EC&I 834 - Designing for Online and Blended Learning

We Pick Weebly!

“…oral communication remains as strong today in education as ever, but has been incorporated into or accommodated by new technologies.” Teaching in a Digital Age – Chapter 6 by Tony Bates 

When Amy and I began brainstorming our ideas for the course that we would develop this semester we first began with trying to decipher which LMS (learning management system) would best fit the requirements of the project but also the needs of the students who could potentially use this course in the future. I was lucky that Amy was on board with jumping into developing a course for primary students!

One of the pieces that Amy and I want to ensure we do with our project is to make the learning is not just engaging but something that the students are going to want to be involved in. As well as something that has them up and using their hands for learning. Since we are taking on a Science unit, I don’t think this will be too difficult a challenge. I was reminded of this thought when I read the Audrey Watters post Beyond the LMS. In this post Watters discusses the large dislike for the well know LMS , Blackboard and how many companies have taken something that Blackboard has already created and essentially just make it ‘pretty’ so to speak. As she states:

“..the solution then … is to build the same thing, just with a nicer, more modern user interface. “It’s like Blackboard,” I hear them say, but with the blue colors we now associate with Facebook. “It’s like Blackboard…” but with a news feed. “It’s like Blackboard…” but with responsive design or with a mobile app. “It’s like Blackboard…” but you don’t have to have permission from your IT department. “It’s like Blackboard…” but it’s free.”

We don’t simply want to create something that students  that is the same as they would have always done. We want to create a new and varied learning experience that involves the learner throughout the whole process.

When considering a LMS for primary students there are potentially some factors at play that may not be as prevalent as  you move into the older grades. So what might those factors be? Although we are still working out some logistical details, we have discussed and considered a few of the following:

  • Ease of use
  • Student access to technology
  • The need for incorporating time for teachers to have to explicitly teach certain tech features to students as they may be experiencing some pieces or tech in general for the first time
  • Read ability – many primary students are still learning to read

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Photo Credit: gianghoàng2 Flickr via Compfight cc

When you look at this list, can you think of any other factors we should be considering?
Please feel free to share and tips or suggestion you might have in the comment section!

After some careful consideration around the needs of primary students, looking at a few LMS options and about 5 too many promotional emails from Edmodo we have settled on Weebly as a space for our course, that will be supplemented by Seesaw. Along with other possible suggestions/options for teachers who do not have access to Seesaw. There are definitely a few kinks and specifics to work out but we are making progress! Have I mentioned yet just how great it is to have such an awesome partner to work with? We are completely on the same page and even better, she totally gets my love for Snapchat!

So we’ve picked Weebly, now what? Amy and I have set up our space and are working on the development and details of the course along with the aesthetic and logistical pieces. I’ve put together a short screen cast to show you a little bit about the sign up process, how Weebly is set up and where we are at! Any feedback, guidance or suggestions are always welcome!

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9 thoughts on “We Pick Weebly!

  1. Great idea to include a short screencast in your blog, Nicole. It really makes your blog interactive with different types of communication this week, also rounding off the way you started your post with that quote about oral communication. Seeing your blog like that and all that you have been able to accomplish in the past, I do believe that you will have no problem developing a course that is interactive for Science, even being online. I am looking forward to seeing what you can come up with, especially being a combination between Weebly and Seesaw. I used Weebly last year with my grade 6-8 students and they really enjoyed it. It was quite easy to use and they caught on very quickly. Even though your students are younger than mine were, I am sure they will be able to use the site well. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am really liking the ease of use and design options that Weebly presents! We are thinking it will definitely be something that primary learners will be able to use and navigate with ease.

  2. I can’t think of anything you have forgotten to take into consideration when choosing your platform, but I have to say that for you guys it’s probably most important to have it be user-friendly and readable by the students just like you said. I think Weebly will be a great choice for a variety of reasons, but probably the number one reason is that students won’t need login information to access the course. I used it with grade 9 in my technology class. I actually let them use it to create their own web page on any topic they were interested in and the students really enjoyed it. They all found it super easy to navigate and work with.

  3. Thank you for including your screen cast. I have never used Weebly, but I have heard people talk about it. I’m also interested in the “easy to manage and nagivate.” I will be very interested to see the end product and how you integrate primary learning into Weebly.

  4. Your screencast was totally inspirational for me!. We had been talking about using See Saw for our primary course , and after watching your screencast – I think Weebly would be a great thing to try. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, I am happy to be learning from you 🙂

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