Face of Your Classroom

Introduction

The Face of Your Classroom is a unique online workspace used by educators for posting content and interacting with a target audience. Creating the Face of the Classroom is one of the first steps in transforming your classroom to online learning.  

This Thing will explore options for creating an online presence, including a Learning Management System (LMS), web site, or other options (blogs, wikis, social media, interactive and collaborative sites, or paid services). 

Start with the End in Mind.  Your end goal is to create online learning experiences for students, post and share content, and communicate and collaborate.  Begin by visiting the 21things4 Getting Started with Online Learning. Take a few moments to review all pages of the infographic, paying particular attention to Steps 1-5 which is where we will begin: 

  1. Choose a platform
  2. Create the Face of Your Classroom
  3. Organize Your Online Classroom
  4. Create Lesson Objectives
  5. Introduce Yourself

The Face of Your Classroom

The Face of Your Classroom (FOTC) Thing looks at a variety of resources for educators to use in creating a web presence for the purposes of sharing information with your target audience. Although you may not have a “classroom”, consider this online presence as a workspace to meet the needs of a target audience. This might include your classroom, students, parents, or other professionals you work with (faculty or staff) in your role as an administrator or other educator.

There are a variety of ways that educators can post content online.  Options for creating a Face of Your Classroom may include using a learning management system, web site, or other online tool or platform. We will focus on FREE tools, but there may be others available to you within your organization.  

There are three categories for the Face of Your Classroom. We will begin by exploring the tools, features, and functionality of each category:

  1. Learning Management System
  2. Web Site
  3. Other Online Presence Options (blogs, wikis, interactive collaborative sites, social media, or paid services).

Features & Functionality

When thinking about your platform, ask yourself about features and functionality: 

  • Do you need a gradebook? 
  • Do you need a place for discussion?
  • Do you want to allow your participants to post and share content? 
  • Do you want your target audience to use a login?
  • face of your classroom diagram


  • Let's Review our options 

    Learning Management Systems learning management systems diagram

    Your first option would be to create a course or group within a Learning Management System (LMS) where you post your syllabus, assignments, discussions, materials, and assessments. They come with a gradebook, and in some cases, the LMS can be connected to your student information system’s gradebook. There are several FREE options in this category, including Schoology, Moodle, BlackBoard (Course sites),  Apple Classroom, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365’s Classroom Notebook/One Note.  

    Websites, Blogs, Wikis web site creators diagram

    There are also plenty of additional options to get started creating an online presence but may not connect to a gradebook.  A simple way to get started is by creating a website to post content. Although not as robust as using an LMS, these options allow you to post content for your students/stakeholders to access online.

    To quickly grab a space on the web, use the simple drag and drop functionality of Google Sites or Weebly. You can add images, embed interactives and video, and organize your website using a variety of themes and templates.

    A blog or wiki is really just a website with some added functionality, allowing you to post and interact in an engaging way.  In the case of a blog, you can enable comments so your audience can engage in dialogue around your post and you can moderate (approve) comments. Wikis allow you to give your audience the rights to post/add content to the shared resources. Some great blogging tools include Edublogs, WordPress, and Blogger. For Wikis, consider PBWiki, SlimWiki, MediaWiki, or Tiki.  

    Social Media or Interactive Websites

    In some organizations, the use of social media (like a FaceBook Group) or another type of collaborative tool (e.g. SeeSaw) are used to engage the target audience in content. These are limited in that they are used to share information and gather comments, but do not connect to a gradebook or defined workspace. The organization can often be difficult to navigate.

    Other Online Presences  blogs and wikis diagram

    Finally, if your building has purchased a system, you may not need to use the FREE tools listed here.  Check with your district leadership to see if you have a workspace within a paid platform. You may be creating a page on the school website, or adding assignments or assessments in an interactive student platform. 

    These all are wonderful ways to create an online presence for your target audience. No matter which tool you use, educators need to have a web presence to share and communicate information related to their professional job.

Choosing a Platform

These resources vary in complexity, so it helps to investigate the different platform(s). Find out what is available to you and what may not be supported by your district. Start by checking with your district technology coordinator or educational service agency website to find out what may be available for you. Some districts provide an Edublogs or a PB Wiki package, some may have online publishing or learning management system, and some may provide a District Online System which you can use for your Face of the Classroom site. If they don't provide any of these, never fear, the tools listed are all FREE and very easy to use.

For a deeper dive into the tools, features, and functionality, select a category:

  1. Learning Management System
  2. Web Site
  3. Other (blogs, wikis, interactive collaborative sites, social media, or paid services)
Move onto Connecting in Face of Your Classroom