A Graphical Web Site Design Tool

There is power in building your own web pages. You can create sites on any topic you wish, add links to other sites you find useful, incorporate graphics, sounds and movies, and craft elegant interactive documents that can be seen anywhere in the world.

Students can create their own web sites to be seen by other students or by the world at large. Topics can range from reports on historical research to galleries of children’s artwork and other academic topics limited only by the imagination. Student web sites can serve as portfolios of student projects used as part of the long-term record of student achievement.

Student Sample Digital Portfolio

NVU is a great free open source tool for web authoring. This program can be used for everything from building simple web pages to constructing and maintaining entire web sites incorporating features like the arbitrary positioning of text and graphics. NVU is a perfect replacement for commercial web authoring tools.

When launched, NVU displays a blank screen with a toolbar near the top to facilitate building your page.

As you build your page, it appears on the screen largely as it will look when others access it from the web. Graphics, links, and other elements of a finished web page are displayed.

When you finish building your page, NVU lets you post it and any associated files to your web site without needing to use a separate program.

NVU is rich with features designed to facilitate the building and posting of state of the art web sites.

From an educator’s perspective, you may want to look at NVU even if your student’s creations are not going to be posted to the web. Unlike static documents created with word processors, web pages are designed for interaction. Word processors let you construct documents with text and graphics that make sense when printed. Web pages can contain links that take the user to different pages, play sounds or movies, or launch programs. Consider the difference between a research report created in a word processor, and the same report created as a series of web pages. Instead of having a list of references at the end of the document, a web page can have highlighted words or phrases that serve as links to references or to more detailed explorations of the topic being explored. These references can be part of the student’s report, or can be links to on-line resources posted by others on the web.

Finished student work can be posted on the school’s web server, but does not need to be. The pages can be on the teacher’s or student’s computer and accessed from there, even if there is no connection to the Internet.

A web page authoring tool such as NVU could replace the word processor on most computers. With free open source software you do not need to choose one over the other.