Week 3 of ED 620 is all about collaboration and reaching your students through forms of technology. The main focus was Wikis and the online communications as well as the common communications used today.
I enjoyed seeing the various options that are out there. I’ve been comfortable with the standard email/text messages as well as the instant messengers or video conferences through Skype. I was intrigued by PiratePad for the open discussions that are asynchronous and can get a lot accomplished. I also found a live chat site that you can invite people to called Chatzy. Again, just another way to have instant, secure discussions. Stepping it up a little bit was TinyChat that allowed you to use the microphone and camera to do live chatting. Then you had the Wikispaces that allowed you to basically set it up as an online classroom. You can still have discussions and pose questions to others. These online platforms give a lot of versatility for free that can benefit the classroom and its activities.
I personally haven’t done much with those types of online chat and wikis (besides some Google Docs and such). Though, I have used the instant messengers (throwback to ICQ, AOL, and now Facebook/Snapchat), video chats (Skype and now Google Hangouts), and general communications. I see value in all of them and the newer ones. In my classroom though, I’ve moved more toward what my district is comfortable with.
In my school district, we are big on Google and all it has to offer. We also use a platform called Sapphire that has its own gradebook, all things school related, and a “classroom” (this is a company platform we paid for). If I were to do something along the lines of a wikispace I would definitely go with a Google Classroom . It allows me to do discussions, dropbox, and many other things The Google Classroom does require you to be logged in with a school district’s address though. To be honest though, to each their own. It is whatever you are comfortable with.
Another topic that was in Week 3 was Remind.com. Remind allows a teacher to send out updates, assignments, or basic messages to students and parents without sharing any phone numbers or email addresses. This anonymous site really works for education. It keeps everyone up to date and helps the classroom run a lot smoother. Now that they have the chat feature, students and parents can communicate with the teacher even quicker. They even have options to forward communications to parents and administrators so that everything is known and in the open to keep everyone safe and secure. Remind really has changed the classroom and I love using it…a lot! Check out the video about the chat feature below.