Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Moment of Reflection

I have just completed putting some finishing touches on a website of which I own 1/4,, so now is an appropriate time for a moment of reflection on the process:

First off, creating a coherent website that is easy to use is pretty hard work, even with a template like the ones offered by Google. There's a lot more planning than I would have thought, not just in terms of content, but also in creating a logical path for navigation. But, once you sort through that stuff, I am really impressed with the opportunities a website can offer in an educational setting. Now, I realize that last sentence sounded like someone who has just discovered the Internet, but sadly, I think in some ways education is just discovering the Internet. When it comes to class projects, I am so used to creating something that maybe the whole class sees for five minutes and then is forever discarded, that the prospect of a long-lasting website excites me. When students can create a permanent artifact, I think two things occur: 1) they are inspired to do a better job because the project is no longer just about a grade; the website will exist long after the grade has been issued; and 2) concurrent with that idea is the fact that learning can continue after the class time has expired. I think it's pretty cool that at some later date I can go back and read and reread not only our website, but everyone else's, too. Moreover, the websites are artifacts that can be accessed by anyone, so that someday I could possibly recommend one to a colleague.  To put it more simply, I think websites do an excellent job of taking learning out of the traditional learning environment of school, and in so doing, they dramatically increase its frequency, thoroughness, and applicability.

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