By Christina Tarabicos
Here are some of my favorite four websites:
http://www.glogster.com/ Glogster is not listed on the list, but it is a really great way to get the students thinking graphically. It allows the students to create mind maps, collages, summaries, and more, all in a visual format. It’s incredibly easy for the students to use, for me to grade, and most of all, it’s free! Glogster lets the students be creative in their research (images, relevant youtube videos, etc.) as well as in their design for their assignments. I use it for one of my “out-of-class” reading response assignments and the students really seem to enjoy it. Here’s a little clip on what it can do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvC47fUANLk
http://storybird.com/create/ Storybird allows students to create stories using pre-loaded art. I have used wordless books in order to teach my students how to “show, not tell” in writing and it seems as though this website is the online version of those types of books. It would be a nice way to engage students and get them to think critically about their answers (ie answering the elusive “how do you know what you know” question). It would also be a great brainsotrming and collaborative exercise to get students thinking about writing for an audience. This site is definitely going to be a helpful little tool in my toolbox.
http://www.weebly.com/ First introduced to us in NFD101, this site is an easy way to create your own website. Much like wix.com, weebly supplies preloaded formats and takes you step-by-step through the set-up process. I am really loving the idea of having a course webpage outside of blackboard that the students can use for supplementary course materials. I find that I’ll post links to blackboard that aren’t necessarily required but instead are just helpful tools for the students. Perhaps if there was something that wasn’t as “scholastic” available to the students, that was designed specifically to meet their immediate classroom needs, they would be more apt to explore alternate learning resources.
http://www.polleverywhere.com Poll Everywhere is an easy, universal way to engage students in learning. You can set up a number of free polls but after a certain number, you have to pay a nominal fee. The great part is that once you create your poll, you have it as long as the site is standing and can edit it as many times as you want. The way it works is that you post the poll on your screen. Students text their answers to the questions to a free number. The results show up instantaneously. Polls can be modified from true/false to multiple choice to free writes. It completely tailors to your needs. Poll Everywhere is a tool that can be used in order to do a quick assessment, activate prior knowledge, or review material.