Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Digital Immersion: Create to Learn & Effective Site Layout

Create to Learn

'Create' is a vital part of Manaiakalani's learning cycle.  Creativity has a significant place in all classrooms, irrespective of the learners age and capabilities.  It allows learners to demonstrate their learning in ways that align with their strengths and interests. Gone are the days of dull, non-autonomous summative tasks!  In Manaiakalani schools, learners demonstrate and consolidate their learning by creating a Digital Learning Object (DLO). 

Learning about the importance of 'Create to Learn' got me thinking about my current teaching practice.  Am I creating to learn or learning to create? Are my 'create' tasks helping to consolidate my learners learning? Or is the focus more on the tools they are using? These are important questions to reflect on, so I can be certain that my lessons allow my learners to embrace their creativity and express their understandings in a way which best suits their needs, interests and strengths.

Effective Site Layout

After learning about 'Create to Learn' we moved examined the principles of effective site layout.  After discussing the ten principles, we examined 10 class sites from around New Zealand.  We had to think critically about whether or not the sites were effectively designed by rating them against the 10 principles and justifying our reasoning for our ratings. 

Click on this screenshot to explore Learning Space 2's site.
Critiquing the exemplar class sites got me thinking about how Learning Space 2's class site compares to the 10 principles of effective site layout.  Robyn, Kiri and I worked hard to collaboratively create a class site which meets each of the criteria for effective web design. 

Here are a few things that I believe demonstrates that LS2's site meets the principles of effective site layout:

  • Each page is uniform and simplistic, creating a sense of cohesion amongst the teachers and their groups.  At a glance, you will notice that all teacher pages look the same which is our intention.  We did this because  a. we wanted the three of us to be seen as one, and b. we didn't want our learners to feel as though one teacher was doing something that was better/easier/harder etc. 
  • Our use 'wee mee' avatars is a great visual prompt that focuses our learners attention.  Our learners know that clicking on their teachers face will take them directly to their tasks. 
  • Get to where you need to be within 3 clicks.  This has proven to be extremely effective for our learners, as they can find their work easily without getting lost or confused.  
  • Our class site is 'accessible to all'.  All our tumbles, tasks and resources need to be visible to anybody with the link.  It is beneficial for learners as it ensures their learning is 'rewindable', as they can go back to the learning at any time.  Moreover, it is beneficial for whanau as they can see what their child is learning.

In term 2 I will be in charge of creating a site for our inquiry unit.  I look forward to applying what I have learnt about effective site layout to create a site which fits the 10 principles.


  1. I enjoyed reading this post Chelsea. I totally agree our LS2 site does meet many of the principles of effective site layout. The collaborative contribution affords us all a sense of ownership, and the cohesive style and layout across the pages has helped our learners see us as one. Our site is inclusive of all learners regardless of ability and all teachers regardless of their own time travelled along the teaching journey. Learn create share is what we are about and the visible links to all our planning and tasks not only keep our learners and their families informed, but also welcome collegial sharing on a wider scale. Look forward to using the page you create next term.

    1. Thanks Robyn :) I think we did a great job on our LS2 site! You are right, our accessible to all is also great as it allows us to share our work to a much wider audience.

  2. Hi Chelsea,

    I like the points you made about your class site , it was great to hear the reasoning behind what you have done and to view an example of an effective site!


  3. Hi Chelsea (and Robyn),
    I am very pleased that you took the time to reflect on your own site after our session. I do agree that your learning environment is well thought out and reflective of modern design principals. I look forward to seeing how this develops as the year progresses and you challenge yourself implementing the skills you are learning.



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