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Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: collaboration

Google Sites in the Classroom

Thinking of creating a classroom website, or having your students create sites for themselves? Watch 9 year olds Grace and Sophie explain how easy it is to do with Google Sites.

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Collaborative Writing – Fifth Graders and Google Docs

I cannot tell you how excited my 5th graders were to write today. Each of our students in grade 5, for the first time, now has their own Google Apps account and today we dove straight in to collaborating on a personal narrative piece they had previously written in Microsoft Word. The process was as follows: Upload, share, advise, revise.

Upload

After logging in, the students first uploaded their document into Google Docs, named it, and read over it to make sure that everything looked good.

Share

The students then added their collaboration partner by giving them the ability to view and comment on their document. 

At this point, they also added their teacher.

Advise

Each student then went back to their Google Docs account and found a new document from their friend waiting for them. After opening it, they were then able to read through and make comments.

Revise

The best part of the day was seeing how enthusiastic the kids were to go back in to fix and improve their writing. After the students made changes to their original piece, they asked if they could add more editors to their document who could review and make comments on their piece. Here’s a short, raw video of part of the process. My favorite part is at 1:25 when a student enthusiastically yells out to the class, “Everybody, everybody, get on mine!”

That’s exciting writing!

Technology Enables a World-Wide Virtual Choir

If you haven’t seen Eric Witacre’s amazing global video project, Virtual Choir – Lux Aurumque,” it’s a must. It is an amazing example of how technology can bring people together from around the world to collaborate and produce something beautiful.

Take a few minutes to watch.

In a recent Ted Talk, Witacre explains how this project came to fruition and what he is doing for part 2.0:

Global Book Club

What do you get when you connect elementary students from New York and Singapore with the single focus of books? You get the Global Book Club (GBC), a Shelfari group organized by George Haines. GBC currently stands at 76 members of students and teachers from different classes from the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Singapore American School. Each week students login to their Shelfari group and have discussions about a variety of books which are self-selected by the students. The discussions are started by the students about books they’ve recently read, and if other students have read the same book, they chime in to the thread with their two cents worth.
Here are some examples:


Students love adding books to their shelves and sharing what they thought of each book. Knowing that they have a real, genuine audience truly motivates them to write more detailed reviews and improve their spelling, grammar and word choice. Being that this project also emphasizes discussions, we encourage the students to ask questions and keep the conversations going. Students also discovered some new books they probably wouldn’t have ever found, after reading some reviews written by other students.

A Mirage of Facts and a Virtual Vocab Wall

Wallwisher is my best friend. I realize this sounds terribly sad and geeky, but it’s not every day that a website comes along that is easy to use, innovative, collaborative, educational, and free. Beyond all that, Wallwisher is easy to moderate, and there are no ads. (I feel like I need to give one of those, “I am in no way connected to, or affiliated with” disclaimers).  If you have never seen Wallwisher, it can be described as an online bulletin board where students are able to place virtual post-its with textual information, photos, video, and audio. I can think of a zillion ways to use Wallwisher in the classroom, and below are a few projects I recently did with fourth and fifth grade classrooms that show the benefits of Web 2.0 collaboration.

A Mirage of Facts

Recently, the students in one of my fourth grade classes were learning about hot and cold deserts and  I wanted them to begin researching and collecting facts about different types of desert environments. The initial plan was to gather research facts and write them out in a Word document. However, instead of having them do this, I decided to create a desert fact wall that they could all collaborate on.  As students located interesting facts, they would post their fact along with a picture. The motivation of seeing their facts and pictures on a collaborative website was amazing. I had students asking if they could add more. And more!  As the research continued and students added additional facts to the wall, they began to find more obscure and unique facts to add, all of this without me giving them any direction or push.

Virtual Vocab Wall and Writing Tips

Students in one of my fifth grade classes are very much into building their vocabularies. I found that a lot of students were looking up the same words as their classmates and saving them in their own personal lists. There was no collaboration or working together to learn more. We now have a vocab word wall, which allows students to post new words and definitions as they come across them from wherever they are.

Yet another class decided to create a wall with a collection of their tips for becoming a good writer. The wall has several great tips from students, for students, and they have excitedly shared this with other classes in the spirit of collaboration and learning from one another.

Teacher Tip

When I first set up a wall, I leave it open to anyone and have my entire class add to it at the same time. After the session is over, I either close it entirely, or moderate it so that any new additions to the wall have to be approved by me before they go “live.”

Simply put, with Wallwisher, educators have a powerful friend to help students seamlessly collaborate and keep their information organized and accessible in a fun, motivating place.  Students continue to add to the walls long after they are created, and others can benefit from the information displayed in a single, user-friendly place.

Resources

Interesting ways to use Wallwisher in the Classroom

Desert Fact Wall

Vocabulary Wall

What Makes a Good Writer Wall

Similar Wallwisher Sites

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