Over the last term I’ve been teaching an options class called English through Technology. The purpose of the course is to combine straightforward English language learning with elements of digital literacy relevant for our students future studies at university. So, for example, students have been learning how to use different presentation software, how to create videos and edit them, how to use different search engines, and these are all designed to give them the skills necessary to cope with life when they take up their place in their departments.
As we got near the end of the course I wanted them to work on a project that would allow them to combine a lot of these skills and also to produce something which was real and meaningful for both them and would have an audience beyond the classroom. We came up with the idea of creating a website for future students of our school. The idea would be to provide a real and honest guide from current students giving information to future students about all aspects of life in Sheffield and the school. This was partially inspired by an award-winning project from a colleague of mine called Gary Wood, who got his first-year linguistics students to create a site for future undergraduates.
|The homepage of our website|
In terms of of the technical side of creating the website, we decided to use Google Sites. There were two reasons for this: firstly, they are available through their university accounts, so it was easy to access and use them. Secondly, they are very simple to use, they don’t require any great programming knowledge, and students can just use the interface to edit and create their pages. This allowed them to spend more time focusing on the content and the writing of the webpages rather than the technical side of creating them.
|A webpage giving info about children’s education|
|They interviewed and videoed teachers for the website|