With the multitude of web resources available, it has become much easier to make classroom content available to our students. The challenge, however, is how best to provide access to appropriate websites; sometimes it just helps to pre-select resources and web sites for students to use. This issue can be addressed by using Wix (www.wix.com)—a tool that helps you incorporate HTML web content. Using Web 2.0 tools also builds on the skills of the plugged-in generation of students currently in our schools. S.M. Sweeney emphasized that the way youth today read, write, and communicate is continuously being changed by modern information and communication technologies—they live in an environment where they are able to stay connected and communicate with each other constantly. “Their writing uses the mediums of instant messaging (IM), text messaging (texting), Twitter, and email, as well as shared electronic documents and postings on blogs and social networking sites.” Similarly, J.S. Blanchard and A.E. Farstrup emphasized that “today’s children are the most technologically experienced generation ever to walk through the doors of our schools and into our classrooms for reading instruction.”
Wix is a medium that appeals to this new generation of technology users. The Wix site uses a drag/drop, click/point approach to guide the user through website development. Designers may select from numerous predesigned templates or simply create a template from scratch. It is then easy to edit, add, and/or delete any components that might be included on the page, such as menu titles, new pages, transitions, pictures, clip art, music, and video. You can also make information available to download in several file formats including Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word.
There are numerous ways to use Wix in the classroom, so be creative (e.g. personal webpages, professional information, or general information for classes). One way we’ve seen Wix used successfully is in the creation of inquiry projects. "The Freshwater Swamp Tour" inquiry project, created by Cindy Wallace, guided her high school students through a tour of Louisiana swamps. Once completed, their task was to use Microsoft Publisher to create a flyer featuring a real estate ad designed to sell the swamp. The flyers were shared via a Wix website.
"Historical Places to Visit" was created for Kim Bailey’s third grade class. After her students finished their exploration of historical sites, they were tasked with using Wix to create a virtual storybook illustrating what they learned. Below is one example of the storybooks they created.
Wix is so user friendly that it is possible to create a web site in a few hours or less. Wix is also free, which means it offers endless possibilities for augmenting more traditional textbook and paper/pencil activities by integrating new literacies within your classroom instruction. Take time to Wix today!
Elizabeth Manning is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership in the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University. A veteran K-8 teacher of 23 years, her areas of interest include content area literacy, writing workshop, and curriculum design and development. Dr. Manning can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carrice Cummins is a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership in the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University. She has 37 years’ experience as an educator with primary areas of interest in comprehension, content area literacy, and teacher development. She served as the 2012-13 president of the International Reading Association. She can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Kimberly Kimbell-Lopez is a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership in the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University. She has been an educator for over 25 years, and her areas of expertise include literacy and technology. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).