publication. This form of sharing makes it simple to give parents and students access to something they need without too much trouble for the teacher. In Linda's case, it also suggests that the really cool stuff, the powerful learning and the transformative experiences that students will have in her classes are hard-earned, embodied & tied to what happens in a safe place, and not easily recreated on the web (uses public_html sharing)

Thielmann - this behemoth has taught me that it is often possible to grasp for something that is practically out of reach, but it comes with a cost... too much time invested and hard to change something of this size (another site that resembles its owner). The webriver is more like a lake these days -- much of the content has been revised only by necessity, but reflects the digital flotsam that comes from all around my time as teacher (uses Dreamweaver)

Wadson - classic Patty colours and a good set-up for her website goals. Science 8 and Badminton make great use of embedded videos, and the marks are set up for both semesters. The most prominent message is an invitation to dialogue -- please email me with any questions (uses Firstclass sites)

Wells - links straight to a blog, what a great idea as this tool is by nature dynamic and interactive. Homework links to another technology - schoolnotes - and the travel link to yet another - google pages. The colours, art, blog photo choices, and font are all creative and wild... just like Denee. Her posts are extremely varied and show both her own professional learning and a deep respect for multi-modal literacy (uses Blogger and others)

There are some many other ways you all make a difference, keep it up. I really hope to see all of our staff visibly online in one way or another over the next year. It does not need to be complicated or compromise your privacy, and you'll be surprised what you get out of it. Just talk to Sandra if you want your web work linked to the school site.

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