Friday, 8 July 2016

Planning and creating a site for term 3: Olympics

I decided to attempt creating a site using the new google sites which had been released for us to trial. As soon as I began to use the new sites, I realised how much more restrictive it was compared to the classic google sites. I soon realised that to personalise the site as much as possible, I would have to create my design outside of sites, and then insert images and buttons into the site.

Our inquiry for term 3 is the Olympics. Our team is focusing on areas of the Olympics which may cause controversy or debate, such as use of technology, performance-enhancing drugs, the Refugee Olympic Team, and sponsorship. Therefore, this is the topic of this site. Check out the site, here.

The home page of this site is simple and takes the audience to the official Olympics websites, pages for some areas of interest under the 'Olympics Exposed' umbrella, two relevant Olympic youtube clips from the official Olympic youtube channel, and a page of fun facts. Unfortunately, with the new google sites, it is not yet possible to remove the horizontal navigation bar at the top (as can be seen in the image below). 

After creating what can be seen on this site, I realised that it was not yet possible to make the new google sites public on the web. I ended up sharing this site with the other teachers in my team, as a resource bank which they could then use. Even though this site did not end up being used with the students, I do not feel that it was wasted time. I will be able to continue adding to this site and will be able to repurpose it in future years when the Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games are next on.

End of term 3 reflection (October):

During term 3, our team made some changes to how we structured reading. These changes coincided with school PD with the University of Auckland Woolf Fisher Research Centre. In our team, we undertook three 'focus topics' during the term and each of these focus topics lasted around three weeks. This allowed learning to be wide and deep. Related youtube clips were used to hook learners into the topics and to create discussion. Students were also provided with a larger number of texts to empower them in their learning. Links were also made between reading and writing where possible. You can check out what this looked like, here

Since term 3 involved inquiring into our current practice and making collaborative changes as a team, this site did not get used as I had originally hoped. Reflecting, it could have been beneficial to have created a site for just one of these focus areas which we inquired into.

The practice at creating sites this year has allowed me to challenge myself for next year where I aim to complete a site which students can use regularly for a topic as part of their learning. I need to be thinking about how I can make the site interesting for the audience by not just adding links, but using buttons, videos, screencasts, audio, and more. This challenge for myself will involve combining the concepts behind sites like this Olympic site and the Comic and Sequential Art site (term 2), as well as the changes we made as a team to the structure of our reading programme during term 3.

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