Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.
Here’s a great question I got from Laurie:
Do you know of any websites where teachers can create a free web page for their classroom? But I’d like to have my students maintain it, so they would need accounts and then I approve and publish the material?
The easiest free answer is to use KidBlogs as a website, but they are limited because they’re sanitized for kids. Edublogs (another blog that could be used as a website) is popular, though I have never used them. I love WordPress and use one as a website. It’s very flexible. Kids could certainly maintain it. You’d have to set up a static first page, then blog posts for the information. Maybe not as good as Google Sites or Wix or Weebly.
More of a traditional website is Wix and Weebly–both nice. They are fairly intuitive (my 4th graders used them), but they aren’t geared for kids so the free pictures are all ages. I didn’t see any bad ones (and I was looking), but their purpose isn’t to be G. For teacher use, I think you’d love Wix. There are some beautiful templates. There’s also Google Sites (comes with Google Apps for Ed–not to be confused with Blogger)
Any of these, kids could maintain. It’s simpler to have multiple users with blogs because you make them contributors with appropriate privileges, but websites are close to being as simple.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.