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.