Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 07-02-2011
What it is: Enter the Group is a fabulous online tool that makes it simple to work with, and organize, groups online. The tool has similar functionalities to Wiggio. Enter the Group includes shared calendars, site email, file sharing, instant chat and message boards, the ability to create private groups and classrooms, tasks and assignments, polls, blogging, Twitter, and question/answer forum, and best of all: it is totally free! Enter the Group has some really nice classroom features that other online group management sites like Wiggio don’t have. The built in blog feature is useful for the classroom setting, it provides students with a place to reflect that can be set as “private” so that it is a closed network for your classroom or school. This is especially helpful in schools where administration and the school community is hesitant to enter the world of blogging! Enter the Group Classrooms provides a virtual classroom space that can act as an extension of the physical classroom. Teachers and students can interact, keep track of due dates and special events, share files, post messages, and more. Students can take their learning with them anywhere and access the resources they need anytime. Enter the Group is easy to use and has really helpful tips and video guidance throughout the tool. No matter what your technology ability level is, Enter the Group has made it easy to get started.
My favorite thing about Enter the Group? They understand that the classroom is about learning, from the classroom page: “What do we do in classrooms? Simple answer is we learn. The longer answer is we; listen, ask questions, start debates, get group feedback, work on assignments, take tests and exams, present our work and perhaps many other things I haven’t thought of as well. Should all these things stop once the bell sounds and the students walk out the door? We all know the answer is no.” Enter the Group isn’t about the technology, but about the learning opportunities that it enables.
How to integrate Enter the Group into the classroom: Enter the Group is a way to extend learning beyond the walls of your classroom. Use it to extend conversations, debates, and offer support through online discussion; help students (and parents) keep track of assignments and classroom events, keep track of and share files so students who are absent are never left behind, to collect shared resources and information (a kind of “digital textbook” that you create for/with your students); to expand on class topics with video; and to create a collaborative learning environment. Students can use Enter the Group to plan and organize projects that they are working on in groups, providing a virtual meeting space outside of the classroom to collaborate. Enter the Group is perfect for students who are out with an illness or to continue learning opportunities when pandemic illness or bad weather keeps us from the physical classroom (anyone had SNOW problems this year? ) Enter the Group provides a platform where students can continue learning and collaborating from any Internet-connected computer.
Do you have students collaborating with another class in another state? Another country? Enter the Group is a great place for students to work together, discuss, debate, and share. The ability to create a private network adds a layer of security and manageability to the online group.
Enter the Group also makes a great platform for working with colleagues and for professional development. Share important dates, files, and reflections within the group. Enter the Group is a nice way to gather and share resources from one centralized location making it easy to add to, and grow, year after year. No more, “remember that great lesson we used last year? What was that site/resource again?” (I cannot tell you how many times I have had THAT conversation!)
Tips: Enter the Group provides a few options for sign-up. Teachers, parents, and students can sign up with an email address (don’t forget to use tempinbox.com or mailinaitor.com for temporary inboxes for students who don’t have an email account), Twitter, or Facebook. It would be nice if Enter the Group had a feature like Wiggio where group members could join without registering-this is really helpful in elementary classrooms.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Enter the Group in your classroom