As my last blog post mentioned, I made a website called Bavardons, which means “Let’s Chat” in French. I thought it would be kind of interesting to explain my thought process on my goal for the site and how I put it together.
Firstly, I made this website to give those who are learning French the tools to help them along their journey. These tools that I provide through the site are mostly links to things that I have found helpful on my own journey. I believe you’re never done learning anything and that the best kind of learning is collaborative so I wanted to have a place on the site where users can interact with each other and share what they find helpful with other learners. I included a forum where all users can simply talk about their day in French with other French speakers or where they can ask a grammar question for their French class. I wanted to allow students to learn from other students, to allow teachers to become the student.
In a way, I wanted to democratize learning a little bit. Anyone can teach and everyone should have access to resources that will guide them through the big, scary world of education. So-called “experts” who hold all the knowledge shouldn’t always be the one in charge of who has access to that knowledge. Lawrence Lessig talks about the power of public domain and the access to music. Make something free, and people will follow. If you’re a college student, you know the struggle every time a new semester starts and all of your professors assign $200 textbooks that they wrote and won’t let you buy the old edition for a quarter of the price. You also probably know that feeling when you find a PDF version of the text for free online:
It’s the best.
Should a student be penalized for saving 100 bucks when they can barely get tuition in on time? I don’t believe so. So take the middle man out and give the educational power to the hands of the students.
I also created a section of the site aimed specifically for teachers who want to provide more effective and closer to real-life activities for their students. The forum would be a place to talk to each other as well as to talk to students to observe some common problems or needs that they can address in their own classrooms.
When creating the rest of the pages, I wanted to inform my users about the site itself as well as entice those who are just curious about learning French to dive in. To be able to do this, I had to create a hypertext to give my site credibility, to make it clear that I wasn’t just making things up. So, on my “Why French” page I linked to the French Foreign Ministry’s website to show that my numbers come from a source that is reliable. For my resource pages, I linked to Pinterest for a couple reasons:
- To provide another resource other than my site.
- To show that teacher collaboration leads to great ideas in the classroom.
So there you have it! My thought process on creating my first website of my very own.