Professional Development for Teachers: Wix Websites
Leigh Anne Coles
Managing Instruction and Technology
Instructor: Dr. Kathy Milhauser
Professional Development for Teachers: Wix Websites
In an educational setting, the need for constant communication is in high demand from all parties involved. Notes homes, phone calls, emails, websites, social media, and even texting have found a place within schools to open the doors of communication. However, some of the newer technology-based methods are not utilized to their fullest potential because there is not enough training to support those who wish to use it. This professional development would afford all of the teachers, support staff and administration a chance to become more fluent and confident in developing a customized website for their needs to communicate with all participants of the school community. The need for communication between students and parents is an essential tool to making sure our students succeed in their academic endeavors. “As access to technology continues to expand, the capabilities for connecting parents to schools will continue to grow. As schools invest in websites, phone calling systems, parent portals, online curriculum, and other types of technologies that connect schools to home, research needs to continue to focus on the effectiveness of these technologies to increase parent involvement” (Olmstead, pp. 28). The website helps the teacher centralize information and important items for their students, the parents and themselves, like: policies and expectations, assignments and calendars so students can stay on track, and it can showcase student work. Additionally, it can help make the students more independent and responsible for their work when they are out of school. When there is a program that offers limited functionality and lacks a user friendly interface, the interest in using the software can be dismal. A training program like this can help the faculty become familiar with the interface, so they can effectively develop a useful and navigable website for their classroom. Ultimately, it will help them create an online presence for their classroom, and open up one more door of communication. Software programs like FinalSite and SchoolDesk are limited with regard to functionality, user access and aesthetics. Wix offers an HTML5 based web-design, has numerous free templates and hosting options, is user friendly, and offers ‘real-person’ assistance. The development of a visually pleasing classroom website can help make the communication process easy and streamlined for all parties involved: teaching staff, support staff, administration, students, parents, local community, board of education, curriculum coordinators, pupil/special education services, superintendent, etc.
The scope for this project can be defined as: To plan and design an ongoing professional development for all teachers, support staff and administration on website development for their classrooms to broaden communication with parents and students within an 8 week timeframe prior to the implementation for under $4,500.
In order to achieve this there are several components that must come together and work in unison. The main objective of this professional development is to develop a training program that affords all of the participants a chance to develop a customized website for their classroom which provides them with another venue to communicate with parents and students. For this to happen, an environment for delivery will need to be established which will not affect their current work environment. Additionally, information will need to be collected to determine the areas of interests from the participants and those who will be impacted by the outcome of this training, to better determine the topics covered in the program. The development of this program will require a small group of people to accomplish a series of small tasks prior to the implementation.
One of the major benefits of this professional development program is that it will require a minimal budget. Most of the current practices and technology in the district are conducive to this program, therefore, there will be no major costs like technology. Small matters like paying the instructional designer, instructor, developing and administering surveys, etc. Ideally, this training will utilize most of what the district already has, and will not impede on any current practices. The overall goal is to improve the best practices of the district, to further support student success.
Project Work Breakdown Structure
- Develop three surveys: one for the participants, one for the parents impacted by the outcome of the training, and one for the students impacted by the outcome of the training.
1.1Develop a survey for the participants which assess their current technology skill level and determines what their interests are with website development for their classroom.
1.1A Design a series of simple questions that will determine what each participants current technology skill levels are.
1.1B Design a series of simple questions that will determine the areas of interest the participants have about website development, and what they would like to accomplish out of a training like this.
1.1C Use an online survey system like GoogleDrive: Forms or SurveyMonkey that will collect and analyze the information.
1.2 Develop a survey for those impacted by the training which determines what they would like to see on a teachers or administrators website.
1.2A Split this survey into two different ones: one for parents and one for students.
1.2B Design a series of simple questions that will determine what each group would like to see on a website.
2. Determine the delivery method for the training.
2.1 Research and find a delivery method for the training that will impact the participants current work environment the least.
2.1A Focus on a delivery system that the school might already subscribe to: i.e. Google Apps for Education or Teacher Share
2.2 Determine if the delivery method can reach all of the participants within the school, and has potential to be accessed outside of the school (if the participants choose to do the training outside of the school).
2.3 Determine if all of the technology in the school is capable of hosting the selected delivery method.
2.3A If the technology does not, determine what would need to be done in order to support the selected delivery method.
2.3B Calculate costs associated with the potential changes.
- Determine timeframe, personnel and cost for creation and for implementation.
3.1Meet with administration to discuss how much time will be needed to develop the program.
3.1A Discuss who would need to be involved in the development phase.
3.1B Discuss what costs would be associated with the development phase.
3.1C Establish checkpoints for the development phase with administration to ensure tasks are being accomplished.
3.2 Meet with administration to discuss how much time will be needed to implement the program.
3.2A Discuss who would become a participant in the training.
3.2B Discuss what costs would be associated with the implementation of the program.
3.2C Set the dates for the ongoing professional development, and timeframe for whole professional development program.
- Break down each phase of the ongoing training and develop content.
4.1 Using the data collected from the survey, assign a topic for each training segment based on the timeframe established with the administration.
4.1ATopics at the beginning should also focus on the primary skills and knowledge essential to website development using Wix
4.2 Develop and collect materials that are vital to the training for each week
4.2A Create a series of discussion questions and formative assessments for each portion of the training
4.2B Develop and create an authentic summative assessment that will start at the beginning of the training, and worked on throughout the whole program.
4.3 Develop a facilitator guide
- Develop a system to determine the effectiveness of the training.
5.1Identify the main learning objectives from the training
5.1AReview course materials to find learning objectives
5.2Design three final surveys
5.2AOne survey for the participants about their impressions of the overall training
5.2BOne survey for the parents about the impact and success of the websites
5.2COne survey for the students about the impact and success of the websites
5.3Analyze and present the results
5.4Discuss and establish future plans for further professional development
The creation of professional development programs are typically a labor intensive process and are comprised of multi-layered components. Project plans are developed, “All work that is involved in the project is defined, documented, and managed through the project plan inclusive of all subsidiary plans. Each subsidiary management plan contains information that specifically relates to the respective knowledge area” (Cox, pp. 62). The Wix Website professional development for teaching staff has several elements coming together, which will result in a fluid training program for the participants. All of the steps and actions have been determined and organized into a logical sequence, and the execution of such steps and actions will begin shortly. Project execution is essential to the completion of the project, “execution involves carrying out the work outlined in the project plan. Project execution requires mobilizing all committed project resources and ensuring that these resources carry out their intended activities” (Cox, pp. 168). However, before the project execution begins, there are three components that must be explored and defined further:
- Budget – The budget is one of the many driving factors for the professional development. The district and/or the school can only allocate a portion of funds for professional development, therefore, it is essential to have a highly organized, detailed, and specific budget. The budget impacts all of the other components of the training.
- Quality Management – The purpose of this training is to provide the teaching staff with another communication tool for their classroom. Since the participants will be using highly valued school time to complete this training, it is vital that the professional development is of the highest quality. An ongoing quality management plan will need to be put in place to maintain a set of checks and balances regarding performance, input, output, and experience.
- Communication Plan – Effective communication is key to making sure the project steps and actions are carried out correctly in the execution phase, and it is also an integral part of the actual professional development. The selected communication program must be highly accessible, easy to use, and must allow for collaboration between groups.
**To view the budget, quality management, and communication plan templates, please download the full PDF.
Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills for instructional designers: a practical guide / Dorcas M. T. Cox.. Bloomington, Ind.: iUniverse Inc
Olmstead, C. (2013). Using Technology to Increase Parent Involvement in Schools. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 57(6), 28-37. doi:10.1007/s11528-013-0699-0
Click on the link below to download the full paper.