Nowaday’s, students are surrounded by technological devices in their everyday lives. Communication between teachers and their students has greatly improved since the creation of school websites and portals. The purpose of this blog article is to demonstrate that integrating a website or a content management system, such as a portal, into teaching practices is now almost substantial.
What is it ?
A school portal is a website which can be accessible by the school staff, the teachers, the students and the parents. The main goal of a school portal or website is to distribute information about the school and to facilitate the communication with the students and parents. Usually, on a school website, we can find the school’s rules, the adress and phone numbers, the school’s goals, programs and activities, important dates, etc. Most of the schools have their own websites and portals, but there are also some portals that can be found on the internet, such as Edmodo, Omnivox. Here are some pictures of school portals :
Brother Parker wrote an article in 2014 about the importance of content management systems and described them as «web-based or software applications that allow companies and educational institutions to deliver content and resources to their learners and manage their delivery.»
How an ESL teacher can use a portal for teaching practices :
First, with a school portal, teachers can usually send messages directly to their students and/or the parents so that they can communicate any time. Second, teachers can also put a calendar on it with important dates such as exams, assignements and pedagological days. Third, teachers can also put notes and documents about their classes. For example, an ESL teacher could post a document about specific verb tenses on the portal and asks his students to read it before class. An ESL teacher could also post the homework assignements on the portal of his class. Moreover, teachers can also put results of exercises and exams on the portal so that students and the parents can consult them. For the home taken assignements, the teacher can create a specific file with a due date and in which students have to post their work. Last but not the least, with almost every content managing systems, it is possible to create not only a class forum but also a private forum for each students. On the class forum, students can interact together and share their knowledge about the class. On the private forum, the student and the teacher can exchange privately and send documents to each other.
The advantages of using a content management system into teaching practices :
There are many advantages for teachers to use a content management system. First, as mentioned in an article by Foradian, it saves a great deal of time. When the students have questions, they can always look on their portal and on their documents given by the teacher. Second, in the same article, the author mentions that it is easy to customize all the documents because « all the learning materials are uploaded in a central location, it allows learners and teachers to upload new content or modify the existing ones ». Third, since the results of each students are online, it is easier to follow the progress of the learners. Using a content management system also has a positive impact on the environement because it allows students to have online materials instead of printing them. Brother Parker implies that using this kind of system offers a centralized source of learning and is available everywhere and at any given time.