So for my major project I am looking to evaluate and critique 4 applications that may (or may not) be an enhancement to a classroom environment.
As I have stated in earlier Blog posts, I have an intern in my classroom this year and he, as well as his practice, are both heavily influenced by technology. Unfortunately I do not come from the same starting point as him. I never had a video game console when I was young, and still don’t. To be honest this often solicits the same reaction as a second ear on my elbow…(as if the first wasn’t enough). At times this feels as though I missed the digital daycare that fosters the comfort with which some people interact with this ‘new-fangled technoloogy’. My intern (David Brown…give him a job BTW) is very interested, and active (there is a difference) in the gamification of learning and incorporating the idea of game based learning into the classroom. I mulled the idea of this as a major project theme, but still do not have solid enough footing on the ‘silicon turf’ to run with that (sorry Katia). However, with some encouragement, my Twitter has taken off and I am a little more familiar with the haunts of the interweb that relate to education. After some searching I found that I am person who really wants technology to work for me rather than with me. I would like my tech to serve my students and myself rather than us serve it…if that is possible (insert Big Brother reference here __________________)
So I chose two categories to focus on:online collaboration and engagement. The second is probably a little vague to be a category, so I will focus on that first.
Engagement to me is something that kids use that provides some level of immediate feedback. The two applications that I will be reviewing are at opposite ends of the spectrum, at first glance. On one end Socrative provides content assessment but allows the inclusion of images and a variety of responses. Socrative allows for immediate student and teacher feedback and provides the educator with records of student success. Many great possibilities for this app lie behind the obvious assessment value. The other Kahoot creates a more class based response environment that hints at the future of ‘gamification’ in education. Perhaps, less formal than Socrative, Kahoot is probably a bigger hit, initially, with students than Socrative…but that depends on the application and creativity of the educator.
Collaboration is something I would really like to foster in the second half of my teaching career. Popplet and Beenpod are two applications that are relatively new and are looking to become a staple in the education environment. Popplet is brainstorming / concept map generating app that also provides students the opportunity to generate concept webs with others via the web. Many possibilities here for in classroom to in’ternational’ community building in the classroom, promoted by such practices as Mystery Skype and to some degree Google classroom. The benefits of this teaching / learning strategy are well laid out by Kathy Schrock here. Also inluded on Schrock’s website are models for mapping and a variety of other application options I will not be looking at such as: Coggle.it and Lucidchart. All worth checking out. Beenpod , is a collaborative web surfing tool. Students interact and work together to find information. Think Webquests together. I havent really delved too far into this one yet, but the potential looks substantial…
So check back to see the individual app reviews and feedback from myself, my students and hopefully my co-teachers. Maybe even get a little closer to my resident status…?