Monday, January 24, 2011

Safe Social Classroom Sites

Your students are at home, Facebooking and Youtubing away, participating in online behaviour that is socially, emotionally, and for the most part, appropriately engaging.

You would like to capture that intrinsic motivation and need for autonomy (Drive; Daniel Pink, 2010) in ways that connect with your students’ interests and create opportunities for rigour,and deeper thinking.

How do you compete with the lure of an external multi-media environment, where your students, and you! can upload quick, emotion-laden commercials to mainstream television (e.g. those cute DisneyWorld vacation ads where the kids don’t know they are going till the last minute)? Pretty compelling!

Soon we'll be tweeting the cast of Glee, live! Except for Sue Sylvester, you know she doesn't go in for that kind of thing.

There are an increasing number of blogs, animation editors, comic generators and websites that are offering controlled educational spaces for teachers and classes. So far we have discussed and Bitstrips for Schools which offer user-friendly teacher/class set-up and development. Both sites offer opportunities for writing for purpose, reflective thought and appropriate feedback. Two sites in an endless stream of possibilities; it’s a good idea to find one with which you feel comfortable, and get some fluency with it. Lesson ideas tend to flow the more familiar one gets with a particular media.

A different online environment which emulates Facebook, is which  allows the teacher to set up classes, post assignments on a calendar, provide feedback and comments, send alerts and notes, and create polls. Teachers can interact with students, and with other teachers in the same school, district and beyond. Privacy controls are extensive and teachers can control communication between students, if that is desirable. You can choose to be notified when assignments are submitted, or students post comments. There is a shared library for uploading files, videos and links. Maybe it’s not quite getting published on TV, but students could upload their own videos to Edmodo and share their thoughts on the creation process. Gr. 5 Oral Communication 2.3, 2.4, 2.7

Click on the image below. When you arrive at the site, click on the “What is Edmodo?” sticky for a link to an explanatory video.

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