Sunday, August 15, 2010

A simpler graphical interface for my class wiki

For years and years I have been a huge fan of wikis to serve as my classroom website. But in the 2009/2010 school year, I volunteered to be moved from teaching 8th Grade Science, where I'd been comfortable and connected, to teaching primarily 3rd grade math and science! Wow!

Of course, I still wanted my students to be connected online, but there were some challenges. The biggest one is that, while most of my third graders can read just fine, seeing a page full of text to decipher wasn't very welcoming. So I decided to replace all the text with icons.

The result, though a very simple solution, really made this more of a useful launching pad for my students. This one is hosted on Google Sites (which I love). But because of that service (and my students don't have google accounts), I don't open this up for use as a multi-user-collaborative wiki, but rather more as a classroom launching space that I can update easily.

To try and make it look a little "cooler" I used flavor studios' iPod/iPhone icon generator. [link]

Feel free to have a look and I'd love to hear more suggestions on how I can improve it!

A snapshot of my classroom wibsite/launding pad.
Visit [link] to see it live and bigger.


  1. Website looks great and easy to navigate.

    How do you get notified when someone fills out the Google Form in your contact page? And how did you get it so small (tables?)?

    And what is Google Groups (looks cool and parents and students can sign up to receive notifications!)?

  2. Hey there, Al!

    On a Google Spreadsheet, you can set up notifications whenever it is changed. TOOLS\NOTIFICATION RULES\ and you're good to go!

    The narrow width is by using Google Sites LAYOUT control to force THREE columns... then the form is crammed 100% of the width of a single column.

    And Google Groups are actually kinda' old school. These are Google versions of ListServe mailing lists. You can set them up as announcement only (like mine are); or you can choose to let members send messages through the listserve to all other members.

    Google Blogger now supports email subscriptions, so I think I'd have used that instead now-a-days (well... 6 mos. later). LOL