With common core standards emphasizing a students ability to write and synthesize information, there are several tools that you can utilize online to give students the opportunity to write and share their work. Students can produce and publish content related to their unit of study. These are often very large, long term projects that result in a final class or unit artifact.
The advantage of digital artifacts is that there is a permanency to them that is hard to replicate using traditional paper methods. Often, at the end of the semester, students take 5 minutes to dump everything out of their folders and lockers because they’re done with it. I’ve even seen large poster projects in the trash that I know students spent hours building. The digital medium is somewhat permanent, and in these modern times, students in high school can start to build a portfolio that can go with them to their colleges and careers.
Also, don’t be intimidated if you are unfamiliar with the tool. Students will be quick to learn, as the more digital tools they know how to use, the more intuitive they become about new platforms. A person that knows how to use tumblr, can easily figure out how to use glossi or wordpress, or any other tool that a college professor might require them to use.
Here are some tools that may help you build a classroom culture of collaboration and encourage students to create and design something meaningful related to their studies.
For Long Term Projects
Work together on presentations, papers, and even create quizzes and tests as a group. All documents created on google can be set to public, private, or you can invite others to edit your documents. This provides a way for students to work together on a large scale.
*Google docs also serves as a place in the cloud for students to store all their written documents, no more losing flash drives or leaving projects on the school servers. *
Create a wiki for your class, have students add to the wiki with each chapter. Options may include wikis for units of study, or an entire class wiki that students share in the making of pages. This also gives them a virtual scrapbook showing what they learned in class and including photos taken from projects.
Alternately a blog, like WordPress, can be used to create a journal of your activities in class. Students can become authors assigned to summarizing or detailing class activities, the whole blog then becomes a group class project. I have seen English teachers do some amazing things with blogs, replacing traditional reflection journals with more formal writing that can include comments from peers.
Evernote is a more personal way for students to collect and store projects, notes, and learning experiences. If you are interested in having students create a year-long portfolio project, you might consider a digital format. Students can exhibit mastery of content through a variety of methods, such as collecting and curating webpages, uploading photos of homework, and creating samples of their class work. Evernote also works with smartphones and other devices.
For Short Term Projects
Padlet – build a wall or virtual bulletin board, students can work together to build a wall designed around a theme. For instance, students could create a cell wall (no pun intended), where they showcase different types of cells, cell structures and processes. Glogster is a similar site, students create virtual posters
Glossi – Create your own magazines, catalogs, travelogues, how-to-guides, photo journals. Students could design a magazine based around a theme, for instance a travel log of Charles Darwin’s voyage that showcases the plants and animals he discovered there.
Common Core Standards Alignment
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.