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Topic: Getting to the First Web Page...


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Subject:   Getting to the First Web Page...
Author: tackweed
Date: Aug 17 2004
As ToolFest O4 drew to a close, enthusiasm was high and many ideas were
generated to share MathTools. Enthusiasm is the result of seeing and trying the
multiple tools and resources available. Growth in this area will probably be
exponential.

Not discussed were the stumbling blocks to wider adoption and use of MathTools
and other on-line resources for those educators who are not current users of
technology. The most prevalent appears to be time.  Teachers feel they have too
little time to learn and implement these choices. Second is too little
training.. Next is too little hardware - too few computers, calculators,
projectors, Smartboards, etc. Money for software is in short supply.

None of these are new to the implementation of technologies in education.
However, there is one other obstacle that hinders the use of on-line resources
for many.  That obstacle is web pages.

A teacher web page is essential to using on-line resources. The web page
provides the links for students, parents and teachers to the tools. The web page
can introduce the tool and relate it to the topic at hand. Some tools can be
included in the web page (JavaScripts, Flash); others are linked directly (Java
Applets, separate documents, and lesson authoring tools like TADRIOLA.)

There are many programs for preparing web pages. Most have steep learning
curves, work better with intensive workshops and require a process of
development to come up with essentially a static page. Most are not user
friendly when it comes time to install a script or a Flash movie. They cost
money. The results are often code-heavy and are not easily revised. Upload
issues from within these programs can create problems (FTP.)

Finding or developing a simple method to develop and upload web pages could
provide the impetus for getting more teachers to have their information and tool
access on-line for their students and parents. This would require a tool for
preparing the page and a procedure and/or checklist for posting the page. These
checklists could be included in the program or be available as a web page
itself. Items to be considered could include:

<ul>
<li>Obtain a web page address and password from the district tech
department
<li>Ask if the tech department has a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program
installed on your computer
<li>Directions on how to upload a file using FTP
<li>Start your assignment page using the basic program.
</ul>
<ul>Basic Web Page Program Parameters (essentially a template)
<li>Heading section - class name/address/contact details/Colors?
<li>Date and text window foe each day of the week
<li>Default paragraph format for text box
<li.>button and window to insert page link
<li>button and window to insert JavaScript
<li>Button and window to insert Flash Movie(If appropriate)
<li>save page/save as web page button
</ul>

District needs are different. I am going to try to incorporate these ideas into
a program for this fall. However, I would appreciate input as to what I might be
missing, or the names of freeware web-writing programs that might do the above
in a straightforward fashion. My primary goal is to get teachers to post their
own pages. Once they have success at this they can pursue more options with a
degree of understanding.  It's the first step that is the hardest.  

Thanks for your input.  

Jeff LeMieux

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