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My district is kind of "in the middle" in terms of what we have access to, so I can relate to some of your frustrations. For example, we have gmail for the kids and they can access Google Docs, but when I tried to have them complete a Google Form it was a nightmare. Anyway, one way I was able to have the kids collaborate online was through the creation of a website on www.weebly.com, which is free! This experience was great! The kids really go into it, and they were able to collaborate both in school and at home, online. I didn't think it was possible, but both kids in a group were able to work on their website at the same time on 2 different computers, which was awesome! I would highly recommend giving Weebly a try :) Here is a link to my wiki page with a listing of a bunch of my kids' websites if you want to see their work:http://mrssnydersclassroom.wikispaces.com/message/list/4th+hour+Weebly
To view a great website, scroll down to the one by a student named Egypt!
I know what you mean by your district being "in the middle." I feel the same way in my district with technology. I am very excited to finally be getting a smart board within the next month. I hope it will help student interest in subjects and enhance their learning.
It is wonderful that your district has Gmail for the kids, but it sounds like it still needs to be worked out. I like the idea of kids being able to use Google docs and Google presentation in order to collaborate with each other.
I absolutely LOVE Weebly and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a web page and blog. It is user-friendly, simple, and free. I like the idea of students working with partners to make a webpage. Thanks!
I think that there are a lot of districts "in the middle" in those terms. We all know the financial situation with school districts and that really makes it difficult to implement what you really want to as a teacher. Although many of these technologies are free, some districts also have networking issues, or computers that run so slow it takes all hour to get the most simple thing done.
I completely agree that our district has issues with our technology. It is very difficult to get resources for new technology or implementing it in the classroom. You did a great job with the Weebly site and I definitely liked the examples you shared. They were helpful because I could envision how Weebly would work in my classroom. I really like the fact that they can work on it simultaneously. Thank you for sharing!
My district is “in the middle” between old school and technology. In the lecture I’m taking from MSU, a teacher called it “a land between”. When it comes to change, it is hard and frustrating. For me, I keep trying to communicate with other teachers through a website (wordpress) or a facebook page. The barrier is the diversity of the teachers and lack of interest. The best strategy I’ve been advised to let others participate in the Web2.0 is to build personal relationship by Face 2 Face.
Using Google Doc is the brilliant way of collaboration. Anyone can update anything in the shared docs. From my experience, Google Doc looks simple to use, but would have been better to be used with higher level of understanding in technology. I think that is why you were frustrated when you try it with your students.
Also Google has its age limitation, your attempt to use weebly.com is very smart for further use. I was thinking to utilize Google Site for ePortfolio for my students’ project, but I’ve figured out weebly for education is much better since students can have their own account for free.
Thank you for sharing your experience. your wiki site looks awesome!
You are very fortunate to have the use of so many technologies in your classroom. However, sometimes it can be overwhelming. As an online teacher, I sometimes feel I get lost in it. I agree with Alison that you should look into getting Gmail accounts for your students.
I feel blessed by having the same technologies in my classroom. My students do have email addresses but couldn't you create a wiki for discussions? Or try Mindmister - mind mapping (http://www.mindmeister.com/) for online collaboration. I agree with the below reply about gmail as well. It's a great collaboration tool. If you can get past the firewalls it will take your classroom to the next level. My school does not limit our use of technology in the classroom by restricting internet use. They believe we are professionals who will use it wisely in the classroom and that the benefits out weigh the risks with the students. It'd be nice of more schools felt this way.
In CEP 810 I learned a lot about different technology resources to incorporate into my teaching- both for the benefit for my students and myself as a teacher. Examples of these include the use of google docs when working on collaborative projects, the creation of an iGoogle page to stay current with my favorite education blogs, more uses of my SMARTBoard software, and also the use of clickers in the classroom.
One "questioning and answering" tool that was mentioned in the lecture was the use of "online surveys." This year in my geometry courses I have tested out the use of post-test surveys that I create using the website: http://www.surveymonkey.com/. Basically I'll create a survey, post the link on the Edline website that my school district uses, and give students a couple days after they take a chapter test to log on and complete it (I count it as a homework grade). In this survey I ask students to reflect on their work ethic in class throughout the chapter, have them count the number of homework assignments they completed and didn't complete for the chapter, have them rank their personal understanding of the concepts (in terms of how confident they would be in explaining the ideas to another), etc. I also ask the students for feedback about teaching methods and activities that were used in the chapter, which has helped me understand what my students feel are worthwhile learning experiences.
We use Survery Monkey for school-wide surveys for teachers; it has allowed for more collaboration across buildings.
I like Survey Monkey but would also encourage using Google Forms as a good and inexpensive alternative.
It has a built-in spreadsheet-type reporting feature and like other services of Google, is simple and straightforward. Take a look at this introductory tutorial.
Here is also a fine comparison article on Google Forms versus Survey Monkey.
Thank you so much for the tutorial. Google never ceases to amaze me.