We’re one week into our new project, so it’s time to check in… we’ve had a busy first week! Our new laptop set up is great. We have an occasional problem or two, but students get to work for almost a full 40 minutes – a rarity given the past problems we’ve had with laptops. Most students have collected their 15 or 25 facts. Those will be graded one day late, on Monday, due to the incredible amount of time it takes to set up blogs, fix log-in problems, help with Google Docs, and do all the other computer and collaboration related work we usually have. Here’s a look in on student progress so far:
- Prezi is – by far – the most popular project product choice. This is a VERY cool presentation tool that utilizes a very flexible and relatively limitless canvas. Students are highly motivated to make a very cool presentation of their learning. I’m looking forward to seeing these evolve next week.
- We’re using Blogger – a google site – to do Student Blogs. Students are creating a page in which they are sharing thoughts, videos, photos, and other information pertinent to their objective.
- Google Docs have become very popular for sharing facts, work, and resources. As a staff, we use it for various items, and Students are beginning to realize the highly practical function they provide – any computer, any where, can share info. Awesome!
- We also learned how to comment on my blog this week. If Student Blogs take off, this could be a very interesting – and powerful – feedback and collaboration feature as blogs move forward.
- Sadly, nobody is doing podcasts :( Perhaps there’s next time, but I’m beginning to think this is just not something our kids are interested in. Very low interest level the past few years.
- Some students are also making videos, but that’s on their own time. The research, planning and script writing happens here, but most filming is happening at home (though it can be done here!).
If we learned anything this week, it’s that students not only need an e-mail address, but need to remember their password once they have one! When so much is capable online, an e-mail becomes more of an “internet ID” than a communication device, as many of these sites require one. I highly suggest that students get their own e-mail so that they can access these sites under their own log-in and protect their content. If students cannot have an e-mail, then they may use the class log-ins I’ve created. Blogger, Google Docs, and Prezi are all accessible with this log-in. If your child needs it for information, please contact me personally via e-mail. I won’t post it on this blog, but will e-mail it up on request.
And finally, thank you to all the students and parents as we explore both an entirely new project and use almost entirely new technology while doing it. Naturally, there are flaws to work out, but students have adapted well to obstacles, and have jumped right into this chance to use creative, useful, and fun technology in the classroom. This first week has been crazy, but fun! I’m excited to get a full week of uninterrupted work in and see what we can do (this will be the first full week of school in a month!)
*If you need them, here are the project guidelines and timeline. Please note one minor procedural change: I will not be asking students to post their “notecards” on the blog. Instead, they will get check in on Monday.