The new age of resumes and portfolios is a website. With social sites like LinkedIn.com and Twitter, students need to be aware of the power of the web. Building a website has become a matter of dragging and dropping. Coding and HTML knowledge are not necessary; although, knowledge in those areas give a student a healthy advantage. It is best to start small, but get your students moving on the right path with one of these web creation tools.
Since Palm Springs Unified already makes use of the Google domain, why not use Google sites? Since students will be creating and storing their documents, presentation, and spreadsheets on their Google drive, it is simply a matter of drag and drop or copy/paste for students to display their work. Google sites also quickly embeds materials that students may have created on other sites, such as VoiceThread or Animoto. This makes Google sites a simple solution to portfolios and resumes. It's the perfect format for students to present themselves to future employees.
Weebly is yet another solution to this dilemma. This site is incredibly easy to use. It's just a matter of drag and drop as well as copy/paste. Weebly also has the added benefit of creating a url that is relatively easy to remember. An example would be "studentnameportfolio.weebly.com." Furthermore, students can continue to add to their portfolio as they continue through school and add throughout their scholastic career. As we outlined last week, blogging is a great way to address common core writing requirements. Weebly offers an easy way to get started with blogging. Watch the tutorial below and see if it is something that would benefit your students.
Common Core Connection
Common Core requires students to know the 4 C's: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Having students create an online portfolio that addresses these requirements is an effective approach. When students incorporate all of the tools that you use in your classroom, they have evidence of the 4 C's.
Get your download on!
Chromebooks and the Chrome browser continue to evolve in the education space. There are many apps being created to fit a wide variety of needs. Looking for some free thinking map creation tools?
Thinking map apps we like.
Images are links. Use Google Chrome browser to install apps.
Common Core Connection
It is easy to find apps such as these that will help you achieve your Common Core goals. All of these apps will help you to ENGAGE your students and support both your own and student productivity.
Of course, these concept map apps will enable your students to create
thinking maps that define context, develop language, classify and order
concepts, analyze cause and effects, and see analogies. These
"visual maps" will enable your students to organize thinking about complex
relationships so they can be understood, explained and presented.
How to Begin Blogging with Your Students
Blogging is a written website that expresses personal opinions, activities, and experiences. Blogging has been around for awhile, and there are many tools for the students to use. It is not so much about the tool but about the conversations to be had. Is there a political issue that has the class fuming? Have them air out their opinions in a controlled web space. Have students raise awareness about an issue that is going on in an underprivileged nation. Have them reflect on their lessons. Get the students discussing, get the students learning, get the students publishing.
Blogging meets CCSS.ELA-Literacy in Writing, Standard 6 which states: Use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing, and to interact and collaborate with others.
Why not add it to your digital toolbox?
Start with a simple tool like TodaysMeet.com. This website can be accessed with all devices. There is no app. They just need to point their device to TodaysMeet.com/yourtopicgoeshere. The students can then have an ongoing conversation about anything. Once the conversation is over the transcript can then be saved and posted anywhere on the web or printed out for notes/records. A key management piece is teaching students not to use "text talk" and use complete sentences, as well as correct grammar usage and mechanics. Obviously there are some behavioral management things to consider with cyber-bullying and the like, but common sense media does a great job of addressing those issues.
Todaysmeet.com also gives voice to those students that would not necessarily raise their hand in class but are vigorous texting machines. Socratic method works well in this format as well and students are more likely to be engaged if they have a device they can use to respond. TodaysMeet has a really small learning curve here so give this tool a shot.
Common Sense Media
Using TodaysMeet is a great way to introduce blogging to your students. It is also a perfect time to begin teaching cyber safety and digital citizenship.
Here are some great lessons to do with your class as you introduce blogging to your students:
K-2 Screen Out the Mean
3-5 Super Digital Citizen
6-8 Forms and Norms
9-12 My Online Code
KidBlog is an awesome tool! Over 3.7 million students across the globe are using Kidblog, because it has the features teachers and students want.
Designed by teachers, KidBlog is safe (COPPA compliant), simple, and robust. Teachers set up a class blogging site where students are given individual accounts. Students can then publish posts and participate in academic discussions within a secure classroom blogging community.
You can use KidBlog to create classroom discussions, practicing writing skills, create an e-portfolio, reflect on learning, and formatively assess your student's writing. Give your students the chance to share their writing with an authentic audience!
Google Apps for Education
Palm Springs Unified School District is officially a Google Apps For Education (GAFE) school. All of our students have Google accounts with 30 GB of space. As Educators, this means we can create great content on the web and truly collaborate with our students. Google has been developing their educational sector and is strongly advocating to get into the classroom. Google has definitely infiltrated the classroom with the introduction of the Chromebook. The Chromebook offers an inexpensive way for districts to get technology into the classroom, preparing students for the 21st century.
Google Drive has many tools inside of its suite of apps. We have written a tutorial that outlines how to use some of those web apps. One of the more basic apps within Google Drive is their word processing app called Google Docs. Google docs allows for ultimate collaboration. Students can edit assignments simultaneously. Projects and research papers can now be written as a group, without students having to meet face to face. Students can be in the comfort of their own homes and work on their assignments together, and all they need is an internet connection and their computer/tablet.
Google Docs also automatically saves a copy of your work every six seconds or so. The days of losing your work are over. Not to mention the revision history feature allows you to go back in time to use an older copy of any document, just in a case a students "accidentally" deletes their work.
Common Core Connection
Research is a large focus of the new common core implementation within Google Docs. Students open the research tool, and a search bar opens on the right. Students can seamlessly cite their resources when doing their research in MLA, APA, and Chicago style formats. This is also a great way to reinforce copyright laws as well.