Sunday, July 19, 2015

DigiLit Sunday: Have a Hub

When I first began taking steps toward digital literacy with my students I realized there were a few challenges; among them getting six year olds to a myriad of spaces.  When you are six typing in a URL can take a bit of time.  It was in these early days that I realized the need for a central location to make it easier to get to the places we needed to go.  It was then that I began to create, what I like to call, a "hub" for our classroom community.  In its first days, the hub made it possible for students to learn one link that would take them everywhere they needed to go.  It was possible for students to access this site from school or home.  It wasn't long until I realized there were other benefits to a hub in connecting our learning community to others.

Why Have a Hub
  • Centralize Links:  As a classroom community we use Kidblog, VoiceThread, Educreations, Shelfari and other sites for learning.  Knowing how to get to all of these sites can be challenging for young learners.  To help them to locate spaces without having to wander the internet, I found creating a hub to house our important links makes it easier for students to get places.  Additionally, families and other classrooms can easily locate the work we are doing around the internet.  
  • Build Connections:  Using a Twitter account (@DarbyCreekReads) to connect with other classrooms, I found having a hub helped other classrooms find out more about the work we are doing.  Additionally, during events like the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge, we have a common place to host our participation.  
  • Inform Parents:  The possibilities of the internet can make it nearly impossible for parents to keep up.  Locating spaces and finding information can be a challenge if it is housed around the internet.  By including a page specifically for parents I can keep parents informed of important information.  This page not only includes important updates, but also allows me to share links, embed Pinterest boards for parents, and share other useful information in one central location.  
Choosing a Host Site 
There are many sites available to host a class hub including Google Sites, Blogger, and Edublogs (more possibilities can be found in this post from Education Technology:  10 Excellent Platforms to Create Your Classroom Website).  When creating a hub, I chose to use Weebly (here's why).  Weebly combines flexibility and ease of use.  I'm able to create webpages around topics or common information.  

Here's a very informal tour of my Weebly hub:

Each Weebly site allows multiple pages.  In addition to creating webpages with fixed information and links, blog pages can also be added.  As a classroom teacher, I have found Weebly to be the perfect place to host our class blog.  Using the class blog for shared writing of posts with students in our community allows us to share important information about our learning, but it also provides opportunities to understand the decisions we make as writers of blogs.  In addition to a blog page, our Weebly hub often houses Symbaloo collections of links for learning, how-to videos created to help when similar questions continue to arise, links to other school accounts, and much more.  Having a hub is the first step in growing a community that easily extends beyond classroom walls.

Other Hubs I've Created:
Weekly allows you to host multiple sites under one account which has allowed me to create and host other hubs for centralizing learning conversations.  A few hubs include:


  1. Cathy, this is such an informative post. Thank you so much! Now you have me pondering Weebly!

  2. Our district encourages weebly! Very easy to use! Love it!

  3. Hi Cathy,

    This was such a timely post for me as I just blogged about my digital literacy plan, which included developing a professional website and portfolio to model how my graduate students could do the same for their own classrooms. Reading through your ideas and resources has made me realize that I do not have to 'go big' and buy a hosting plan, but can utilize the sites out there instead! Thank you!


  4. I LOVE Weebly and used it at my old school. My current school is a #GAFE school, so that is what I use now...