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If you've never built a website, but would like to create a classroom website in just a few minutes, then wordpress.com is a great place to start. Wordpress.com, first and foremost, is free. So without having to pay a cent, you can go ahead and create a classroom website and figure out if WordPress is for you. Then in the future, if you decide that you'd like to continue to use WordPress, there are some advanced options that you can choose to purchase. You don't need to purchase these options, and many classroom websites use wordpress.com without paying a penny. There's also a huge community of WordPress users.
This is great if you're a novice. If you have a question, the likelihood is, someone else has had that question prior, they've asked it in a forum or discussion board, and other users have commented on it. That way you can quickly find the answers to questions you have about how to use wordpress.com. There's also thousands of themes and templates that you can apply to your particular website. As an educator, this saves us time. We don't want to go through and select every single color and where all the menus should go. People have done this for us and we can take their professionally designed themes and apply them to our clashing websites.
And you'll also be learning a system that powers millions of websites around the world. And that way, if you want to take your skills of creating a classroom website and create a website for yourself, you'll already have the skill to do that. In addition to using wordpress.com, because WordPress is open source, you can always download your own copy of WordPress and host it on your own server. This will allow you to have complete customization of how WordPress works. This is a more advanced way to use WordPress, and if you're interested in learning more about that, I highly recommend you check out the WordPress Essential Training in the lynda.com library.
And finally, WordPress is for websites that are focused on blogging. They have a lot of powerful features to allow you to blog, share your blog, and connect with other blogs around the web. The next website platform we're going to take a look at is Edublogs. Edublogs is very similar to WordPress. In fact, it's actually using WordPress on the back end. With Edublogs, however, you'll be creating a blog or a classroom website that's specifically for teachers and students. When we look at the benefits of Edublogs, they're very similar to WordPress. First and foremost, it's free, but you also have the opportunity to purchase advanced options.
You also join a community of educators. This means that working with Edublogs means you're not just limited to creating your website, but you can also look at and get resources and ideas from other educator websites in the edublogs community. There's also hundreds of classroom ready themes. With wordpress.com you need to sort through a variety of themes to find the one that works for you. At Edublogs, all of the themes are automatically designed with an education feel. And Edublogs is also the largest collection of classroom blogs on the internet. The last platform we're going to look at today is probably the most unique of the three, and that's Weebly.
Weebly allows you to create a drag and drop website. For example, here's a website I created for Mr. Quigley's science class. All of these elements can be edited simply by hovering on what they're going to look like in the web page and then choosing how to change them. This is slightly different from Edublogs or WordPress.com where you're going to write content in one portion of the website and then preview what it's going to appear like in the final product. The same as Edublogs and wordpress.com, Weebly is free, and there's advanced options that you can purchase. Once again, it's that drag and drop graphic creation interface.
If you're more of a visual learner, and more art minded, then Weebly might be the correct choice for you in your classroom. It also gives you complete control over the look and style of the webpages. Where wordpress.com and Edublogs you're stuck using a particlar theme, and you must apply that theme to every single page, at Weebly you can change the look of individual pages. And it also has a lot of interactive features you can easily add. This way, you can create very quick classroom polls as well as interactive elements in your websites for your students to engage with your content at a deeper level. I hope you enjoy exploring these three platforms and you find one that's perfect for you and your students.
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