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.

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