Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vanilla Forums - Open Source Forum Software

Vanilla Forums is free, open source software that anyone can use to host an online message board community. As you might imagine message boards powered by Vanilla allow your users to create member profiles, give you administrative control, and the ability to create sub-forums. Vanilla Forums software can be downloaded and installed on your own server(s) or you can use one of the hosting packages offered by Vanilla. The hosting packages range in price from free to $199.

Applications for Education
Since Ning went to a fee-based model, many people have been looking for alternatives. If you have someone in your school that can install Vanilla Forums on a server, Vanilla could be a good way to build a school message board. You could also explore the free hosting package offered by Vanilla to see if that suits your needs.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Ning Ends Free Networks - Try These Alternatives
Lefora - Create a Free Message Board Forum

Bloom's According to Pirates of the Caribbean

Ed tech guru Steven Anderson shared the following video this morning on his Facebook page. The video is a humorous mash-up of scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean that demonstrate the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Enjoy!

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Seven Videos All Educators Should Watch
15 TED Talks to Watch Before 2010
3 Common Craft Videos That Should Be In Your Training Library

Two Examples of Backchannels in Elementary School

Yesterday, during my Reform Symposium presentation on the use of backchannels in the classroom there were some questions about the appropriateness of backchannels for elementary schools. Having not been in an elementary school since I was an elementary school student, I referred the audience to some resources that I thought were appropriate for that age group. I also mentioned Silvia Tolisano's work with using backchannels in the fifth grade.

This morning when I checked my Twitter account and found that Ira Socol had sent me a link to a great blog post about using backchannels in the first grade. That post written by Aviva Dunsiger includes an explanation of how she used Today's Meet with her students. The post also includes her reflections on how the students communications changed as they spent more time using Today's Meet.

If you're an elementary school teacher wondering if using a backchannel chat is appropriate for your students or you're not sure how to implement its use, please check out Silvia's post and Aviva's post on the topic.