If you've been cruising the information highway and
surfing the Internet, it's time to spin your own web. Web
development is easier than you may think. Creating a web
page is as easy as using a word processor.
Exploring the Book
Before jumping into the development of web projects,
we'll explore schools on the web. The first five chapters
focus on teacher and student produced web projects.
You'll start by exploring school district and building
level web sites. Within these sites you'll find classroom
and department pages. Many schools are producing online
newspapers, yearbooks, and electronic magazines called
ezines. Finally, find out how students around the world
are sharing their ideas through student web pages.
The second section of the book will help you select a
powerful project for your classroom. We'll explore
large-scale, ongoing projects as well as small-scale,
short term projects.
Planning and implementing Internet-based projects is
the focus of the third section. You'll learn to plan
web-based learning environments and design web projects.
Next, you'll identify web development tools and create
your own web pages. You'll also learn to produce school
web sites. The final chapter involves implementing and
evaluating a web-based project.
Using the Book
You can't just read about the Internet, you need to do
it. Get online and sit this book next to the computer.
Visit the sites discussed and read the online articles
suggested. Use the lists of web addresses throughout the
book as additional resources.
The spider logo is used to highlight key ideas found
throughout the book. Overviews, reviews, definitions, key
words, and reminders can be found in these areas.
In each chapter you'll find Idea Exploration
activities. The exercises are identified by a "light
bulb" graphic and will help you develop the skills needed
to design and develop your own site. You'll also find
charts that can be used as worksheets to brainstorm ideas
and make plans for your projects.
Although developing web projects can be lots of fun,
they can also be frustrating. With this in mind, you'll
find Real World Considerations areas at the end of many
chapters. These sections focus on common problems and
Spinnin' the Web
Twenty years ago I began using a word processor. It
was a great way to "type up" term papers. By the late
1980s, students started developing multimedia reports in
HyperCard and HyperStudio. The next millennium promises a
revolution in the way learners express their ideas and
communicate with other students. No longer are children
bound by the paper in their notebooks and the wall of
their classrooms. They can reach outside their school and
share their creativity with others around the global.
I hope you enjoy spinning the web as much as I do.
From one web master to another, happy spinning!
Planning Internet Learning Environments
Students play many roles in the distance learning
environment. They may be consumers, contributors, and/or
creators. Before you can begin designing your learning
environment, you need to determine what role students and
teachers will take.
Levels of Student Involvement
Consumers. Who will use the web pages that you
and your students create? Will the pages be used within
your classroom or will they be placed on the web server
and available for the world to explore? Who is the
audience for the pages; you and your students or other
teachers, students, and members of the global
Your consumers are important and they will determine
the type of information that will be placed on the pages.
For example, if the pages will only be used within the
building you may wish to identify each child with their
picture and name. On the other hand, you may just use the
first name on a child's work if it will be sent out over
the Internet. If your consumers are young children,
you'll need to consider reading and interest level. When
sharing projects across the globe, it's essential to
describe your children, school, and the purpose of the
page very clearly so that the project is meaningful to
How do you decide who your consumers will be? Consider
interest. Is there a reason that people outside your
classroom should be aware of your project? Are you doing
something that might be of interest to the parents of
your children or members of the local community? If your
students are doing a project related to a social issue,
they might be interested in the reactions of people in
other parts of the world. Students developing a science
page might wish to share their data with students at
another school. The stories that your students begin
could be expanded by a sister school in another part of
As you can see, the look, feel, and content of the
pages will be determined by who you envision being the
consumer of the page. Remember; however, that once you
place your page on the web without restrictions, anyone
can access your pages regardless of whether they are your
Examine some informational pages (see Figure 8-4).
Black history is explored through postal stamps at the
Stamp On Black History (http://library.advanced.org/10320/)
site. Southern PowWows (http://tqd.advanced.org/3081/)
contains information about the Native American PowWow and
An Amazon Adventure (http://220.127.116.11/amazon/index.htm)
explores reports and information about the Amazon.
Contributors. Who will contribute to the web
project? Will the information come from you and your
students, or will you invite students in other schools or
the community to contribute? If you have an online
newspaper, will you solicit editorials and articles from
the outside world? For example, the Vocal Point
is an issues based school newspaper that requests
contributions from students in other parts of the world
(see Figure 8-5a). The Oceans (http://bird.miamisci.org/oceans/)
project from Avocado Elementary requests teachers to
contribute to their thematic unit.
In the Spiders (http://avocado.dade.k12.fl.us/projects/spiders/)
project, students became scientists by observing,
collecting data, and reporting results on the Internet.
Students contributed their ideas to the Dogs of the North
project and even added links at the end. In the Dinosaurs
project, students contributed pictures, artwork, and
dioramas, that were posted on the web by their teacher
(see Figure 8-5b).
Creators. Who will produce the web pages? In
some cases, schools have hired outside consultants or
found volunteer parents to develop their school web
pages. In other cases the high school computer club is in
charge of the school web site. Teachers, students,
community members, and others may all be involved in the
development of web pages. We even get student teachers
involved with helping area schools take their first steps
into web development. A student teacher at West Terrace
school designed some projects to get their school site
started. The projects represent different levels of
student and teacher involvement. The Five Stars school
project (see Figure 8-6b) was developed by a teacher to
review a school event. In Fish Stories (see Figure 8-6c),
students contributed comments and chose the pictures that
would be included. The Explore Indiana project in Figure
8-6d combined on and off computer activities. The
students created their drawings on paper and entered the
text into the web page.
Help your students become creators! Get students
involved with the development of web pages. In the Zoo
project, second and third grades developed web pages
based on information they learned on a zoo field
There are many ways that even young children can get
involved with the development of web pages. Let's say
your class is studying whales. Your students could become
creators by doing any of the following:
- The teacher writes about the project and students
draw a picture with paper and markers. The teacher
scans the pictures and places them on the web.
- Students draw a picture in Kidpix. The teacher
copies the picture into the web page.
- The students draw with Kidpix and copy the picture
into a web page template.
- The student designs the web page and inserts their
Which project is best? That depends on your
goal, time available, technology, and skills. Are you
interested in a teacher or learner centered web page.
Students who design and develop their own pages are at
the center of the activity rather than onlookers. They
have power over the technology tools and learning
experience. However this situation is not always
possible. For example, consider the amount of time you
have for the project and the available technology. Do
your students have skills in scanning or using web
development tools? Could students work in teams? Does
every student project need to be included? Could you work
with small groups throughout the semester on different
elements of a large project? As you can see there are
We've found that it works well to move slowly from
teacher to student produced projects. For example, you
may first involve students in the decision making
process, but create the pages yourself. Your second
project may involve students using the word processor to
create the text files, but you may design the web pages.
Another project might involve small groups working as a
team to create a single page that will be linked to a
core class page. Select the right project for the
purpose, content, and time available. Compare this to
class research projects. There are times when you provide
students with the books and other resources they need to
complete a project. On other occasions, you let students
browse the library and select their own books. It depends
on the objective and the time available.