I’ve recently learned about two free web applications that allow you to have online “classrooms.” Teachers can prepare lessons (including graphics), have class rosters, and design assessments. Students can then access them online.
We use something like this as part of our Family Literacy Project. English Language Learner students and their families receive a computer and home DSL service and, as part of using it for English language development, they sign-in to one (or a combination) of three sites where we have a roster and can see what they’ve completed. However, with these three sites, all we have to do is prepare the class list — the activities are already prepared. The three we use are I Know That, Raz Kids, and English For All.
They are all located on my English Themes For Beginners page under Favorite Sites. It’s free to do this on English For All, but you have to pay a small amount for Raz-Kids and a larger one for I Know That. However, students can use many or all of the activities on those two sites for free if you don’t want a class roster to monitor progress.
But I digress from the two sites I want to mention where teachers can create their lessons and assessments from scratch. The two are Yacapaca (for free teacher sign-up and you can go here to see a demo) and Beanarena.
However, outside of using them during a Katrina-like emergency, I can’t really think about how using these sites would be helpful. I’m very open, however, to hearing from others who think otherwise.