Perhaps others are clearer about the difference these days between a website and a blog, but it seems to me the boundary lines are pretty blurry.
For students, a number of blog applications seem very easy to use and work well in my classes. You can find more information about these tools on these specific “The Best…” lists:
Visually, however, I can see how a website might offer more creative possibilities. So in this list I’ll share my picks for The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website.
Except for one tool I’ll write about, I didn’t include any that would not allow you to grab images directly off the web for inclusion on the website. This list is focused on tools accessible for English Language Learners and non-tech-savvy computer users, and that ability, I believe, is an essential one for those two groups. The other features also had to be very easy to use. Finally, the service had to be offered free-of-charge.
Here are my choices, though not listed in any particular order of preference. Also, of course, even though I listed some sites under “Students,” I think a teacher could also find them useful.:
Notaland is very easy to use.
Jottit is an extraordinarily simple and easy way to create a webpage. All you do is start typing — you don’t even have to register. You can create a password that you, or anyone else you want to be able to write in it, can use, and then you’re given your own url. You can’t just copy and paste images. However, you can embed objects.
Rombla gets an honorable mention. It’s not quite as easy to use as the ones I’ve already mentioned, but it’s pretty close.
Hipero bills itself as “The easiest Free Website Builder ever!” I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it is, indeed, pretty easy to use.
Just Paste It and Axess are very, very simple ways to create websites. They’re ideal for teachers or students who are not very tech savvy, and just want a place to add links or, for example, if students have an assignment where they might need to collect images and then describe them. Axess has an advantage over Just Paste It because it appears that you can return to edit Axess but can’t do that for Just Paste It. No registration is required for either one. Copytaste is similar, and so are Dinky Page and Twextra.
Free Web Me is a new way to create free websites. They say you can create one in less than a minute, and you certainly can. Plus, you can grab images off the web to use on your site. It’s pretty easy.
Up until now, I’ve only included apps to make websites that allow you to grab images directly off the web. However, there are some sites that are pretty darn easy, but only let you upload photos off your computer. Here are two that I’m now adding:
Orbs is a very, very easy website maker. I especially like it because you can just copy and paste images on it. You don’t officially have to register to use it but, if you don’t, they’ll delete it after 24 hours. Registration is a cinch. (Thanks to NT Camp Smackdown for the tip)
Jux looks like a great way to create nice-looking websites. It’s free and has a “drag-and-drop” interface, plus you can grab images off the web.
Striking.ly is a very easy tool for creating a website. I particularly like the fact that you can grab images off the Web to insert in them. You still need an invitation to register, but I received one a day after I sent in a request.
Infinite.ly is a pretty darn easy way to create a free website. Be sure to click “Get a Free Account now …” on their homepage.
I discovered Populr.me awhile ago, and liked how easy it let you create websites. However, at that time, they had a very strict, and small, limit on the number of pages you could publish. They’ve just removed that limit, so I’m adding it to this list.
Wix is a fairly easy site that lets you use Flash to create a website or content that you would like to embed into a website or a blog. The final product can look pretty neat. There’s so much you can create that I think it would be a little too overwhelming to English Language Learners. I also suspect that my mainstream students would would want to spend far too much time using it to make their creations look cool and spend less time on the actual content. However, teachers, I think, might want to use it to create content their students would then access.
Yola is another website-building application and seems very similar to Wix, but appears to be just a little less complicated to use.
Langwitches speaks very highly of using Netvibes for creating a classroom webpage. The post includes screenshots. Silvia Tolisano, the author of Langwitches, has written a nice article titled Create a simple classroom webpage. It’s focused on using NetVibes.
Also, check out a post at my other blog, Engaging Parents In School — “A Few Potentially Useful Tech Tools For Teacher/Parent Communication.”
As always, feedback is welcome.