As I wind down my English Language Learners tutoring in preparation for student teaching, I have come to realize most of my student resources are for ESL/ELL students. I have also come to realize that using Moodle for keeping resources available to students will no longer be my best option. Additionally, I have found that my tutoring students rarely logged into Moodle. I want to make class and English/Language Arts resources available to all my students as well as all high school students in the world. I’ve heard some good things about Weebly, a website that makes website developing and blog posting easy, and its market towards classroom websites. So I’ve spent some time re-working my Moodle database and learning Weebly.
In my opinion, Weebly is great for someone who needs something to look professional, who has no idea what s/he is doing, and needs a blog-like format. But for me, Weebly just doesn’t work for my needs as classroom website.
Weebly can effectively integrate blog and standard webpages. You can have a static homepage and contact page, but a dynamic blog for each class. If you utilize Weebly to its full potential, students and teachers can log in and interact, posting videos and content from iPhones. You can have the site hosted on Weebly’s servers or you can buy your own domain for your Weebly-built site. There are tons of “you can do this or that” with Weebly. But when you really look at it, what Weebly offers is a ton of “services” but the user-experience and customization is limited. And that’s its downfall for me. I may use Weebly in the future for a class blog, but for the purposes of a class website where I can list resources upon resources? I’ll keep searching.
Browsing for resources will be difficult. Students don’t want to scroll and scroll down long pages. Thus, I’ll either have to eliminate resources or create pages upon pages and I just don’t think that it’s practical. I want to be able to create modules that can have links to documents to download as well as other websites without having so much space in between (take a look at what I mean).
I am also restricted to their customizations. Sure, I have quite a bit of breathing room to change out pictures and choose from over 30ish templates–but that’s only 30 templates. I’m used to having a bit more freedom when I use Dreamweaver. Sure, I love clicking a button and having all the code done for me (it saves hours, maybe even days in the long run), but I’ve run into a few instances where I wanted to deleted something or move something to the left or right and I was unable to do so. I became frustrated quickly with titles in particular as well as modules not moving to where I wanted them to go.
In essence, Weebly is great for a class blog, but not for a class website which typically is more of a database of resources.
Check out my “work in progress” Weebly/Class Website.