January 5, 2012

Top 3 Social Classroom Sites

These days students are running out of excuses for being unaware classroom assignments/information.  With the creation of Learning Management Systems such as Finalsite and Edline, students have the opportunity to keep up with class and their grades even when they are not in school.  For those of you looking to use a Learning Management solution (to post homework, important dates, study guides) such as Edline or in addition to Edline, here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Edmodo is a great site for teachers looking to create a centralized hub for their students on the web.  Within the class environment, teachers can post discussion questions for students to respond, ask questions and have students vote for their response.  On Edmodo students can even submit assignments (any file type as an upload) to the teacher for grading and then as the teacher you can turn around and grade the assignment for the student to see.  Edmodo also offers teachers a calendar option where important dates can be shared.  Another feature of Edmodo is that parents can also have access and see what their child is working on in school.  I really like this site and can see it being more and more widely used in the near future.  Check out the video below for more information...

2.  Collaborize Classroom is another space for your class on the web.  The purpose of this private online community is to give your students a place to engage in online discussion, assignments, and activities.  As the teacher you can create a discussion as a yes/no question where students justify their position but you can also have them offer their opinion in the form of a forum which allows for student discussion on a topic or question.  With Collaborize Classroom you can also include images, video, etc. for students to use in their reflection of your discussion starter.  This all happens right within your private learning space on Collaborize Classroom.  Check out the video below for a great demonstration of how this all works:

3.  Wikis and Websites are another great way to get your class online.  There are so many options to review before finalizing your choice but I can tell you that my favorites for their ease of use are definitely Google Sites and Wikispaces.  Using Google Sites you can create a website where students can access all of your class materials.  You can also incorporate other Google apps such as docs, calendar, forms, etc. which will allow you much more flexibility with your site.  Google also gives you the freedom to edit the code for the page and include widgets from third party sources to enhance the functionality of your site.  Being that they are so popular, you can also find a number of excellent tutorials online for Google Sites in order to get your classroom up and running.  Wikispaces is another excellent place for fostering a web-based classroom.  Using Wikispaces you can create a site similar to a website like a  Google Sites but you can also create a discussion board and give students the ability to manage their own part of the website.  For more information about how to use Google Sites check out this tutorial.  For a great look at Wikispaces you can visit this walkthrough which has more information.

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