Saturday, March 17, 2012

Continuing the GAME Plan

Last week I determined the two best strategies to explore would be to create a class website in addition to integrating blogging as a collaborative tool.  One of my main priorities with this plan is to create something that is manageable enough for me to continue.  The website creation source and collaboration site have to be something that I can become comfortable enough to troubleshoot with the students as well as easy for me to integrate into my current habits.  Unfortunately, if something is intimidating or too time consuming, I may start the practice but will not maintain it. 

Therefore, the main part of my resources will be teachers that already utilize these functions in their daily routines.  By discussing their routines, having them available to model the process, and, hopefully, give honest reflections on their experience with each product, I will be able to better determine which tools to use.  I will also turn to the students as a resource.  Who better to tell me what they are using in other classes that works well? What is hard to learn?  What is hard to access and navigate?  I may find that the sites teachers favor are not exactly the most student friendly.  I may also discover which students could take an active role in creating and managing these sites.

So far I have been able to discuss collaborative sites with some of my fellow teachers.  For the most part Edmodo and Moodle have risen to the top.  Unfortunately, I have tried both with minimal success.  With Edmodo there were too many occasions where I could not format the discussions or the groups the way I wanted to even with colleague support.  This was enough for me to stop using that particular site.  With Moodle, I became frustrated with the minimal amount of space a student could use to submit assignments.  Also, and more importantly, Moodle was too dependent on our school network, which is unreliable at best.  In the meantime, I have discovered another site called Collaborize Classroom.  I have not had the opportunity to use it with students or found other teachers that have used it.  If other options are not brought to my attention, that will be my next step.

As far as the class website goes, I will be contacting a fellow art teacher in my district that teaches at the high school level.  She currently manages a site that does everything I want a site to do; communicate what is happening in the room to parents and community, post videos of demonstrations and routines, and display artwork created by students.  I also plan on soliciting help from the students once again as I feel having a student or students compile the information and create the videos would be academically beneficial for all parties involved. 

I am hoping that as the conversation continues with my colleagues and on this blog that additional suggestions will come along.  It would be easy for me to surf the web and find possibilities, and as a last resort, I will.  However, knowing that I need modeling and dialogue when learning something new, I would like to experiment with something that others, preferably very helpful ‘others’, have used. 


  1. Hello Mrs. Jones,

    Like you, I have used students as a resource to help their classmates create or resolve issues toward technology use. It is an ongoing process I have to repeat ever quarter with new students, which doesn't seem to stick. At the moment, I am using Edmodo and have also struggled with certain aspects, but continue to try. I am curious about the Collaborize classroom website you mentioned and will investigate.

    Thank you the suggestions and thoughts concerning your Game Plan.

  2. Good Morning Mrs. Jones -

    Having another teacher at your district that can ssist you with your website is a valuable asset that will be a huge help. Do not use their help too much! Getting your students involved in the creation and adaptation of the website is also a wonderful idea. Essentially, it is their website, and if they are part of the creation of it, they will feel that sense of pride and ownership, which will take it to a whole other level of success.

    Of the collaborative sites you attempted to use, I had previous experience with Moodle, and it was not successful for the purpose of our group. The size had contributed to the lack of success; however, it seemed like physically sharing and meeting face-to-face was an option that was simple and worked well enough to the point that it became difficult to find a better option.

    Thanks for sharing your update. In the words of Walt Disney - Keep moving forward.

    Todd Deschaine

  3. Mrs. Jones,

    That is great that you are trying multiple sites to see what works best for you and your students. I do have an Edmodo account and find it helpful as a question forum if sudents have questions or comments they would like to post. My county found this website successful and partnered up with the site for more control. We also have teacher content groups created to share ideas. However, it only works if you have the code to access the information. Other teachers at my school also use or as their website. We are required to have a class website and these are to top two that the teachers use. You might would like to try some of these other sites to use. I wish you all the luck in finding the right class website to meet yours and you students' needs.