OK, so we all know the trick of having students make a giant informative poster instead of just a regular, boring report on the subject de jour.  But, hey!  This is the digital age!  Why not bag the poster for a BLOG?! 

I was playing around with various apps on the dizzying list found at http://www.go2web20.net/#animation and found jux.com.  This is a very easy, VISUAL blog maker that lets you add photos, video, photo slideshows, articles, and countdowns.  (One annoying downside is that you have to view it in Chrome or Firefox--it's not supported in Windows)

So check this out:

http://www.jux.com/surround/global/users/~restelle/quarks

Now, imagine how a student could use this format to do a "report" on the Civil War.  Articles could contain much of the content information, but slideshow captions and block quotes could also be used to show off the student's research.  The countdown could rank and explain factors that led to the war or even highlight important events or people.

 

What do you think?  Can you see this format being a useful tool for students? 

There are some drawbacks: the blog is easy to use, but you don't have much flexibility in formatting.  I noticed all my pictures are cropped to about 60%, and I don't have control over where or how items are displayed.

Other questions: 

1) Would students in your district have access to this site, or would it be blocked by the filter?

2) If each student has just one login, is there a way to preserve the content for later in case they want to include it in an e-portfolio?  Or, like a real poster that gets trashed after the unit is done, will the page content be replaced when the student moves on to the next subject.

3) What would be the most beneficial way for students to share their finished product?  It's an interactive format, so you can't just hang them in the hall like posters.

What other possibilities or challenges do you see with this?

 

 

 

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Sounds like a great tool as long as students DID do research (not just cut and paste), were thoughtful about what went into the poster and displayed some real evidence that they actually thought about the topic and included some of their own thinking about it.  You mention this in the slideshow/caption sentence. My experience is that students do little research, cut and paste a lot, and spend more time using the bells and whistles than thinking about the topic in a meaningful way. I'd want to have a rubric in place along with the assignment so that quality work in both the content and the presentation is required.  And how/when do all the students learn to use the tool?  Roz
We have some teachers using Glogster.  It's a tool that LOOKS neat, but (as Roz said) sometimes the actual quality of the content is questionable.  Kids were copying and pasting images with copyright watermarks, etc.... but that could be just another teaching opportunity!  I think switching to these online resources is far more exciting and interesting to students, but we just need to make sure they are still doing the writing and research.  There are educational accounts for Glogster and I imagine many blogging sites too, and so far we haven't had any login issues.  As for sharing... links to the blogs could be put on the school website or newsletter, or there could be opportunities for group share during class time or larger group gatherings.

I think that this is the way that presentations need to move. Students are going to use digital tools for presentations in the world outside of school and the more practice that they can get, the better. I think a great way for students to share their presentations would be with a projector/computer hook up. I am curious if there is a way for students to complete this as a group project. Would they have to have a communal login or is there a way to share the document like Googledocs?

I had my students try it out (wix.com) and the bells and whistles were the most fun as we imported pictures just to see how the program works.  The Jux.com was giving us problems.  We had issues getting photos in and getting it to save....maybe need more time.  I did like the layout of Jux and would like to try it again.

a really cool site to use for presentations is http://prezi.com/

it is very user friendly and has really great eye appeal. you can also have groups work on one prezi so each student could be responsible for a certain part of the presentation.

 

At the junior high here, the students in some classes are doing presentations using imovie on their laptops.  They use pictures and text that they type in from their research and put it to music.  At the end, like movie credits, they put their works cited page.  Using something like imovie eliminates the need for an account since it is software installed on all the Mac laptops.  The students then present their imovies using a projector hooked up to the laptop.  They also export their movies to itunes to turn into the teacher.   It's more limited than a blog, but it's one way students can present information that's more exciting than posters. 

The downside for some students is that there is a lot of time learning how to use the program, taking time away from the actual research.  But once they learn how to use the tools, it's easier the next time.

Great questions and ideas. Your third question about "display" capabilities is one I have considered in choosing project modes--how many people can see and appreciate this product when it's online? While I love hanging things on the wall, I have also grouped online productions on my classroom website--where all the classes and whoever knows our site can see and appreciate the products. It's a different type of audience, but it is still an audience.

One idea I see popping up in public areas are large-screen display TVs running loops of media (ads in the bank, soothing water scenes in the hospital waiting room, and slideshow portfolios in art galleries).  I forsee a time when schools will have their own "jumbotrons" in public areas to run announcements and display student work.  That's probably happening already in some schools (with money), but not in any I've seen yet.



Ashley Mortenson said:

Great questions and ideas. Your third question about "display" capabilities is one I have considered in choosing project modes--how many people can see and appreciate this product when it's online? While I love hanging things on the wall, I have also grouped online productions on my classroom website--where all the classes and whoever knows our site can see and appreciate the products. It's a different type of audience, but it is still an audience.

Renee, It is happening; you're right. Another school in my district a few years ago had "online" presentations, which they set up in the computer lab, and parents looked around at their work--none of which was printed. As someone who loves to craft with my hands (and not always just the keyboard) I think that the paper/poster/project will never be completely gone. At the same time, I think not examining other technology options would be to stick one's head in the sand. :)

Yes, we have large screen TVs in our commons area.  Our school uses it for broadcasting basketball games mostly, but we also have several teachers who display student work through laptops at events such as parent conferences.  

Renee Estelle said:

One idea I see popping up in public areas are large-screen display TVs running loops of media (ads in the bank, soothing water scenes in the hospital waiting room, and slideshow portfolios in art galleries).  I forsee a time when schools will have their own "jumbotrons" in public areas to run announcements and display student work.  That's probably happening already in some schools (with money), but not in any I've seen yet.



Ashley Mortenson said:

Great questions and ideas. Your third question about "display" capabilities is one I have considered in choosing project modes--how many people can see and appreciate this product when it's online? While I love hanging things on the wall, I have also grouped online productions on my classroom website--where all the classes and whoever knows our site can see and appreciate the products. It's a different type of audience, but it is still an audience.

Agreed Roslyn - I've found students spend more time in how their blog/webpage/powerpoint looks than the actual content, Perhaps this could be dealt with by having a very uniform "look" to the page (same font, size, etc) & a detailed rubric on the content & list of resources. While the uniformity might dampen the creativity aspect of the project, as educators we need to be sure we're emphasizing the objective of the assignment - the looks or the content.  That said, I do like the idea of using a blog, but will need to be careful in how it's assigned & assessed.

Roslyn L. Goodman said:

Sounds like a great tool as long as students DID do research (not just cut and paste), were thoughtful about what went into the poster and displayed some real evidence that they actually thought about the topic and included some of their own thinking about it.  You mention this in the slideshow/caption sentence. My experience is that students do little research, cut and paste a lot, and spend more time using the bells and whistles than thinking about the topic in a meaningful way. I'd want to have a rubric in place along with the assignment so that quality work in both the content and the presentation is required.  And how/when do all the students learn to use the tool?  Roz



Renee Estelle said:

One idea I see popping up in public areas are large-screen display TVs running loops of media (ads in the bank, soothing water scenes in the hospital waiting room, and slideshow portfolios in art galleries).  I forsee a time when schools will have their own "jumbotrons" in public areas to run announcements and display student work.  That's probably happening already in some schools (with money), but not in any I've seen yet.



Ashley Mortenson said:

Great questions and ideas. Your third question about "display" capabilities is one I have considered in choosing project modes--how many people can see and appreciate this product when it's online? While I love hanging things on the wall, I have also grouped online productions on my classroom website--where all the classes and whoever knows our site can see and appreciate the products. It's a different type of audience, but it is still an audience.

That's exactly what I was thinking.  I know of one high school in the Anchorage school district that has some screens in their commons depicting student work.  I imagine over time we'll see more & more of these.  Another idea would be to set up a multi-media projector & display students' work during heavy traffic time such as parent/teacher conferences & open houses.

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