Key Words: web projects, web development, Internet, student projects, school websites, class pages


Table of Contents


Sample Selection

Sample Activity



Spinnin' the Web: Designing & Developing Web Projects - No Longer Available
Annette Lamb (1998)
ISBN 0-9641581-9-1
301 Pages
In this book, you'll create K-12 Internet projects. Explore how teachers and students are working together to create school sites, classroom pages, newspapers, projects, and individual pages. Examine large-scale, ongoing projects and small-scale, short-term projects. Design, development, implement, and evaluate web-based pages and projects.

This book is being used in lots of summer workshops such as Internet Integration. It is also used in courses such as Teaching and Learning at a Distance.

Table of Contents
Part I: Exploring Schools on the Web
School Web Pages
Classroom Web Pages
Online Newspapers
Project Pages
Student Pages
Part II: Selecting Powerful Projects
Large-Scale, Ongoing Projects
Small-Scale, Short-Term Projects
Part III: Planning & Implementing Internet-based Project
Planning Web-based Learning Environments
Designing Web Pages
Creating Web Pages
Designing & Developing School Web Sites
Implementing and Evaluating Projects

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 practical solutions.

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!

Sample Selection
From Spinnin' the Web - Chapter 8: Pages 153-158
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 community?

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 the viewers.

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 the country.

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 intended audience.

Examine some informational pages (see Figure 8-4). Black history is explored through postal stamps at the Stamp On Black History ( site. Southern PowWows ( contains information about the Native American PowWow and An Amazon Adventure ( 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 ( project from Avocado Elementary requests teachers to contribute to their thematic unit.

In the 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 Elementary ( 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 trip.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Students draw a picture in Kidpix. The teacher copies the picture into the web page.
  3. The students draw with Kidpix and copy the picture into a web page template.
  4. The student designs the web page and inserts their own picture.

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 many options.

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.

Sample Activity
Explore a Sample Activity.

Updated by Annette Lamb, November 1998.