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A school's website is often the first line of public relations and recruiting. Parents and prospective students are often browsing school websites to get a feel for a school, it's staff, and climate. Therefore having a relevant, apealing, and representative website is critical in the 21st Century. This is also the best way to communicate online information to students. Keeping your personal webpage updated with syllabi, expectations, assignments, links to online tutorials, lessons, and dropboxes, and all relevant information gives students every opportunity to be successful in your class. It also keeps students much more engaged by appealing to their visual learning style (becoming more and more dominant as we move through the 21st Century).

Plus it's fun.

Still not convinced? Check out what Edutopia had to say in 2008:
Benefits of Maintaining a Teacher Website:
Efficiency:
A teacher Web page helps gain teaching time.
Resources: Students gain access to many more curriculum resources.
Relevance: Students will come to see the Internet as a personally relevant extension of school.
Connection: Students come to see their teachers as connected.
Access: Through the inclusion of an email address, a contact form, or another communication tool, students and their families gain extended access to their teachers.
Experience: Students will gain experience using digital resources in direct support of learning.

Studies show that our urban population is quickly closing The Digital Divide. Don't use our student's supposed "lack of access" as an excuse for not taking advantage of digital resources**. In the words of a wise man: "If you build it, they will come."

**If you are concerned about lack of access, HERE is a list of ways to connect in the area, including reduced price internet access for families who have a free/reduced-lunch status.
 

Click on the heading below for more information.

Urban Planet

TIES has a thorough explanation of Urban Planet and how to use it to attach documents, add pictures, and of course, add simple text.  The nice thing about Urban Planet is that you do not need to be a computer programmer to use it. Minneapolis Public Schools has created a slideshow (see documents) and St Paul Public Schools has some great video tutorials on using Urban Planet.

Please take note of the Best Practices listed on the MPS slideshow - they're researched and tested, and failure to adhere may result in a modification of your website without your consent.