Image credit: Pete Sanderson
My workshop at the Conference was (slightly too grandly?) titled ‘Collaborating within and beyond the classroom in the cloud’. Despite that, a room full of people turned up. This blog post serves as a summary of what we talked about, and some links to resources / sites discussed.
You can view the slides below, the icons should be hyperlinks to the sites for the various tools.
We kicked off with brief survey about the delegates using Google Forms.
We then clarified what we meant by ‘The Cloud’, the importance of being platform / browser neutral and discussed how it was possible to develop and extend any type of pedagogy with the right choice of technology.
Our first group of tools took the idea of using a survey with students (or colleagues) both as a way of capturing understanding at a given point in time, or of getting ‘pupil voice’ and other forms of feedback. We then also discussed tools that allowed us to provide feedback by creating online quizzes. Many schools (my own included) still don’t allow students to use devices in the classroom, so a service like Plickers allows teachers to use their device and printed cards to achieve a similar effect.
We then moved on to discuss the fact that many teachers highest demand is a way of sharing resources with groups of students. Once you’ve started to do this, it can be a short hop to have students either responding to even co-curating content, either teacher produced or gathered from the web.
The group then spent some time working together on this Padlet (now locked) sharing some ideas and experience.
In our third discussion we talked about larger online spaces, including Blogs and Wikis, and the various ways in which they could be used – from completely teacher controlled (with pupils consuming the information) to learner created. We also mentioned Edmodo as an online VLE service that allowed the submission and return of work that was a feature important in some aspects of school, especially secondary. We also mentioned Blendspace as an example of a new range of tools that pulls together lots of existing content (in a similar way how Playlists work in Hwb). That link comes with the caveat that I haven’t tried it yet!
Finally, we talked about how both Google and Microsoft are now rolling out free education versions of their cloud suites for schools, with Google’s including Google Classroom and MS now with OneNote Class Notebook creator. We had a quick play with a shared Google presentation, with the whole group recording their ideas and experiences with similar tools. We also had a chance to show how quickly you could adapt things on the fly, as we realised having each other’s twitter addresses would be useful, so we added an extra slide to share that.
We discussed pros and cons of using these, especially issues around what data it is / isn’t ok to hold in the cloud (true for all the tools discussed here) and the importance as a teacher to check your school has a clear policy to help you. We also discussed what ‘free’ meant, including the fact that in many cases there was no guarantees that these services would be available long term.
Hopefully the session was useful, please feel free to use the comments below for any questions / follow up.