This is a mini-post that mainly serves as a “Hey! Look what I found!” I’m pretty excited about it, and if you’re a teacher that uses the internet as a canvas for student work as I do, you’ll be excited, too!
Now and again, I come across the need for my students to create a website. In the past, I’ve used Google Sites for this purpose, since students can use it collaboratively and, if you’re using Google Apps/Chromebooks, the connection is intrinsic and easy. However, (and please forgive me, Google, for you are amazing in most other ways) let’s be real–Google Sites can look pretty horrifically awful. The editing process is clunky, widgets are hit or miss as far as how they will display or operate, getting pictures to show up attractively takes forever, and the overall look of most Google sites made from scratch is very 1999. But using Google Sites will get student content up on the web, and it’s free… which counts for a lot.
This is where the new guy swoops in to save the day. I recently became aware of Wix.com. Wix is a web service that allows anyone to quickly create an account (which can link up through a school Google account as well) that allows for the quick creation of totally customizable, awesome-looking websites… for free! If you’re familiar with the agonizing frustration of editing Google Sites, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that Wix sites are a whole new world of web design that looks slick and edits in a highly visual, drag-and-drop kind of way. The editor also works equally well on a Mac, PC, or Chromebook, and even includes a customizable mobile version of the website.
I’ve been using Wix with my Photography I and Photography II classes as a place for an online portfolio where they can post their images and reflect on them, but any type of project or portfolio could become a Wix site. (Click here to see the example photography site that I’m currently working on. If I did it, you can, too!) All students have to do once they publish is share the link with you, and you can view and evaluate their work. Even better, they can easily share it with anyone on the web as well.
Go forth, and be amazed at what your kids can do with Wix! Let me know in the comments how your attempts go, or if you’ve already dabbled in this resource and have additional pointers to share. 🙂