Welcome to the fifth in a series of PBL Mania Posts . For the last few weeks I am celebrating Project Based Learning. In this post I will introduce you to some outstanding online tools found on the web that will put kids in the center of PBL. Before reading please take a moment to subscribe to this 21centuryedtech Blog by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans. You will not want to miss this series or future posts involving STEM, Flipping the Classroom, Technology Integration, Common Core, and 21st Century Skills, So Sign Up Now! As always… thanks and have a great week. – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)
In this post I am going to introduce you to some resources that can clearly put students at the center of their own education. Project Based Learning is built on a strong foundation of student voice, choice, and input. There are various on-line platforms that use multiple devices to allow for student opinion, reflection, and feedback. Please enjoy this sample of sites covering a variety of techniques that will put students at the center.
Socrative – This is an amazing online tool that promises to engage the class using any device. Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Spark discussion with open ended questions, look for student understanding, provide formative assessment, and even integrate a few games and Wordle. This is a tool that is definitely worth a closer look.
Remind101 – Now you can manage your class and ongoing PBL projects.Remind101 is a safe/free way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. First, it is private; teachers never see students’ phone numbers. Students never see theirs. Second, it is easy to use because students and parents sign up by sending a text message or email. They never visit the site! Third, it is easy to use. Teachers can manage up to 10 classes. They can instantly send a message to a class of students or their parents. Students and parents will receive it by text message or email. Fourth, teachers can schedule important PBL benchmarks, assessments, and presentations for later broadcasts. Last, teachers will always have a history of what and to whom they send messages.
Survey Monkey – What a great tool to survey the class to gauge interest, understanding, and provide their input. This could be valuable in assessing end of project by getting data from students and all other stakeholders in the project.
Poll Everywhere – On the surface, Poll Everywhere is a simple application that works well for live audiences using mobile devices like phones, tablets, and of course computers. Students participate by visiting a fast mobile-friendly web page, sending text messages, or using Twitter. Instructions are displayed on-screen. The poll that is embedded within the presentation or web page will update in real time. Wonderful to survey for understanding, incorporate for discussion in a PBL lesson, and get feedback to promote student voice and choice.
Google Forms – Let’s not forget the power of Google Docs for assisting students in collaboration. Part of the Google Doc feature is Google Forms. Yes, another polling tool that will allow for data collection. It will even export to a spreadsheet file.
Soapbox – Investigate this tool that is a controlled digital space, designed to improve student engagement by breaking down the barriers students face when deciding whether or not to participate in class. It clearly gives teachers a concrete assessment of student comprehension, in real time. You might especially enjoy the barometer, a great way to get a quick temperature reading on a PBL Unit.
VoiceThread – With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). You can share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too. Users can doodle while commenting, use multiple identities, and pick which comments are shown through moderation. VoiceThreads can even be embedded to show and receive comments on other websites and exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies. VoiceThread inspires collaboration and expression using 5 innovative ways to comment. Collect the voices of an entire group on a single slide by computer microphone, telephone, text, audio file (MP3/WAV), and webcam. Simple voice and video commenting takes place right in your web browser with no software to install.
Kidblog – Imagine a blog hosting service that was built for classroom teachers and their students. Contemplate a service that was designed specifically for teachers who want to provide each student with his or her own unique blog. Think about a blog site that allows teachers to monitor and control all publishing activity within the classroom blogging community and does not require student email accounts. The activity of blogging to an authentic audience will empower students while putting them at the center of learning. Check out my complete write up of Kidblog.
Classchatter – Another blog site devoted to education with security features that are useful to the classroom. This site is definitely worth a visit with some added features that just might pump up the Project Based Learning in your classroom.
Thanks for joining me and for learning about Project Based Learning. I hope you have enjoyed this series of posts dedicated to PBL integration with technology and online possibilities. In the coming weeks you will discover posts devoted to 21st century education including such topics as Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy. I enjoy learning from all of you. Also, remember to subscribe to this 21centuryedtech Blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. I hope you enjoy your journey of student centered resources available on-line to enhance PBL. Have a great week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)