Websites for learning

by Rob Ellis

I’ve done a fair bit of work on websites for various organisations but it took a reminder to convert classic Google sites to new Google sites to tell me that I’d also done a lot of website work for learning purposes.

I’ve been a part of a number of projects all of which wanted the project outcomes on the web but, as essentially static websites, didn’t want to find domain name and hosting renewals from shrinking budgets.

So I turned to Google sites (other types are available as they say) and I thought I’d share a few.

It all started when I was doing a lot of training events and realised that the cost in paper to share the resources I used was soaring. I started making simple websites with downloads of documents and hyperlinks to referenced websites. It worked well and meant all I had to do was give out a URL and I could add to the site if requests for more information came up during the training. It also meant that my site had to be merely presentable and as it had a specific purpose I didn’t have to spend hours updating it. It was simply there for those who wanted the resources.

Later I became involved in those projects I mentioned above, sometimes as part of a team and sometimes alone, and as I said I thought I’d share some of the resultant websites.

Click on the titles to go to the sites.

Life on the line


This was part of a project that produced materials for schools about the railway system past and present across the south of England. I found lots of resources for my area, the Isle of Wight, and called upon my days as a trainer to build a website to showcase the resources.

St John’s House, Ryde

St Johns

For many years I worked at a school that I loved. Its main building had been built as a house in 1769 and as part of an after school club I and a group of year 8 pupils decided to research its history. We produced a booklet that went into local libraries and more recently I converted it to a website so that it might have a longer lifespan and hopefully more readers.

Information literacy

info lit

I’d discovered a great website on explorers that deliberately had fake information and could be used to encourage children to check their sources and I thought it would be a good idea to have one about the Isle of Wight that could be used locally or by schools planning a visit here. With the help of members of a local heritage group on Facebook I collected information supplied by them, some downright falsehoods and others bizarre but true.

The Isle of Wight Rifles


This was the first time I’d been part of a group and my task was to produce a free, low maintenance website. With the heritage team at Carisbrooke Castle we collected resources that told the story of a local regiment that suffered horribly at Gallipoli in World War 1. Amongst other things it contains the letters of young sweethearts whose family homes were in adjacent streets and only a short distance from mine. She was still sending letters assuming him to be a prisoner long after he had been killed in action. Have the tissues ready! There are also ideas for use in school.



This is another project with the local heritage team and a local school. It brought together the pupils and local elderly people to record the memories of those people before they were lost. It includes the sound recordings as well as photos. The project was a huge success not least in the way the generations came together.

Accessible heritage


This was a project with local education company InspirEd. We have many great facilities on the Isle of Wight and wanted people of all ages with learning disabilities of varying degrees to be able to visit them and record their impressions. With appropriate and different levels of support some made short movies while others responded to photographs of their visit and had their comments recorded. I wish we could have gone to more places!

I hope you enjoy looking at the sites and perhaps even use some. Unlike the glossy corporate websites these gave me a great way to either present resources, record experiences or both.