Techno Tools #4

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with a few new tools in my summer classes.  Since my classes were small or composed of adults, it was a great opportunity to work out the kinks before I try them with a full class of middle schoolers.

  1. Google Squared – This is an amazing way to research.  To make it truly collaborative, a teacher can create a research topic (presidents for example) then download the CSV file and upload it as a google spreadsheet.  From there, a group of students could add in their own comments to compare and contrast different presidents using the information supplied by google squared.  Students could do the exact same thing on their own – just fill in the “extras” box and then download the csv file and share it/email it to the teacher.
  2. PB Works – I posted about his yesterday and look forward to using it with my class this year.  We’ll be expanding the Green Monkey Project this year and we’ll almost definitely be using a wiki to create the newest site.  In past years we’ve used iWeb, raw html (with nVu), and Yola.  Each of these had a limited level of collaboration.  With a wiki, students will be able to login with their own username and password to collaborate on the site and add new content in a simple way.
  3. Glogster EDU – If you sign up for a Glogster EDU account, you’ll get 50 logins and passwords (associated with your account) for students.  This is very useful in terms of access.  Glogster allows users to make interactive posters of whatever content they choose.  You can add text, pictures, movies, and even some animations to your glog.  Here is a student sample.  I tried this site during the school year and ran into some troubles when the whole class accessed the site at once.  Hopefully, this has been remedied.  The other issue involved with glogs is time.  It’s probably not something that students could finish in one class period.  If you plan on using it – give it a couple periods.
  4. Sharetabs – Basically, this site allows you to put a bunch of websites on one page in a visual format.  It’s great if you want to layout some specific resources for your students to research.  Web searches can deliver a lot of information that is difficult for younger students to digest.  It takes a little more digging to find something that a 6th grader can really understand.  I put together this sharetabs site for my 6th graders to help them research material for their science fair projects.
  5. Blobz Electricity – I used this site this summer when we were working on a building a wind turbine.  We’d covered some of the basics of electricity in class and this site provided a little practice with some of the things we went over.  During the year, we get into it a little more, but it’s great to use as a review or to introduce new concepts.  It also works if you have limited (or none at all) supplies for students to do electricity labs.

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