Last week I posted a survey asking people for feedback on the tools I could use to set up my final project. The following in a discussion of the tools suggested:
A forum for hosting book reviews:
I actually have used Shelfari before. It was actually tools like Shelfari and Goodreads that got me thinking about ways for students to share what they are reading and to share book reactions. However, both these platforms require participants to be 13 years old (which cuts out most of our students) and require participants to have email addresses (which my board does not have for our students.) Aside from those two very important points, neither of these platforms support audio or video uploads, which is one of the most important aspects of what I am looking for.
Ning was suggested on the basis of it being “closed.” First of all, Ning is a pay site. I do not want to commit any kind of funds to this project because I want this to be a long-term project. I would like this project to be sustainable even if there is staff and admin turn-over. I have never used Ning, and honestly cannot comment properly on whether or not this would be a good forum for my ideas. From what I could see (without actually signing up for a site), students would need email addresses to sign in as members. This creates a problem for our school. It does support video (although no mention of audio was made on the information pages). However, it offers a live chat option which I do not want to have available. So, because of cost and added feature, I would say that Ning is out too.
I actually know nothing of groups. I tried to ask for some feedback on Twitter about how people used it and didn’t get much back. I did some Google searches and couldn’t come up with much. What little I understand is that it is similar to Ning, but free, to a certain extent. Again, I am not certain, but I think that people need email addresses to be able to become members of a group.
I had never heard of Edmodo. First, I watched the video provided on the Edmodo homepage. It sounds like it might have potential. Then I read this blog post, about an elementary school using Edmodo as a forum for Literature circles. This got me even more excited. I started looking at the guide provided on their website (that you can access without actually signing up for an account, which I really appreciate!) I came across this in the guide about student sign-up:
Notice that students DO NOT need email addresses to sign up, only to teacher created code! That is good to know! I was thinking that I could create groups based on reading levels or interest levels that students could post to… Later in the guide, I noticed this:
That is exactly what I wanted. I want students to be able to submit things to me, and for me to approve the posts to a “public” page that other students can see. I am really excited to explore this forum… I kept reading and there is also the option of “co-teaching” a group which means that if teachers in my school would like to have their students do a book reaction as part of a classroom assignment, they could correct, edit, and publish without having to come through me. This is definitely a tool that I want to play around with!
5) Blog (wordpress or kidblog)
Blogs were suggested by several people. This would allow me to control what gets posted, what doesn’t as a moderator. I could organize the posts with the use of tags. In Kidblogs, the students would not need an email address to post but I’m pretty sure that in wordpress, you need an account based on email to contribute. In Kidblogs, the students cannot add tags to their posts, so the posts cannot be organized in any particular way… Each of these options poses its own challenges for what I want to do.
What do you think? I really want to investigate Edmodo further. Did I post false information or do you know more about these tools? Please share your knowledge! Thanks.