Featured Post

Class Blogs: Blogging, virtual classroom, LMS, and more!

What it is: Class Blogs is a fabulous new way for you to easily create and manage FREE classroom blogs!  What makes Class Blogs so wonderful are all the extras that are built in.  For example, with Class Blogs you can create a virtual classroom space.  With just a few simple steps, you can create an online meeting space for your students to learn and discuss in.  Blogs can be used to post assignments; when you post an assignment to your teacher blog, students can submit the assignment and a pingback will be sent to your blog.  Class Blogs even has features that utilize SMS so that you can send a text message to students and the ability to host lesson plans complete with supporting resources!  Class blogs really offers more than just a blogging platform, it offers many Learning Management System (LMS) solutions making it a great all-in-one tool!  Here are just a few of the ways you can use Class Blogs: Class Blogs – Teachers and students can create blogs to help facilitate classroom learning or the blog can be an extension of the classroom conversation. Learning Logs – Learning logs are sites created by teachers for the purpose of creating online assignments for students. Students can then answer the questions and submit the assignments once they are completed. Learning Management System (LMS) – Teachers can create a blog and use it as a learning management system. Teachers can post online courses and students can submit their assignments (through blog posts) for the course online as well. These assignments can be viewed by the instructor, the instructor can submit feedback, and the instructor can grade the student’s assignment online. Both the teacher and his/her students must have blogs in order to create a successful LMS. Electronic Portfolio (E-Portfolio) – An e-portfolio is a valuable learning and assessment tool which includes but is not limited to a collection of resources and accomplishments that represent the individual. Moreover, it is the author’s personal reflection on the work included in the e-portfolio that creates a meaningful learning experience. Web Conferencing/Virtual Classroom – Teachers/professors have the ability to create meeting rooms or virtual classrooms from the backend of their site. You can upload your presentations, chat with students, public/private chat, webcam, and even share your desktop. How to integrate Class Blogs into the classroom: Class Blogs has features that make it wonderfully useful for any classroom.  Blogging gives your students a place to write where they have an authentic audience.  An audience of one (the teacher) is SO 1995.  To limit your students to that audience is a disservice.  I find that when my students write in blog form, the enthusiasm to write increases, the richness of language increases, and the ideas are communicated clearly.  Obviously that is a bit of a generalization, I have also had students who don’t want to post for an audience, it makes them nervous to reveal themselves to their classmates in that way.  I let those students blog about topics they are “experts” on as they are building confidence in their learning process.   Students can blog to reflect on learning; write creatively; write as if they were a historical character, famous inventor, or a favorite literary figure; to chronicle learning (e-portfolio style); or to invite others on a journey of inquiry with them. Using this type of social media in the classroom is important. It helps students learn digital citizenship, Internet safety, and netiquette in an authentic environment that goes beyond the rules and actually lets them practice it. The additional features of Class Blog make it the perfect place to organize your classroom.  Post assignments in Class Blogs as a learning log, as students respond, your original post will get a pingback making it easy to track students progress. Class Blog also makes it easy to extend learning beyond the four walls of your classroom using the virtual classroom features.  Create meeting rooms to extend classroom discussions, offer additional learning support, or as a place to prepare students for learning.  Class Blogs makes it easy to include podcasts, videos, webcams, private chat areas, desktop sharing in your virtual classroom. Tips: Class Blogs does not have an age requirement, this means that it is available to k-12 (and beyond) education.  Registration does require an email address.  If your students do not have email addresses, you can create accounts on their behalf.  With Class Blogs you can create unlimited class and student blogs, unlimited free classes/courses, and unlimited free virtual classrooms.  Be sure to check out the feature page for a comprehensive list of the awesome features on Class Blogs, you won’t believe what all is included! Please leave a comment and share how you are using the Class Blogs in your classroom!  

Read More

Mural.ly: Google Docs for Visual People

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 03-04-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 10.05.09 PM

What it is: Murally is a tool I learned about from my friends over at House of GeniusMurally’s tagline is: “Google Docs for visual people.”  Being highly visual, that description immediately resonates with me!  Murally reminds me a little bit of Wallwisher (now Padlet), it is a way for learners to come together to think, imagine and discuss their ideas.  With Murally, students can create murals and include any content they want in them.  Learners can drag and drop images, video, etc. from any website (or from their computer) onto their mural.   Learners can create presentations from within a mural they have already created.  The best part: this all happens with the ability to collaborate with others.  Murally makes it easy for students to collect, think, imagine, show and discuss learning.  Murals can be made public (shared live with a link) or private (only friends granted permission can access the mural).

*** email address, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus account required for login.  You know what that means: 13 or older!

How to integrate Murally into the classroom: Murally is brilliant in the way that it enables learners to work and dream together.  My FAVORITE feature: you can drag and drop content from ANYWHERE!!! It works like the spring-loaded folders in Apple’s iOS.  LOVE this feature.  Honestly, this ability to clip content is a game changer.  It makes creating a mural incredibly easy.  Stinking brilliant!  

Murally is the tool that I wish existed when I was doing research projects in school.  Students can conduct and collect their research solo or invite friends to contribute to their research mural.  Students can add text, drag and drop links, pictures, video and other content.  After they have gone through the hunting/gathering phase of research, Murally makes it easy for students to go through and mindmap it all into some sort of order.  This tool is going to make me a better writer.  Visually being able to organize research and thoughts is HUGE.

Being inquiry based, I love the idea of beginning a mural for students with the driving inquiry alone on the board.  The learners job: be curious together.  Ask questions, explore, research, collect evidences collaboratively.  Capture all of that learning in one place.

Murally could be used for any mind-mapping appropriate project.  This is mind-mapping in the future.  Truly amazing!  The collaborative nature of Murally is fantastic.

Students could begin a Murally with a novel as the base.  As they read, they can include quotes, related thoughts, pictures, video clips, discussion, and related research.  I’m always amazed by the connections that our students make to other learning, a commercial they have seen, or a song.  Murally is a great way to visually collect all of this to share with others.

Murally would be an outstanding way to hypothesize about what will happen in a science experiment.  Students can then add in any research, class notes, discussion, etc.  After students have conducted the experiment they can include observations, photos, and final conclusions.

Use Murally with a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard for class notes.  As class discussions unfold, notes can be taken for the whole class and shared later.  Students can add to these later with additional learning, thoughts, and plans.

Because Murally can be used to show learning, consider creating map boards where students link what they know of Geography with the cultures, habitats, religions, politics of that area.

Murally would make the COOLEST “textbook” alternative.  Student created, mashup of all different tools, collaborative, discussion included, and organized in the way that makes sense to the learner.

This is one of those tools that has my mind spinning.  The possibilities overlap all subject areas and are endless.

Tips: The collaborative feature of Murally is so well thought out, see history and message collaborators quickly and easily.  Wonderful!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Murally in your classroom.

Write a comment

*