Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blog, Wiki, or Doc? Which Is Right for You?

Earlier today someone (sorry, I forgot to note who) posted a link on Twitter to this chart made in Google Documents. I did a little digging and traced it back to Dr. Mark Wagner. Blogs, Wikis, or Docs: Which is right for your lesson? is a great chart outlining the features of each platform, each platform's drawbacks, and examples of each platform in use.

As always, if you were the person who posted the chart on Twitter, please let me know so that I can give you proper attribution.

Applications for Education
I'm often asked by teachers for my opinion as to whether they should use a blog or wiki for a particular class or project. If you find yourself also answering that type of question, Mark Wagner's Blogs, Wikis, or Docs chart could help you help others.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year
How To Do 11 Techy Things In the New School Year
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers

Chatterous - Create Private or Public Chat Rooms

Chatterous is a free platform for creating your own private or public chat rooms. Many other services also allow you to create your chat rooms. What makes Chatterous different is that you can join Chatterous rooms via cell phone, IM (Google Talk), or email. Should you decide to make your chat room public, Chatterous rooms can be embedded into your blog or website. My sample Chatterous chat room is embedded below.

Applications for Education
I've written about using backchannels in the classroom numerous times in the past, you can read a couple of those posts here and here. In short, a backchannel provides a place for your students to ask questions and post comments during lectures, film viewings, or other classroom activities. Chatterous could be a great tool for hosting a backchannel conversation.

Video - My Plan for Teaching Without Tech This Week

My students return to school this week, but the netbooks that we issue them for our 1:1 program won't be ready until the second week of school. In the video below I share how I'm using the ideas fromUnfolding the Napkin(affiliate link) during the first days of school in which my students don't have netbooks.

Here's the presentation I mention in the video. 18 Formats for Visual Thinking in the Classroom.

A Don't Miss Event for Math Teachers

Last week when I posted 38 Weeks of Algebra Lessons I raved about Dan Meyer. When I wrote about Math Class Needs a Makeover, I raved about Dan Meyer's work. Tonight at 9:30pm EST you can join Dan Meyer on Learn Central talking about his ideas for making mathematics instruction better. The session will be hosted in Elluminate so you will need install and allow Elluminate access to your computer if you want to participate in the interactive part of the session. You can find all of the details about tonight's session with Dan Meyer on Steve Hargadon's blog.

If you're not familiar with Dan Meyer's ideas about mathematics instruction, watch the video below.

One of My Favorite US History Resources

Last summer I learned about History Animated from the excellent blog Teaching the Civil War With Technology. I thought the animations might be a bit too simplistic for today's students, but I liked the concept so I tried it out with one of my classes last fall. To my surprise, my students absolutely loved the animations complete with their sound effects and marching visuals.

History Animated provides animations of the American Revolution, the US Civil War, and the US Pacific Campaign in WWII. In each of the three series of animations you will see the animated movement of armies displayed on a map. Each animation is accompanied by captions describing the strategies of the armies as well as the results and consequences of each battle.

All of the animations on History Animated are available for free viewing on the website. That said, if you would like a CD copy of the animations sent to you, you can obtain a copy for only $15.

Applications for Education
History Animated is a fantastic resource for teachers of US History. The animations will make great supplements to classroom instruction. The animations are a significant improvement over drawing or pointing to places on a map.