Posted on : 17-07-2011 | By : rmmadden | In : Uncategorized
As I’ve said in my last couple of blog posts, the beginning of next year has been at the forefront of my mind these past couple of weeks. And with teachers reporting back at the beginning on August, it will continue to be. I can not begin to say how grateful I am for all the wonderful stuff I’ve learned these last two months through Twitter, TIE 2011, countless blogs, and engaging conversations. Which brings me to figuring out how to begin passing on all I have learned on to the teachers at my school without sending them into information overload.
After several starts, I think I finally have something that seems to balance my desire to pass on all I’ve learned without overwhelming the teachers and is somewhat coherently organized. Because it isn’t finished yet, I won’t be revealing it yet for public consumption, but I did want to share some of my thought processes in creating it for those of you who are looking to do the same.
Overall Organization - There are hundreds upon hundreds of useful tools out there. How does one organize them all? I’ve tried by learning mode (visual, audio, text, video and text, etc.). I’ve tried by subject. I was even going to try and do it by goal/guideline at one point. Regardless of how I tried it, some lists ended up having around 30 tools, which is simply too many on one page. What I finally settled on were broad categories around my goals, without actually referring to them: Connection and Collaboration tools (Twitter, Skype in the Classroom, Edmodo, etc.), Content Creation tools (Wordle, Dipity, Scratch, etc.), Google Tools, and Additional resources (dedicated to pointing teachers at places to find other tools). So far, I’m liking this structure and I think it will help point teachers in the direction they want to go.
Content Creation - What kept bothering me about this section was how many tools to include and how many of each type. I finally settled on a compromise of sorts. The first part of the compromise was to only include one tool of each type (for example Timeline creators), unless there was an overriding reason to include two because of unique features. One such tool type would be “talking” avatars. Voki and Blabberize do essentially the same thing, but in unique ways with Voki offering create-a-character and Blabberize offering the use of ANY image you can find. The second part of the compromise was that I would link to my LiveBinder page at the top and clearly state that there were PLENTY of more tools where those tools came from. This way, teachers have the option of asking me or going to the LiveBinder to see if, for example, there’s a graphic organizing tool that might suit their needs more than Cacoo.
Information to include with tools: This is a tough one for me. I always feel like I’m walking a fine-line between spoon-feeding teachers and not giving them enough information to be helpful. So rather than put a bunch of text with each tool, I compromised again by including links to resources that they can follow-up on on their own. I also wanted to be sure those that needed real basic information could get it, whereas more advanced users wouldn’t feel talked down to. Here’s my entry on Glogster for an example:
With this set-up, I like to think I’ve included enough information to help those that need hand-holding without insulting those who are more adept. At least, that’s the theory.
So, now it’s all about finishing to fill out the sections and get it ready by the first of August. As I said earlier, I will definitely post a link to it here and probably include some other reflections on its creation. A huge thanks goes to Beth Mossholder who has been kind enough to hold my hand and give me feedback and encouragement during this project.