Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Tools To Personalize the Classroom

I found two new and interesting tools to use both in the library and in my English classroom. The first was passed on by Buffy Hamilton, and the other I found while looking for articles to populate my Scoop.it page on Digital Storytelling.

Socrative takes clickers to the next step.  It's free, works via a web browser (though they have an Android app, and are working on apps for the iPhone and Blackberry), and allows teachers to receive quick feedback, give quizzes, and monitor formative assessments with a mere click.  There an introductory video below.

Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.

I like the multiple formats for responses, the display for quick survey of responses, which makes it easy to monitor and adjust.  Unfortunately, we're not a 1:1 school, and this being Mongolia, I don't know how many students have smart-phones, but I'll check with them when we have class on Thursday.

History in Pictures

Historypin takes the social nature of Google Earth and makes it super easy (without all the bandwidth-eating downloading, I might add).  In fact, it partners with Google.  Select a place--say, your hometown--and populate it with photos past and present.  There are already multiple collections availabe, providing a fascinating look at how places change over the century (the timeline feature goes from 1840 to the present).

You can also choose a picture and lay it against a streetview map,  directly comparing the past and present views (see screen capture below).   In addition, each photo has an "story" feature that lets users tell the story behind the photo.

This tool has multiple uses, from digital documentaries, to oral histories and more.  Student groups create histories of their school or community, of community-service activities or other events.

Again, see the introductory video below.

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