Designing Web Pages that Work

teachingfortomorrowTeaching for Tomorrow

Web page design is something I have enjoyed doing for some time now.  Beginning with Netscape’s built-in editor I put together our school’s first web site.  At the time I thought it was fantastic, of course, and some parts of it were actually pretty nice.  Looking back at it now, though, it was certainly bare-bones compared to what can be done today!  It is amazing to see what can be done on even a “simple” web page in today’s web.  It is even more amazing to think that I can now create some pretty fancy web pages that teach a wide variety of topics.  All of this is brought out in EDTECH 502 for good reason.  With all of the differing pages I designed, and all the skills I learned, I now feel better equipped to prepare my students and fellow teachers for tomorrow’s classrooms and jobs.

Web Site Design Challenges

Learning Dreamweaver was fairly straightforward.  It was similar to what I saw in Netscape, FrontPage, and even DotNetNuke, so adjusting to the different terms and toolbars was pretty easy.  Getting the HTML and CSS to validate, though, was another story.  It was particularly challenging when we started using templates because some of the templates available online are from versions older than HTML5 and CSS3. I ran into this when trying to learn iOS programming for another class, too.  Some of the most applicable tutorials were based on an out-of-date language, making it hard to glean any useful information from them.  This is a challenge our students face, as well, and so we must address such things in our teaching.

Rising to the Challenge

After some trial and a lot of error I was able to identify many of the potential problems before even testing the code for HTML5 and CSS3 compliance.  Being able to recognize the possible pitfalls will come in handy for all future web design projects.  I will also have to remember that my students will experience the same difficulties with concepts that I think are really easy and logical, but they see as brand new, difficult, and confusing.

502’s #1

While I enjoyed creating all of the sites and pages, I have to say that my favorite one is the web quest – Teaching for Tomorrow.  This quest deals with integrating technology, a catch phrase that has been the bane of teacher’s existence for at least two decades now.  The problem with the phrase is not the idea behind the phrase, but in identifying the idea behind the phrase.  Just what does the principal want, anyway?  What are the parents looking for?  How am I supposed to add even more to my already busy day?  So many questions from teachers, and every one of them is valid.  This web quest will help teachers and administrators examine those questions as they apply to today’s classrooms, as well as find some concrete answers to the questions.

Web Design for the Ages

Since my current position includes maintaining the school web site, it is clear that I will use these web design techniques in my job.  But well beyond that, the concepts we learned in order to design the page are easily applicable to teaching any subject.  Netiquette rules apply to all uses of technology, not just web design.  Accessibility should always be considered.  Mobile learning is a fantastic alternative to traditional learning, whether I design my own lesson or use one someone else designed.  These skills and concepts apply very well to my classroom teaching and the professional development workshops that I lead.  Bonus:  now that I have completed EDTECH 503 as well, I can see that the design principals I learned in both classes will work hand-in-hand for all my future projects as a student and as a teacher.

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