Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Using site Templates for Design Porfolios

I have been using Google Sites with my students as their their design portfolios for a few years now. The first thing we do at the start of a new year is make our sites and go over the Google skills they need like embedding docs and images onto their site, making new pages for each project etc. As the time goes on that we have been working online, the students are needing less and less google "skills" time, as they know what they are doing better than I do.

Where I continue to struggle each year is keeping up with getting the work up onto their sites. We always seem to be doing it at the end of projects, in a mad rush, instead of it being a gradual process over the course of a project.
I was talking about this with my HOD and she was agreeing with me and explaining what she was thinking about for next year, which was making a site template for her students, with areas for each task that they have to complete, so the students know what to put on the site and in what order. I am always keen to steal / borrow / use good ideas so I immediately jumped on this one. This came about at this time as we were discussing the order of work on the student sites needing to show the flow through the project. We were going through Level 1 moderation at the time, so the random order that some students had presented their work was a talking point.

What I have come up with over the last couple of days is this template design.
It includes tabs for all the projects they will do over the year and on each page, there are headings for all the tasks that need to be completed within each project.
Link to the template

There are 2 planner / calendar items on the home page.
The year plan is so they can see an overview of the year at a glance.
The embedded calendar is for another experiment next year. Again, the idea came from my HOD. She puts links to the tasks she wants the students to do that day on the class calendar using a href attribute in the calendar notes.
<a href="">Visit W3Schools</a>
I thought this was a great idea this year, but resisted trying it as we never seem to be where the calendar says we should be in the project. So the plan is to only put lesson task links in the calendar a week in advance. This means that the usual year layout will look out of place in the calendar if it is not matching the lesson notes. This was the reason I have separated the year overview into a snapshot.

I have also included a link to the Level 1 Google Plus community on the front page so they can find it easily and there is a link to the class site. Links to my site / project examples are on each page too. 
All these help links can be removed before the sites are sent away to Wellington in November to be looked at for external assessment.

I considered putting in the blank worksheets / docs in place on the pages but decided not to as the students like to do things in different ways and I don't want them to feel like they have to do it the same way as me.

It is a balance between trying to save them time and being helpful, and doing too much and being controlling. 
Time to wind in my inner control freak....

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