Mia Morgan, Ed.D., M.L.S.
Here is a link to the final version of my library website: https://sites.google.com/swampscott.k12.ma.us/k4library/home
I am not going to lie, creating and maintaining a classroom website requires a monumental amount of work.
In the spring of 2017, I created a library website using Google Sites. I spent hours, many, many hours, working on the structure and layout of the site. I spent many more hours filling the site with content. Over the next year, I used that site daily with all of my K-4 students. While I spent many hours building the site, and even more time maintaining and updating the site, ultimately it paid off in my teaching. Having a well organized and up-to-date website means that my lessons run smoothly and I can focus on teaching my students a process for using technology and doing research that begins with knowing where to begin. For my students, they begin on the library website.
A year later, I rebuilt the site in WordPress. I was happy with my Google Site that I built using the ‘Classic’ sites, but needed to update it to keep it in line with the newly updated district site and also, since Google Sites changed their website design to ‘New’ sites, I worried that my ‘Classic’ site would become obsolete. Sadly, I could not use my WordPress site that I built because it was not on the district domain. Understandable. A few weeks later, I turned to ‘New’ Google Sites to build the site again.
I had some initial concerns about ‘New’ Google Sites because the functionality was sorely lacking. For one thing, ‘New’ Google Sites does not allow HTLM editing, which means you can only do what you can do, nothing else. I was stumped trying to create in page links. However, I persevered and my final site is actually the best version. I love my library/technology website and use it every day with my students. They find it easy to navigate and useful.
Again, I will not lie. I spent as many hours recreating my site in WordPress, and then in ‘New’ Google Sites as I initially spent building in Classic Google Sites. Not only did I need to develop a solid structure and layout, I also needed to recreate all of my links and reload all of my images, for a third time. I also took care to make sure all of my images and media had alt tags so the site would be ADA compliant. Now that the structure is solid it does not take me long to update. I change and edit links once per month and that seems to work out well for my lessons.
The difference this time around is that I know how important the website is for my teaching. The effort it takes to build and maintain a classroom website is well worth it knowing it will be useful to me and my students. Should *you* create a classroom website? Absolutely. In the end your effort will pay off, but go in knowing that you will invest many weekend and evening hours into getting the look and content that you want.