Any tech tools, resources, recommendations, including the vast world of online learning.

Hybrid Classroom & PBL

Blake Wiggs Instructional Coach

Does anyone know of any online collaborative tools that could be used to allow students to collaborate in a virtual/hybrid classroom? I am already familiar with online whiteboards, Google docs, collaborative presentations, blogs, and Glogster. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

I am currently teaching a cross-curricular course in a hybrid 1:1 classroom, and we are completely dependent on free collaborative tools. We have 50 students physically present at my school (Site A), and 50 students enrolled in our sister school (Site B); the World History & Environmental Science teacher facilitates instruction at Site A, and the English teacher facilitates instruction at Site B. Last year, we used Skype for audio/video communication and various other forms of disposable technology for student-student collaboration - being a PBL school, this was a bit challenging.

Of those tools, I would have to admit that Typewith.me was one of the most impressive pieces of disposable technology. Although basic, it allowed for students to be grouped heterogeneously across schools with ease – Unlike Google docs, the entire writing process was recorded, color coded, and required no usernames or passwords. It helped assess student participation in the writing process, and gave us the ability to provide meaningful feedback, in real time, via the chat feature.

Next year, it is our goal to make slight modifications to the blended curriculum & instructional design – primarily to the blending of the Earth & Environmental portion. Ultimately, I am most interested in any advice on tools and applications that would allow my students to collaborate on projects relating to GIS or geospatial data – maybe even using Google Sketch up?!?!?!

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High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

An exciting project!

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Hi Blake,
Sounds like a very exciting project. I'd value the opportunity to learn more about it. What do you mean by 'hybrid' 1:1? With my Google hat on for a second, did you consider setting up a Google Apps for Education site, which would alleviate some of the problems regarding groups that you mentioned?

Secondly, thanks for sharing Typewith.me - I haven't seen it before, but it looks brilliant. When it came to sharing the links with the groups of students, did you have a central place that you posted it to or did you email them?

Thirdly, regarding GIS - have you considered using google maps/ google earth. I've seen some incredible stuff done with it. Here's a link:
www.earthobservationday.com/docs/EOD_Lesson_Plan_1_6-8.pdf

And no, I don't get paid by google, though I know it might look like that!

4th grade techie teacher by day, mom of 3 and Masters student by night.

I am working on the same project!

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This is my website so far: mrshenrey.weebly.com

I am looking at using livebinders.com, adobeconnect, voicethread, and wikispaces. Also look to surveymonkey for assessments.

I will look into typewithme

4th grade techie teacher by day, mom of 3 and Masters student by night.

Forgot one

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I forgot Moodle! Its open source.

Instructional Coach

Quote: What do you mean by

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What do you mean by 'hybrid' 1:1?

Keith,

I am calling it a hybrid 1:1 environment simply because I am not sure what to call it. Our school is a 1:1 school (one computer for every student)and the learning environment is a blend of face-to-face and distance education. Last year, we used Skype to deliver instruction between the two sites.

And yes, I simply adore Google, but I am trying to find other resources that maximize authentic student-student collaboration and reflection.

Cheers,

Blake

Instructional Coach

Also...

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Quote:

Thirdly, regarding GIS - have you considered using google maps/ google earth. I've seen some incredible stuff done with it. Here's a link:

www.earthobservationday.com/docs/EOD_Lesson_Plan_1_6-8.pdfAnd no, I don't get paid by google, though I know it might look like that!

Keith,

Thanks for the resource!! I am definitely going to use more of Google Earth this year - I am also trying to develop a project using Google Sketch Up.

Cheers,

Blake

Instructional Coach

Quote: With my Google hat on

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Quote:

With my Google hat on for a second, did you consider setting up a Google Apps for Education site, which would alleviate some of the problems regarding groups that you mentioned?

Keith,

I just checked out Google apps for education...I am falling in love.

Instructional Coach

Quote: This is my website so

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Quote:

This is my website so far: mrshenrey.weebly.com

I am looking at using livebinders.com, adobeconnect, voicethread, and wikispaces. Also look to surveymonkey for assessments.

I will look into typewithme

Amber,

It is nice to see others working on a similar project. Check out Collaborize Classroom - it is great LP for enhancing classroom discussions in a private, online environment. Also, the student participation reports will make your life easy. http://collaborizeclassroom.com/

Cheers,

Blake

Educational Consultant-former teacher in high school

Interactive tools

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There are a number of interactive tools that you can use to facilitate PBL learning in the classroom. I ran a pbl and global studies class online and found there were a number of useful tools that could be used to create projects, bring in resources, and provide collaboration at the highest academic levels.
For asynchronous communication there have to be a number of tools available in the system: a. A place for private group discussion b. a place for students to post resources/research and review each other's work c. a place to post their work and have others review it. d. the ability to post tech tools such as video's, audios, web pages, etc. e. email. There also needs to be some synchronous tools a. chat, b. real time desk top management c. whiteboards d. video/ppt share areas e. small group or individual areas

The best tools I found for this fall in the following categories: Blackboard allowed most of the asynchronous group work that includes the group sharing, resource management, chat, and some live discussion. For real time work Illuminate and Centra symposium were incredible real time tools.
For the most part I found google a bit too clunky and not as an effective tool but not a bad one.

Educational Consultant-former teacher in high school

Use your librarian to help...

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One of the most overlooked people who can help you with your project is your librarian. The new role of the librarian is much more than just ordering and checking in and out books. The new librarian is a “project facilitator” in a digital world. This person is responsible for helping students and teachers connect to the outside world with comprehensive projects, activities and technological media. This type of library is needed not only in a blended learning school but online as well. As one colleague put it, “Well don’t the students just use Google?”
Librarians need to be trained and schools need to adjust to this new role. One of the most effective library teams is George and Carolyn Breaz at the Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada. They have rebuilt the whole concept of a library and librarian. It did not come easy but is now an accepted part of the culture of this Blue Ribbon School. They have created the ultimate digital library, where students and teachers not only have access to the outside world but are trained on how to do projects/activities, help the teachers facilitate the projects so that the teachers can teach and not worry about the technology they need to do their projects.
Do you need this type of person and help in your library? I would think so! Do we really need librarians? Yes, if they are as capable as the Breaz’s are in their school.

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