Teachers Toys & Tech: Glogster

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While I want nothing more than a seamless transition into the world known as web 2.0, I can’t help but feel deflated every time I attempt the next program that will make it’s way to the latest edition of “top ten web tools for your classroom”.  Calling myself a tech guru may be an overstatement.  Yet classifying myself as a technophobe would simply be false identification.  I fall somewhere in between as I imagine most others do, but just can’t be convinced that these programs truly ENHANCE student learning outcomes.  So, here is a quick rundown of my experiences with Glogster.  The platform for online multimedia posters promises to engage, inspire, excite, and connect.  While my students were inititally excited, the engage and inspire pieces fell flat (as almost every other tech-based activity).

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Project set up:  Students enrolled in my glogster class, allowing every student to have a page.  I set up classes to organize my students.  Together, they all created a Native American Project assignment.  Students were directed to create an argument (or thesis statement) that would be proven through images and text displayed on a poster.

Successes:  Students were able to integrate resources from school databases (very helpful), students were able to navigate the program on their own – very little instruction needed, very intuitive.

Struggles:  many of the final products look like garbage.  I can’t lie, they just didn’t turn out so great.  I’m not sure how much learning took place.  They simply selected images and threw them onto a poster.  While they were expected to connect the image to the thesis statement, through a caption, I can’t say my students “own” their new knowledge.  I’m not sure how memorable the assignment truly was.

Suggestions:  Make sure students can import images from reliable sources that relate to their topic.  Make sure students create a purpose for the poster.  Give students free reign to explore the program and make what they want of it.  Require students to create a works cited list for the resources they use — practice academic integrity.

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