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Phile: Create a crowdsource guide around any passion

What it is: Phile is a fantastic new way for communities to “create a useful, lasting body of knowledge just by talking about the stuff you love.”  Phile makes it easy for groups of people work together on building collections and discussions based on shared passions.  Phile turns knowledge, opinions, and discussion into useful websites.  Turn any passion into a community of collaborators by creating one place for them to gather.  Phile lets you structure your site to gather the information that matters to your community of learners. Phile does an outstanding job of keeping your site organized as people add to it.  Phile is truly as site all about conversation and sharing information.  Phile automatically keeps all information organized and easy to find.  A group creator creates and customizes the “stack” (site) design.  Group members add and edit pages in the stack. Members can share resources, discuss in forums, on stack pages, etc.  Recent activity is populated on the home page including new pages, reviews, comments, etc.  Phile is currently a free service, the plan is to keep a portion of the service free with ad support and a paid service that has additional functionality. For now, Phile is in beta and completely free.  Phile is fairly easy to navigate and has an intuitive interface. There are helpful hints and tips on ever page directing you in the use of Phile (great for those of us who are too busy to endlessly play!).  I created a Phile for edreform, feel free to join me in collecting resources, article, videos, etc. relevant to the education reform discussion! How to integrate Phile into the classroom: Phile is a great way for teachers to collaborate and share information.  Phile could be used for starting a variety of groups that would help organize information in one, easy to access, place.  Phile could be used to start a Children’s Literature group where members submit children’s books along with reviews, ratings and comments (any book-a-day people want to jump in and create that?). Older students could join the group and add their own reviews, ratings, and comments on the books they are reading.  This could become a place where teachers could quickly find literature that has been reviewed by other teachers, students, and parents. Phile would make an excellent directory for ed conferences (and virtual conferences) held around the world.  Because many of these conferences happen year after year, it would be a great place for new teachers to learn what is available to them and for veteran teachers to continue conversations and learn which conferences are rated as the most worthwhile and why. Phile would be a great place for teachers world-wide to share, collaborate, and rate lesson plans, websites, videos, etc. in their area of specialty. Phile is ideal for sharing iDevice apps for education, with the built in rating system and excellent organization it would make sharing and finding educational apps a breeze! How about creating Phile’s for the discussions that happen in our education chats on Twitter every week? The Phile could contain information and links about the chat, important ideas and information that was shared during the chat, and give us a place to expand the conversation beyond the 140 characters when it was over.  I’m imagining this for #edchat, it would be wonderful to have a place to send those who are new to #edchat to get a feel for the topics that we cover. The possibilities with Phile are really endless, it is a fantastic platform that is like a mashup of a Ning and a wiki.  The interface is really well designed, it makes information so easy to find and sort through. As I said above, I created a Phile for edreform to be a collection of resources, articles, links, and discussion.  Feel free to join and help me add to it.  A Phile is only as good as its community! Tips: Phile does require an email address for sign-up, it may not be appropriate for use with elementary students unless you are accessing it as a class. Please leave a comment and share ideas for how you might use Phile in education.  Anyone want to start a Children’s Literature Phile? I think it could be great! Let me know if you are interested and I will be happy to pass your name onto the developer of Phile.

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Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 20-05-2008

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What it is: Shelfari is a virtual bookshelf that you create to show off books that you have read and recommend. It is a Web 2.0 site that allows you to connect with students, other teachers, and parents around books. Shelfari is a great way to discover new titles, discuss books, start an online book club, and show others what you are reading. You can show off your Shelfari bookshelf on your blog, classroom website, or other social networking site of choice. Really cool!

How to integrate Shelfari into the classroom: As summer break approaches, we teachers start thinking about how far we have come during the school year with our students. We also dread that they will be on their own for the summer and may or may not be reading. Shelfari would be an excellent resource to create today and introduce your students and parents to before summer break. Build a bookshelf of age-appropriate reading for your students. Post the bookshelf on your classroom website and encourage students to continue reading with you over the summer. Because Shelfari allows for you to create online book clubs and discussions, students can keep their reading and comprehension skills in tip top shape with you! Shelfari is also an excellent resource for parents who may feel overwhelmed when they enter a library with their child. They often aren’t sure of their child’s reading level and age-appropriate books. With Shelfari, they can visit your shelf before the trip to the library for some great suggestions. Shelfari is also ideal throughout the school year as a place for you and your students to connect over reading…reading is so much more fun when you have someone to share and discuss what you are reading with! Students can create their own bookshelves to show off what they are reading. Teacher to teacher book clubs on Shelfari are also a lot of fun! Connect with other staff members over books that you are reading (they can be school related or not.) Maybe in place of the traditional book report, students start a discussion on Shelfari about their reading. Where have you been all my life Shelfari? :)

Tips: Use Shelfari in conjunction with Book Adventure for some real reading fun!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Shelfari in your classroom.

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