My overall idea is to create an online classroom — this is done in college, and most colleges use the blackboard system, where the motto is to “Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.”
If college professors use an online classroom to accomplish those three things, then those three ides are valuable to a pubilc school as well — To “educate” is to inform others who, in turn, learn, understand, and practice. To “innovate” is to change the common practice to meet (if not exceed) current needs. To be “everywhere” means that this is an opportunity for students — that they can access information from any station and at any time.
I’d like to create an online classroom where I can hand out assignments to students, where they can practice the work in my class in addition to others, and where the work is always available to them. Oh, and I need to be able to do this for free.
I was going to share some of the resources that you can use in creating a similar classroom, but Dana Huff already went ahead and did that for me with some very useful and very informative posts about Wikis for Educators (for teachers who are interested in congregating their resources and their students into one place online), Blog Software for Educators (for those teachers interested in using blogs as a platform to access and exhibit student learning), and Blog Hosting for Educators (because you need a place to store that blog).
I’ve been throwing about some ideas here for a while about this imaginary classroom, and tried out several services to see what would fit my needs, and what services would be the simpest to use — simple not only in terms of my own use, but when it comes to the students and other teachers using the software. Keep in mind, I’m trying to find a way to connect all classes toegther through a Language Arts class in a technology-centered environment. After a bit of tinkering around, here’s what I chose to use:
- I used an Edublogs blog
- Threw into the pages an account at blogmarks — an online office where students can create and save (up to 1 gig!) word documents, excel-esque spreadhseets, and slideshows.
- Added a calendar and linked the RSS feed into the sidebar.
Pretty simple, and only took a few hours to link all together: blog, composition software, assignment calendar. In addition, edublogs allows users to activate a plugin. Talkr turns your blog posts into .mp3 versions read by a female voice — this was added to help students who learn better through adio (they can listen to my daily assignments while they surf the web).
Why don’t you have a look around the imaginary classroom I’ve tentatively named think:room.