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IDroo: Online educational multi user whiteboard

What it is: IDroo is an educational multi user whiteboard that lets students instantly collaborate online.  Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time.  IDroo supports an unlimited number of meeting participants, the only limitations are computer power and internet connection speed.  There is a professional math typing tool built-in making it easy to teach or work through math problems collaboratively. Best of all, IDroo can be used with Skype! IDroo is free for non-commercial use. Now for the downfall (and this is a HUGE downfall in my humble opinion), IDroo is currently only available for Windows.  I  know, disappointment for us Mac lovers. *sigh*  If you are using a Windows computer this is a great way to collaborate online! How to integrate IDroo into the classroom: IDroo would be a great app for collaborating with other classrooms around the world.  Students can use the multi user whiteboard space to work together, share ideas, and brainstorm.  IDroo would also be fantastic as a way for teachers to tutor students virtually.  Set up an “open lab” time once a week online where students can drop in and get extra help.  Virtual lab times are especially helpful for elementary students who can’t dictate their own schedules and often can’t stay after school for extra help. Tips: Don’t forget to allow IDroo to access Skype API after you download! Please leave a comment and share how you are using IDroo in your classroom!

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Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Comments (1)

Totally agree, Kelly. I hope more and more teachers embrace the role of guide on the side, as parents make it clear to the policy makers this is what they want for their kids. Maxwell sounds fascinating!

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