Picking a Web Resource for Your Class

There are so many new web resources made available to teachers and students everyday that it is impossible to even try to use all of them in a classroom. There so many options available to the teacher that wants to integrate technology into his or her classroom that we must devise criteria for choosing which web resources we are actually going to introduce to students. There are four requirements for any web resource that I introduce to students.

1. Any web resource that I introduce to students must help the students meet the objectives of my curriculum. This may seem obvious, but it’s an important consideration for a technology junky like me. Often I get excited about a new web resource and think it will be a fun and exciting new tool for my students, but I have to slow down and ask myself, “will this help my students meet the objectives of the curriculum?” If the answer is no then, as much as I might not want to, I have to move on to something else.

2. Cross-browser functionality. Any web resource that I introduce to students needs to look and function the same regardless of the web browser that my students use. Today, most new websites do perform the same across all web browsers, but occasionally I do run across a new site that doesn’t meet this standard.

3. Long-term stability and reliability. If a new web resource is still in the beta phase of development I tend to do quite a bit of research in the tech blog-o-sphere to try to get a sense of how stable the company is and the likelihood of it emerging from beta to become a stable product. This is an important consideration because I don’t want to introduce a web resource to my students only to have it either disappear or completely change in six months.

4. Advertisement placement and advertisement content. The producers of many free web resources rely on advertising revenue to stay in business. I don’t have a problem with advertising per se, but I won’t use a website with students if there is poorly placed advertising or potentially offensive advertising. Poorly placed advertising is advertising that distracts students from the utility of a website. Examples of this could be advertising that is above “the jump” or “the fold,” advertising that is inserted into the text of page, or pop-up advertising. Websites that have advertisements with potentially objectionable content do not get used in my classroom.

Those are my basic requirements for any web resource that I introduce to my students. What are your requirements for a web resource to meet in order to be introduced to your students?


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!