This is my second blog post of the new school year, and I'd like to bring to attention some new Web 2.0 tools I've been exploring recently. I often enjoy Googling in the random 20-30 minutes I find myself not occupied (which is often because I was an idiot when scheduling this semester, so I have a lot of wasted time during the day, but not enough to get any substantial homework done). Today I spent about 2 hours exploring the different applications and Web 2.0 tools I discovered through the Discovery Education webpage. There are so many to try out, I couldn't decide where to start! So I did what I always do when I need to make a hasty decision. *Close eyes, jumble options, and point*
Lo and behold! I discovered Glogster, a social network that utilizes interactive multimedia. Images, text, music and video, can come together on one platform to create a "glog" or graphical blog. Essentially, a glog is like a virtual posterboard. Users can post images, photos, videos, music files, text and numerous other multimedia to create a unique page all their own. I made one as an example, and you can view it here.
As a future secondary education teacher, I know how important the digital world is to these "digital natives." And, from what I have seen, sometimes text-only is not enough to express what somebody has to say. So glogs provide additional forms of expression, allowing alternative media to be compiled and displayed in one easy-to-access space. What's more, the controls allow you to customize color, background, font, and artwork, as well as music and video, so anyone can make a glog entirely their own.
This might sound like a bunch of flashy, fancy fluff, and you might prefer a regular blog format, but I see a lot of potential for these glogs, especially for students who are visually driven learners. There is even a Glogster EDU, entirely devoted to use in the classroom. Glogs could be used in presentations, as a way for students to make a special page devoted to a subject, a person, or anything else they might think of. My example blog is all about me, but students could make a glog about, say, Shakespeare (come on, I'm an English teacher, of course I'm going to mention him), or the scientific method, or, you name it!
Basic Glogster for teachers is free, and it allows you to do a lot with graphical blogs within your own classroom, and beyond. Students also have the opportunity to save their glogs after a project is done, go back and modify, and improve them and share with others online! Here is a video that gives you a little glimpse of what Glogster can do:
Ok, so that soundtrack might be questionable, but Glogster really IS awesome! I think it has the potential to be very useful in the classroom, if students are led through a tutorial by their teacher. Like my Literacy Education professor Dr. Tidwell always said, "Students are more likely to take the lesson seriously if YOU are going through the steps for instruction with them, instead of just listing them on the whiteboard or projector." So, have your students do as you do, and make a glog as a class first!
Mr. Greer's junior British literature students at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Pennsylvania are using Glogster to make visual accompaniments for a graduation-required oral presentation. Take a look at what they're doing.
After looking at Glogster, what do you think? Does it have a lot to offer as a presentation tool, or does it seem like more of a frivolous time-waster, with pretty backgrounds and music players, more of a distraction for students than an enrichment tool? What areas of education would Glogster be most appropriate for? What grade levels? Tell me, when and why would YOU use Glogster? Don't be shy, comment!