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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Good points, Ros--I think those are the most common pitfalls.  I think the key is to place the technology in perspective as a tool and one piece in the process of communication, rather than the point of the exercise.  I remember a teacher who was gonzo for 3x5 cards.  Before we did any project, paper, or speech, she required us to research our facts, placing each one on a card (along with citation), then organizing them by topic and order.  When students are taught to hunt down, evaluate, organize and present information as their primary objective, the technology should ride back seat.  Ideally, just as we don't teach "Pencil 101" kids will learn the technology as they need it to work with their ideas.  Ideally.

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

I am a school counselor and as such am not in the classroom teaching in the same way as a classroom teacher.  For my uses I am more interested in the presentation site  http://prezi.com/ that was refered to earlier in this discussion.  I watched my Middle school daughter create a whole presentation for her class on prezi.  She could work from any computer on it and the looks of the site are very appealing.  I was also impressed with the knowledge my daughter had about copyright and how to site sources and pictures that she used.  A big thank you to her teachers.  I agree with another respondant that I hope not all poster type activities will go away-I hope there is room for all in teaching kids. 

HI

I have used prezi with my third-sixth grade class.  We made a school presentation for our school board.  It is a very cool presentation device that all of the students can work on the same project at the same time.   There are times when I wonder if too much technology takes away from the old ways.  It is SBA testing this week and I circulated old catalogs of school things and when they were done each day and i told them to cut out pictures of improving our school playground or get new science supplies or whatever category they want.  It was amazing how much they LOVED cutting out stuff and glueing it onto these large scrap pieces of paper I had lying around.   

I really think this idea has possibilities!  Especially if kids have access to ipads as more and more do.  Desktops and laptops can be just as exciting for the kids.

-is there a way to save content to a flashdrive?  or would you have to take a screen photo of the page, which would not allow for interaction but would be something to remember it by?

-while we all worry about copyright laws and plagiarism, we cut and pasted copyrighted photos and captions from old magazines while growing up.  Most authors who write an article for educational purposes are not upset when it is used for educational purposes in a different way.

Great idea that I am going to try this year.

I have had students create blogs in the past and like Roslyn's comment - getting them to focus on the content and not just all the bells and whistles is an issue. I think the way around this is having students create their content first without telling them there will be a blog and then putting that content into a blog or similar type of format would be the way to go.

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