The world’s new reality
It all begins and ends with the web. We can engage students in the creation of that reality, and maybe tweak it towards joy and sustainability.
The web has changed our lives. It is the virtual which is also the real. It is a different world that exists in the clouds, but that also exists all around us. It reflects our world even while creating it and altering it.
What better way is there to bring completion to student projects than to create parts of this world? My students are making their own websites. This is particularly interesting because the websites are going to present my student’s vision of an ideal community.
This year, my middle school students engaged in a yearlong project to create their own utopian society. Every week, I send them ideas to ponder and tasks to complete that have helped them develop a more complete world view and examine their own world through a critical lens. Kids considered who their heroes would be, how they would school their children and what they would eat in their most perfect version of the world. I talk about launching the project here (https://blog.wiziq.com/a-new-school-exists/ and https://blog.wiziq.com/the-first-day-of-a-new-school/). Then, to help them consider even more possibilities, I took them to NYC.
Now, we are approaching the end of the year, and the entire project is going to come back to where it started: a website. They will be actually putting out into the world their vision of a healthier world.
I had the idea of starting an online school just over a year ago. I knew that I needed a website, but I assumed that it was too difficult and annoying a task for me to pull off all by myself. I did not have an idea of where to begin. I asked around, and it was simply out of my budget to hire someone else to create a site for me. Then, I decided to try it. I did a Google search. I watched a few tutorials about Weebly. There was a week of late nights and voila! I made a website (www.s-h-i-n-e.org). It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good.
Now, I am teaching students and helping them create a society that they want to live in. To finish this project, my students are creating a website to give readers a tour of their planned community.
Perhaps, you have never tried creating a website before. This is your moment. Within a few hours, you will be ready to introduce your students to web design.
Weebly is the first and only tool that I have used. Perhaps, as I become tech-savvier, I will explore other tools and be able to explain the nuances of each. As for now, though, Weebly is free, easy, and proven. That is good enough for me.
Web development is not what it used to be. It is much easier. With Weebly, you can create a classroom website and blog. It is simple to create and manage accounts for your students. You can even accept assignments online. There are no advertisements and it is easy to password protect student pages, to ensure everyone’s privacy.
I used WizIQ to Introduce Weebly
My last WizIQ online lesson was an introduction to Weebly. My next post will share the details of the lesson. I want you to see exactly how I used WizIQ Virtual Classroom to introduce my students to web design. My students are, as we speak, creating individual websites to take people on the tour of their Utopias.
Parents have emailed me to share how enthusiastic their students are. One of my students is teaching her little sister. I checked in with another student, asking her “Do you know what to do next? Do you feel good about your plan?”
She responded, “Yes, yes and yes!”
Right now, kids are creating coherent, informed visions of the world that they want to live in, and are preparing their vision to share with the world. In doing so, they are also helping to create that world.
What a great way to make a living!