Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Classtell Brings Easy to Build and Use WebSites To Teachers

I was somewhat shocked to hear that my 13 year old nephew was required - REQUIRED - to build a social media page for class. It was on a special site, not FaceBook or MySpace, but it still surprised me. And then I began to see the sense of it -- a way to keep in touch with class activities, homework, and the like.

It still bugged me a little because of the potential predator aspect, but the site is password protected, and I guess I just have to face the reality that he is out in the real cyberworld now. Naturally that will be very good for him given the way the world is going, and he's a sensible lad, so the danger is remote. But I definitely feel for the fears of parents today.

So I wanted to tell you about a special web service that a Canadian company has developed for teachers called Classtell. The idea is to make it easy for teachers to develop a web presence that could organize information and communicate to students and parents.

The need is real. Presumably it means no more notes pinned to jackets, and greater communication with parents and kids alike.

Here's how they pitch themselves to educators:

Classtell was created because the options available to teachers for making websites weren't good enough.

Find out how Classtell is better:

Your time is precious. So every aspect of Classtell has been designed to be intuitive and efficient. This means you get to do everything, from setting up your site to updating it, as quickly as possible.

Your Classtell site can be accessed via an easy-to-remember address (e.g. Or, your students can find your site by searching for your name. And once they've found it, they can subscribe to your site to be notified of any changes via RSS.

You can create an unlimited number of pages on your Classtell website. These pages can used for assignments, calendars, blogs, and more.

You also have one gigabyte (1GB) of storage space on your Classtell account to upload and share files, handouts and photos with your class.

You can use one of the beautiful, professionally-designed themes to change the appearance of your site.

If you ever run into any problems with your Classtell site, or need help with a feature, send us an email and we'll get back to you in about 24 hours. We're happy to help.

Don't just take our word for it — give Classtell a free 90-day test drive and see for yourself.

I am impressed that they have developed such an easy to use set of site builder tools. Teaching is no 9 to 5, and making it easy to use is absolutely critical for both adoption and continued use.

Here are a few screens of what a site can look like:

Presumably they have a number of other templates as well, but I like it that they focused FIRST on usability. Better design can come later as well.

The tool for building and populating a site with content is also very easy and efficient:

Pricing is very reasonable as well, which is a good thing because for American teachers at least, I'm guessing they will be forking over themselves. Districts that can't afford books won't be buying websites.

Anyway. The cost is $20 Canadian per year, which buys the tools, the url, and 1 gig of storage. I'm guessing that space limit will be going up in future so teachers don't have to constantly be deleting old docs to make room for new.

Sorry, marketers, this is an ad free environment. Which I am sure will make teachers and parents feel even better about it.

It's a nice platform, and I am guessing it will become quite popular.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to write.

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