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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Most teachers using websites to help students


Before sophomore Andy Fang pulls out his math textbook each night to do his homework, he checks, his teacher PJ Yim’s website, to make sure he is completing the right section —and looks at the counter counting down the number of days until the semester final.

In our technology-dominant era, students have largely come to depend on the Internet for information. Following this trend, a rough count shows that 53 of the 71 teachers on campus have turned to posting links, notes and schedules online in some form.

Revamped about 18 months ago, the current Saratoga High website provides tools for making organized calendars and creating links to files and classes. Under each teacher’s name is his or her phone extension and a template to send an e-mail.

Most teachers utilize the school website, which seems convenient in spite of occasional file uploading problems. Some, however, find the school website limiting. Currently, only 11 of the 71 have their personal teaching sites linked to the school’s, and Yim is one of them.

“I like working with [a] new medium to communicate with my students, so I prefer the flexibility that my own website offers,” Yim said.

He pays $10 a year for the domain name, but the “real cost” came from time and energy spent for the initial set-up, maintenance and ways to include teaching tools.

“The cost, however, pays for itself when I am able to help others,” Yim said, “be it teachers, students, or simply acquaintances.”

Teachers were able to host their own sites before the school-wide website made its debut in recent years. Biology and chemistry teacher Kelly Nicholson, with the help of IT manager Julie Grenier, found a way to host her former page on the site.

For the past two years, Chinese teacher Mariam Fan has used both the school website and the free site Weebly to help her students. On the school page she posts general information about classes and events, while her Weebly site allows students to view and post assignments, projects and photos. Students also create their own portfolios for finished or revised work.

“I think it’s a great way to see the different talents of the students,” Fan said.

The usage of Google Docs this year in Chinese classes has also helped Fan view students’ revisions, which are then published to Weebly.

Chinese 4 Honors student sophomore Stephanie Tang agreed that it helps when teachers use a website. “It’s easier because you’re doing everything online, and people can help you,” she said.

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