Teaching Your Students to Create Websites

Websites are a great way for your students to share their learning with a broader, authentic audience. However, incorporating any technology in the classroom should never be about the tools, but about the learning. What learning can websites help foster? What objectives or standards can be accomplished through creating websites?

Begin at the End

You first need to decide what you want your students to learn or be able to do that creating a website will help them learn or do. What essential questions do you want them to grapple with? What do you want them to take away from the experience? Why do they need to create a website to learn the material? What is it about using that particular tool that will make the learning task more engaging or enable them to transfer knowledge? How will creating a website help them exercise critical thinking skills?

What you do not want to do is create a task simply because you want students to create websites. The task should be a meaningful part of the curriculum, not an activity that feels tacked on because the teacher wanted to introduce new technology tools.

A Look at Standards

Some of the following national standards can be met through student creation of websites. Note: This list is not comprehensive, and you may find that the website project you have in mind addresses additional standards or does not address some of the standards cited below.

Photo Courtesy of Ibrahim Iuhaz on Flickr
Photo Courtesy of Ibrahim Iuhaz on Flickr

ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education has identified six standards for students. All six standards can be met through creation of a website.

Common Core Standards

The Common Core Standards have currently only identified standards in English and mathematics.

English Language Arts

  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Mathematics

  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics.

NCTE/IRA Standards

The National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have identified twelve standards for students. Creating a website can meet the following standards:
  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

NCTM Standards

National Council of Teachers of Math standards are available only to members of NCTM. If you are a member, you can log in and view standards here.

NTSA Standards

The National Science Teacher Association publishes standards for teachers. Check your state science standards for students.

NCSS Standards

The National Council for the Social Studies publishes standards in Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

ACTFL

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages has identified twelve standards for students. Creating a website can meet the following standards:
  • Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
  • Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.

NAEA

The National Art Educators Association has identified standards (pdf) in visual art, music, drama, and dance. The following standard can be addressed through creating a website:
  • Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

Next Steps

What are some ways other teachers have used student-created websites to meet curriculum standards? Proceed to the next page for ideas for projects students can create using websites.