Monday, November 28, 2011

Enhancing Your Project Share Course

Project Share is providing classrooms and educators with many new resources, collaboration features, and productivity tools, which will really enhance mobile learning opportunities for students. How can you enhance your courses and collaborations using Project Share? Here are some tips that I have found useful.

1. Reach out and collaborate daily. Add and invite students and professionals to join you in professional learning and dialogue. Post a cool new resource, ask questions, or give student examples of integration for other educators to use. Begin by searching for groups in your content area. Don't be afraid to email other educators or teachers that you find in project share. I have found that many educators are excited about the possibility of collaborating and just need an invitation or push to do so. So send a quick note to someone within project share that can add to your collaboration efforts in the classroom.

2. Use productivity tools in project share courses. I began doing this by creating weekly announcements, utilize the calendar feature, post your syllabus, and use your course mail system to keep students up to date. There are many other productivity tools you can encourage your students to use. These include the Take Notes feature, Work Groups, and Drop Boxes. Teachers should consider creating a drop box for each assignment submitted. Other classroom productivity tools include: attendance, grade grid, reporting features, Test/Quiz generator, and alert feature.

3. Use collaborative classroom tools: I am finding that students really love embedding content in the course wiki, forum, and blog tools. Encourage students to post feedback and model feedback for students. Consider grading feedback and teach students how to participate appropriately in a collaborative educational setting. My students are graded on the following scale. Fifty percent of a student's discussion grade is on their original posting of content to the course in the collaborative tool. Was the content appropriate or did it add meaningful subject matter to the course? Did students embed content? The other fifty percent of a student's discussion grade is how students respond to other peer postings. Did students pose a higher order thinking question? Was the response and feedback thought provoking? Did it generate more discussion?

3. Consider adding resources to course lessons. One of the many exciting tools available for educators to tap into when building online lessons is The New York Times Knowledge Network Repository. This tools gives educators access to content from the top minds and organizations.

These include

New York Times: Tap into articles, media, and content that dates back to 1851.
MIT OpenCourseWare
Star Date: University of Texas McDonald Observatory
Aventa Learning
PhET Simulations that are Interactive with University of Colorado
International Children's Digital Library
Flat World Knowledge: Free online college textbook resources

4. Embed other tools inside your course to make for a more enjoyable experience. Students love embedding tutorials or content within course wikis, forums, and blogs. Our students use Quicktime Player to create a screen recording and upload tutorials to schooltube. Other students have used Prezi and Animoto to create How To Presentations, which they then embed in the course content.

Instructors can model and do the same. Embedding third party interactive websites within project share gives students the ability to access quality and interactive content and packages content nicely in one place: Your Project Share Course.

Project Share is a true course management system, allowing educators to not only collaborate but create a true online learning environment.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coming Soon to a Global Learning Network Near You: Instant Translation | Powerful Learning Practice

Coming Soon to a Global Learning Network Near You: Instant Translation | Powerful Learning Practice

Improving Your Interactive Whiteboard Lessons

The possibilities of real student engagement using the many new interactive whiteboard web 2.0 tools will continue to revolutionize the classroom experience. Are you looking for a new way to engage your students? Would you like to have the capabilities of an interactive board without having to actually have an interactive board?

There are many third party websites that will allow users to create content in real time.

FlockDraw: Free Online Drawing Tools and Collaborative Group Whiteboard. FlockDraw features include unlimited number of users, ten users drawing in real time, no registration needed, chat room, and other additional features.

Scriblink: Free Online Whiteboard that is simple, user friendly with export options.

CoSketch: Great site to use with middle school or high school students. CoSketch is simple, allows Google map support, and does not have the chat feature. The sketch can be exported only as an image. Nice tool to use with your students and my personal favorite.

Smart has just came out with their own web 2.0 version, Smart Express. Smart Express is notebook lite, including a pages and attachment tab. Tools are very limited, but it is a nice alternative and allows users to quickly access a familiar tool online.

Show Me Interactive Whiteboard App: A new app available on iTunes allows you to use voice over to record an interactive whiteboard lesson and it is FREE! Great news for apple users and lots of potential for classroom applications.

Doodle Buddy: It has been around for a while, but I thought I would mention it as a possible interactive whiteboard resource.

Adding more users to the interactive whiteboard experience can allow for an more engaging classroom lesson. Student can record narration, create collaborative podcasts, brainstorm, or problem solve using a collaborative interactive whiteboard web 2.0 tool. For example, many students could work in groups to solve a math problem, solve complex problems, brainstorm, and analyze scientific hypothesis, use images and text to improve scientific vocabulary skills, and add visual learning tools to your curriculum material.