Empowering Student Learning
with Web Publishing

by Tammy Payton

This article appears on the following web site: Franklin Institute Science Museum.

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As more and more students begin using the Internet with the classroom curriculum, many educators are challenged with teaching students how to critically evaluate the content that they are reading. What better way for students to gain an understanding on what determines good content and style, than by becoming an editor of their own web pages? Students' learning is dramatically enhanced when they are actively involved with their learning.

Tell me and I'll forget.

Show me, and I may not remember.

Involve me, and I'll understand.

Native American Saying

Getting started...

One of the first steps you should take before publishing information written by your students is to get written permission from your students and their parents for posting their work on line. Even though your students and their parents have signed the Acceptable Use Policy adopted by your corporation, it is another thing to publish students' work on the Internet. Anytime you post written or drawn work created by a students, you need both the students and the parents' permission to post that work on the Internet.

Because most students are younger than the legal independent age, you need to acquire parent's permission as well as student's permission to publish personal information or projects. Some parents are reluctant to have their child's personal picture and written or drawn projects posted on the Internet. You can assure parents and students that the information being posted will be done in such a way that the student's privacy will be protected. Here are some guidelines to use when posting student work:

Explain the permission form for publishing student work on the Internet during Open House, Parent-Teacher conference, or when they register for school. Share with the parents the safety steps that you'll be taking to ensure their child's privacy. You can find an example of a student permission form to publish on the following web page:

||| Student Permission to Publish |||

For additional examples of getting student permission to publish, visit these web pages which show the AUPs adopted by the Montgomery County Schools in Montgomery County, Virginia:

AUP for Grades 2-5
AUP for Grades 6-12

Policy for Publishing Material on the World Wide Web


Developing their project...

Although the Internet is a wonderful tool that can deliver interactive and dynamic information, it is common to find projects being published by students and teachers that are static and non-interactive. Information that is published by students should offer interaction with the participants visiting their published information. By offering information that is interactive, their web activity will be richer in content and will tap into some of the true wonder of the Internet, which is a medium that is most successful when the user can interact with it. 

Information published

by students should be

dynamic and interactive.

The American Library Association has written a book called
Information Power which states nine information literacy standards for student learning. By teaching students how to develop dynamic, interactive information, your students will be developing their literacy standards by learning how to become independent learners as well as developing their social responsibility through the sharing of information with the Internet users. These standards can be found on American Library Association's web site at

Rather than having your students post an art gallery of pictures they drew about a thematic unit that they've done, have your students create a quiz about the information that they have learned and share this information on the Internet. This can be done in the form of multiple choice quizzes. Follow these steps for developing your own classroom quiz:

  1. Begin by brainstorming with your students what they have learned about the unit of study. Post these facts on large butcher paper or chalkboard. This collection of facts can be an ongoing activity while the unit of study is progressing. At the conclusion of this unit, have each fact transposed onto large note cards.

  2. Divide your class into teams of students and assign each team one of the facts that they have learned.

  3. Each team must rewrite the statement of the fact into a question.

  4. Each team should come up with two to four multiple choice answers that they will post as choices for answers. Encourage the students to include answers that will require visitors to think about their choices.

  5. Have each team write tips for finding the correct answer if the visitor made the wrong choice.

  6. Have each team illustrate or find an illustration of their fact.

Examples of this format can be seen on the following web pages:

Emu Quiz

Abraham Lincoln



Flag Quiz

Here are additional examples of sites to visit that show student publishing with dynamic content:

Think Quest Junior: a Library of Winners

Cyberfair Winners

Publishing their project...

Now the fun can begin! Before they begin publishing their information, students should discuss and create a template for their project. There are many reasons why a template should be used:

  1. When repeated graphics are used, the download time for each web page is reduced. Visitors won't stick around waiting for a large bandwidth graphic to download for each new web page. Once a graphic has been downloaded completely, it will not have to be downloaded again for the remaining pages on which it appears.

  2. A template offers an aesthetically pleasing presentation of information.

  3. Navigational links will be placed at the same place on each page which will offer easy access for the visitors.

Elements to include in the template are:

  1. Background color or image

  2. Text and hyperlink colors that can be easily read against the chosen background

  3. Banner or heading that identifies their activity

  4. Three navigational buttons that will be used throughout the activity for going back one page, advancing to the next page, and going back to the home page

Have your group of students choose an animation that represents this project. This can be used in their project on the home page and on the web pages that contain the correct answer to their quiz. Students love to add many graphics to their web pages, but they must learn that by choosing and using graphics selectively, their download time will be greatly improved. When graphics are inserted into the web pages, be sure that a text alternative is added to that image. Reduce the size of the pictures the students have drawn to two inches. If you want, you can link that image to a larger image so that visitors have the option of seeing a larger picture.

FILE2.GIF (3406 bytes)The home page for this project should be named index.html while the remaining pages can have a simple numbering name such as 1.html, 1a.html, 1b.html, 1c.html, 2.html, 2a.html, 2b.html, 2c.html, and so on. An example of how the files were named for the flag quiz can be seen in the graphic on the left. You can click on this graphic to see an enlarged image of this file. It is helpful to create a separate folder for graphics, too.

The home page should be an introduction to their activity and state what your class intends for the visitor to do. Credibility for their project can be established on the home page by including a contact person and an e-mail address where visitors can respond. The contact person should be the instructor and not the students. Visitors should be able to see when you created and last updated the files. The name of the school and where you are located should be included. Use the navigational button that you chose as your home link and point to your school's home page. Finally, include a link to a bibliography page which lists the resources that your students used to collect the information for their project.

The navigational links on each of the quiz pages should offer the visitor the choice of returning to the previous question, advancing to the next question, or returning to the home page of that activity. Once the project is completed, test the links to make sure that they will take the visitor to the correct page.

You can find additional help for publishing your web pages by visiting this tutorial using FrontPage© Editor found at:

Tutorial for Creating Web Pages using FrontPage© Editor

For additional tips for integrating the Internet into the classroom curriculum, visit these web pages at:

Integrating the Internet into the Classroom Curriculum

Assessing their project...

Now that your students have an understanding of what is involved with web publishing, have them choose an appropriate age level rubric and assess their project:

Web Evaluation for Primary Grades

Web Evaluation for Intermediate Grades

Web Evaluation for Secondary Grades

As your students are looking at and critiquing other web sites, they will be able to incorporate different ideas and layouts that they see into their own. They will better understand the concept of the Internet and how it can be helpful to their studies when they are actively involved in adding to its resources. Involving your students by publishing information on the Internet will empower their learning.


FI.GIF (9748 bytes)

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last updated February 20, 1999 *-* pages created December 6, 1998
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