In addition to the obvious uses to pupils and
yourself shown in the
Using the internet, a history web of your own can also do the following:
- You may never have considered a web
site of your own. Most schools/colleges should now have space on the
school web site for departmental material. As there are many advantages
to having a site you should make use of this.
- If your school/college does not have
any place for you, then you should consider making some of your own.
- Even if your school/college does
have a site, constructing one of your own will probably give you more
control: allow you more easily to work on it from home; give you
editorial control; allow you to "take it away with you" if you should
move on ....
How to build it?
Provide an identity to your department
or area. This can then become a familiar
'port of call' for your students where you can post up
search engines, sites of your choice and other features such
notices, pictures of trips. Before long you have your own
little history web .......
Whitchurch High School, an IB school in Cardiff, Wales where
this history site is part of the whole school site and has a good
"family" feel to it!
Publish documents to colleagues that
contain many links to useful information.
It is often more useful to
publish as a web page than a document: the included links
are then much more accessible eg: a school working
group document for departments to access easily. This is on producing a Gifted & Talented Policy
the rest of this
page gives you hints from my experience at casahistoria
for updates and current topic news
2. The big questions to answer before you start:
your site be hosted?
Which software to
use to build?
- If this is a school/college site this means it will be free,
but access may only be in school time (This may be restrictive for you to amend
the site and for students to access)
Do you want a special
- Your school/college may use a
programme that you will need to use if you are hosted there.
Otherwise you can go for the professional software like
Dreamweaver. This will give the best effect but needs time to
- Microsoft Expressions is not quite
so complex as Dreamweaver but allows for expansion as your
skills grow. Like Dreamweaver this has easy to use templates to
get you started. All of
casahistoria has been designed using Microsoft Expressions.
- Major web hosts offer simple
web-based programmes for basic sites. These are straightforward
but you will find them limited as your site grows.
- like myhistorysite and an
easy to remember address eg myhistorysite.com? If so you
can register a name for about $15-$20 £9-£15 a year (or less!!)
and use it as your web address. This will help give a
distinctive air to your site....
- Make sure your name is easily
transferable to another address in case you move your webspace.
- Companies like
provide all of the above - and software to design the site if you don't
have any - for $4 US upwards a month. This is better than using free ISP
webspace because if you move ISP you lose that site....
Copyright Crash Course To let you know what can be "borrowed" and what cannot...Georgia Harper,
General Counsel, University of Texas. This user-friendly, approachable
site offers a crash course in copyright law and its implications. The
crash course tutorial was designed to help faculty "learn Copyright
basics, especially in the distance learning context," and includes a
test to assess copyright knowledge. Harper covers fair use and ownership
specifics as well as details on creating multimedia, copyright in the
digital library, copyright management, licensing resources, and online
for updates and current topic news
3. The little questions:
Identify the purpose of
your web site
Create a site identity
To provide web resources for your
To set tasks to your students (either
to use web resources or as 'distanced learning') ?
To post up revision exercises?
To display work exemplars?
To give your Department an identity?
Know your clients
get an individual name
use a common style
devise a logo
(Microsoft Office clipart is a good place for copyright free
use the same colour/font theme
Know the key web link sites
- Many sites are not appropriate. If
you include such sites, your students will not want to use your site
in the future
Provide a "hook" to get the site known and
- This will save you valuable search
Update frequently & Include a counter
- Set specific tasks
on your site
- You can put images
from a trip or visit
on the pages (but remember to safeguard pupil anonymity)
include update information and a
counter. This does not need to be
public, but you need to see how the site is being used.
Remember the key technical points
- not just to design, but also to
maintain the site
- Make your site visually
- Make navigation easy, and include
plenty return links.
- avoid the temptation to make a
page too image rich and busy.
- Avoid using images that move....
- Keep it simple. If need be, start
a new page if there is a lot of information.
for updates and current topic news
4. Technical tips
Some bits & bobs to add
to your web page. All are free....
Site counters You need
counters to know who is using your site and when.
is the counter presently used on casahistoria. Stats are monthly,
weekly, daily, real time. Allows to see who is on a site at any
given time and where they have come from. Prices are from $9.95 monthly
for 10 pages. (there is also a free page service, but has ads).
Always useful - and it makes
the site look more professional.
This is my current favourite. Paste a few lines on each page and
have a site search for your site in a tabbed format. this appears
first in view. Other tabs allow the user to look at results for the
web, wiki, blogs or images related to the search term. Free for
education, works well across casahistoria.
The basic version is free for educational
use. Relatively easy to set up and place on all your pages. They
will send you your results each week so you can see what people are
looking for. The ads are discreet.
Public Service Search
will also provide search boxes to paste on your
Being indexed (eg by Google) If you want
others to use your site how do they find out about it?
Finding lost (and dead) links
Statcounter provides free
analysis of your overall site. This lets you see who is using your site
in real time (ie who is using it at the moment and where they came from.)
Mesmerising. For example the counters on casahistoria
tell me that Saturday is the least popular day (everyone parties)
whilst Sunday night sees heavy use (last minute use for handing in
work on Monday).
Ideally each page should have the links (called code) to both
Statcounter and an
individual page counter as explained next.
provides free individual page counters and lets you analyse your pages easily.
The best free site for large sites but it now sends pop up ads
after the first page is accessed) for records of individual pages.
Casahistoria no longer uses Motigo for this reason.
Wayback machine is an amazing site. This has archived the
web for over 6 years. If a really valuable link is now dead,
type the address into their search box and usually you will have
that site back again. Weird - I can see the archived first
editions of casahistoria from 1999.....
- Checking an existing page of links
can be laborious. Two add-ons that make this easier are:
Link Evaluator This is a Firefox add-on that checks all
the links on a page: active ones are highlighted in green,
dead ones in red. (The red ones can they be entered in
Wayback to get an archived link that still works)
SnapShots Until recently you might have noticed that moving your mouse
over a casahistoria link provides a thumbnail image of the
linked site. This makes it easier for users to see if the
link is actually what they want. It also helps you to check
that the link is still live. (especially as Link Evaluator
will give a green "light" to a site where an error page
exists instead - nothing is perfect....)
suspect it also slows down loading of the page so I have
removed it pro temps from the main pages.
Images Images add
colour to your site but remember:
- Include an email address somewhere
so that visitors can contact you. This may be about a dead link.
It may be another webmaster telling you their links are changed.
It could be visitor with a general question. I have been
getting quite a few requests recently to @casahistoria in
response to the emigration pages: "can casahistoria suggest
sites to help with the study of emigration from ...." You need a
separate mailbox for this - and to look at it on a regular
- Make the images small in size
(ideally about 5-10k). Otherwise the page will take ages to
- It is now very easy to find
appropriate images: use Google images search
- Wherever possible name the image
source or (often easier) link the image back to its original
source. Images usually are copyright.
moving images (usually in gif format) may look clever but the
movement will annoy your visitors - as you can see from the
image alongside - this is why you should resist having too many
animations on your pages! Ideally no more than one should be
visible at one time, and then time limit it so that it stops
quickly. Otherwise it will distract and annoy visitors. they
will not come back. Even professional sites suffer from this. If
you do need animations, Microsoft office clipart has plenty but
the Animation Factory
has some of the better designs (but no longer for free!)
your site has taken off you can begin to think about ads.
is the best known. Payment is everytime an ad is clicked (it
varies depending on the ad) and the ads are miraculously
selected by the software to approximate with the content of your
page. You won't get rich off a history site, but once you reach
a critical mass, expenses will be covered
- Don't get carried away by the 'free'
add-ons. Many 'free' tools on the web come loaded with spyware
and other nasties. What I recommend on this page should not.
- In any case, before you start
serious web building and link hunting, install a spyware
programme as well as your anti-virus and firewall.
AdAware is recommended by many magazine pundits and comes
as a free programme.
and after all
for updates and current topic news
5. Useful sites for adding links to your
looking at sites for your own web, the key sections of other sites
are their pages on 'other links'. This is a quick way to see what is
available and select what you want.
- Using a
Google search is very laborious and wasteful. The links on the
casahistoria Searches page should be a
useful resource to you. You can access them by clicking below:
places to start finding links
'history' magazine type sites
'history' interest link sites
History websites by
and for schools
And if you are not a History teacher? A good
place to start is with general educational sites like:
Don't forget your exam board or organisation. They usually provide
basic web links which you can use as a starter for your site based
on the course you teach.
If you teach the International Baccalaureate or any of the
post 2008 England & Wales GCE syllabuses you can click on your Board
below to get a pdf copy of the syllabus indicating precisely where
casahistoria sites are available for you to link to.
Happy constructing. But
remember, once started,
it is like building and painting the
(unfortunately, unlike the bridge
today, maintenance is still needed)
and if you want to see how this particular
looked just after it started in 1999, click
The site address then was the snappy
teachers websites Part of the UK National Grid for Learning.
sites - Useful educational sites for Primary and Secondary
teachers, pupils and parents. Organised by subject area.
Learning on the web This is a store of web sites and
resources. Use it to see what is possible, but more importantly
More Links section has a huge number of valuable links
- However a little time on Google will
provide you with some sites that provide general links to your
Teaching with the Web for Language teaching
BBC Schools has a
huge educational site aimed at all ages. These will take you to
the 11-18 sites. They are of a very high quality. For older
users see also BBC