Introduction to Schoology !

Hello guys,
Today I’m going to introduce you to a great tool called Schoology.

How does it work

Schoology is an online platform where teachers post all useful contents about what happens in the classroom in order to have students easily informed about it. It is pretty much like Facebook, but for educational purposes.

It is completely free and you only have to log in and start working on it.

Schoology let you organize your school courses:

1- You can post homework assignments for students

2- You can post due dates so students can track them

3- You can manage your schedule

4- You can increase you students’ engagement in interactive discussions

5- You can grade students on their participation

6- Students can post their homework assignments on the online dropbox on the platform.

Also, there are online quizzes that students can do on the platform, which is really useful. Another good thing with these quizzes is that there is instant feedback, so students know their answers quickly so they can easily learn from their mistakes.

As stated above, students can post their homework assignments online. The good thing about it is that there is also an instant feedback on them so students can track what the teacher told them. It is interactive and easy to use.

The grades are also posted online with all the dates.

Schoology versus The World

Here are some differences between Schoology and one other big famous Learning Management Systems: Edmodo

According to Tech 4 School Librarians:

EDMODO

Pros:

  • Easy to give feedback to students
  • Very little introduction for students
  • Creation of small groups within a class
  • Ability to post information to the group
  • Ability to submit assignments
  • Attendance recording

Cons:

  • Posts are only chronological so the board can get messy
  • Quizes are limiting
  • No messaging between students
  • Child-like

SCHOOLOGY

Pros:

  • Updates (Posts) and Discussion Boards
  • Discussion boards with nested discussion
  • Settings for Tests and Quizes (Time Limits & Retakes)
  • Ability to setup modules or lessons (with materials) within a class or group
  • Dropbox like feature for assignments
  • Online Gradebook and Attendance
  • Create Blogs within the product

Cons:

  • No small group creation options
  • Takes more time to learn and teach students
  • It connects your class as a ‘course’ not a ‘class’. This makes it easier for high school teachers, but for my single class, students became confused as to where they needed to go for their assignments, discussion boards etc.

What I have understood with all these Pros and Cons is that both tools are really useful, but I think Schoology offers more options and contents. However, Edmodo seems easier to understand and less difficult to manage for the classroom.

ESL Teacher Point of View

After reviewing various classroom managers and Learning Management Systems, I can say that they are a must in every ESL classroom. I think that too much time will be lose if these tools are not used. This is a great way to put every homework assignments, due dates, exam dates, important messages, and so on. Moreover, during my research, I noticed that there are many benefits like engagement from students, motivation, social skills, interaction, and more. This is great to see that one tool can do everything at the same time. I will definitely use Edublogs, Schoology, and Edmodo as well.

Edublogs: The main place to share and learn!

Hello guys!

Let me introduce you to an useful tool called Edublogs. Educblogs is an online tool where educators, teachers, and students can share information and stay connected together. A great thing about Edublogs is that the team that made the software has an different idea of the use of technologies in classroom.

How does it work

Many social media networks (Facebook, Twitter), video creations (YouTube), presentation builders (Wheelhouse), and many other useful webtools (Gmail) are being used in classrooms by teachers and students. These tools are great for students’ motivation and learning, but, in order to tie things up, Edublogs wanted to add a central place to share teachers’ and students’ creations. When the blog is created, it is a great place to publish homework assignments, calenders, ressources, and important news. On Edublogs, there are also Wikis, surveys, and quizzes which are really important for students’ learning. There are three types of services on Edublogs: Free access (Completely free), Edublog Pro (Around 8$ a month), and Edublog Campus (For broader use). The biggest difference between Free access and Pro is that there are more tools for the Pro one (Plugins, Mobile Themes, Custom Domain, Extra storage, Class tools)

Enhacing learning experience

A central blog to publish useful materials is great for encouraging reflexions and collaboration among students. It is also great for students because it is a safe and engaging platform to publish their work from any devices.

According to Frank Calberg, Blogs in education have a lot of usefulness. First, education is focused on demand. Second, blogs can be used anytime and anywhere. Students are not resigned to poor hour times of learning. Third, it encourages to work and work everytime. Because there are a lot of information and feedback forms on blogs, it enhances students’ motivation to go see what is up on their blogs to keep it up to date. Fourth, it helps for the critical thinking, which is very important for students. Reflexions on blogs are the key of critical thinking. A lot of reflexions mean a lot of critical thinking. Fifth, it improves communicative skills. Blogs require empolying language and writing. Sixth, blogs in education enhance initiative and creativity. Because students are often told to put images and videos on blogs, it enhances their creativity.

All those advantages are keys in the students’ success.

Edublog VS the world

You may think about how edublog is better than others blogs tools? Let me show you some advantages.

Edublog is told to be better than Blogger and WordPress for some points:

According to Edublog, Edublog is only for education, there are support from teachers, class blog management, and academic funtionality.

It is said that Edublog has also a better support team: Premium email support, telephone support, customized webinars.

Concerning classroom tools: Video comments, Forums, Community Wikis, Friends and messages.

Honestly, from what I have read I can say that Edublog seems better for educational purpose, but I do not think that wordpress or blogger are bad tools. Moreover, only Edublog Pro seems really worthy. I do not think that the free section of Edublog is that far from the others about usefulness.

ESL teacher point of view

As an ESL teacher, I must say that blogs are now non negociable in classrooms. It has been demonstrated that blogs enhance students’ motivation, creativity, communicative skills, and critical thinking. It is what I exactly want my students to improve. Many forums were saying that WordPress and Edublogs are popular, but Edublogs concentrate only on blogs (Not creating websites).   

Software review: Netmath

Hello everybody,

Let me show you an amazing tool: Netmath. Netmath is an online website which allows teachers, parents, and students around the world to be in touch with mathematics wherever they want.

How does it work

This tool is really simple: it’s like a math book, but online. On the official website, there are four main sections: Activities, Follow-Up, My favourite, and Menu. In the Activities section, there are tons and tons of online math exercises waiting to be solve (Approximately 1000 activities). The Follow-Pp section is a section where you find statistics about your class (Grades, Average, Failure, Success, etc). My Favourite section is only a place where you can put important/relevant exercises in order to rapidly do them without harsh research. The last section, Menu, is a menu where you can find things like laboratory, class code, statistics, mails, lexical, etc. All activities are for students from primary to high school. Beyond that, it would be too easy for CEGEP/UNIVERSITY students. When the teacher starts hi/hers lesson, he/she can choose some activities about algebra, multiplication, division, etc. This is the strength of this tool because EVERY single exercises can be found. Each activity contains approximately 10 pages of questions about the same topic. It is really useful for students to stay good in any math topics.

Mission: In Netmath, besides activities, there are missions. Missions are very cool. They consist of little questions about known mathematicians and enigmas. If students solve enigmas, they can go on other pages and do another questions about known mathematicians. It is a perfect mix of common knowledge and maths.

Another good thing of Netmath is the instant feedback. When students answer a question, it is checked when the answer is good it is an X when the answer is wrong. When the answer is good, Netmath cheers you and when the answer is wrong there is a detailled answer. This is absolutely useful and amazing for students who want to learn rapidly.

To know if students do their homework properly, a follow-up section is there. For example, when they come back home, their parents can see how many activities are there to be done. If it says: « 2 new upcoming activites », the student has to do 2 activities to have a completed homework. Moreover, when students do a lot of exercises without errors, they are rewarded with yellow stars (They are showed in their profile).

A last good thing is all statistics are stocked in the teacher’s lobby. That being said, the teacher knows exactly which student did which activities, when, and the result. It is really useful for teachers who want to improve students’ weaknesses.

Classroom benefits

According to an article written by Joanie Godin, Netmath enhances motivation. Students are thrilled to the idea of doing a lot of math projects on iPad. Moreover, instant feedback keep students focused on their tasks because it is like a virtual teacher.

According to Alison, a nouvelist, Netmath has motivated about 68 000 Canadian students during a math competition. Students were told to do the more activities they could within 30 minutes. It was an amazing competion because students learned a lot of mathematics, and they were a lot more motivated to do maths. It is really nice to see that Netmath gives students this opportunity

ESL Teacher Point of View

As an ESL Teacher, Netmath is the greatest maths tool that I found on the Internet. It is free, simple to use, and available for every students. These days, a lot of students do not like maths. The coolest thing of this software is that students are motivated to do maths. Moreover, the instant feedback is very helpful because students do not need the teacher to be there everytime. I won’t be teaching maths, but I surely will tell my co-workers to try this website and to give feedback about it. This could be an amazing tool for any materials, but I do not know if the creator of Netmath will do version adapted for French, Physics, etc.

Introduction to a software: ClassDojo

Hey guys,

Let me introduce you to a fantastic tool named ClassDojo. ClassDojo is a website (Free access) which helps teachers all around the world to manage their classrooms. It facilitates communication within the class as well as inside-outside relations. Moreover, it is very easy to use: teachers have to go on the website and create a room for their classrooms. Then, students log in into the room with any mobile devices and choose their own characters (Characters are like funny-looking avatars which represent each student in the class).

How does it work

Once every students are logged in, the teacher can see every one of them in his/her monitor and can share any information to them. The pretty cool thing is that no more E-mails are required to share information. With this website, students are rewarded for good behavior and penalized for bad behavior. For example, in one hand, let say one student speaks in English the entire duration of the class. Then, the teacher may give « +1 for speaking in English » to the student. Those points are accumulated and the teacher may reward kind students. On the other hand, let say one student has been off-task the entire duration of the class. Then, the teacher may give « -1 for being off-task ». It is way easier for the teacher to know which of his/her students are acting kindly or poorly because he can see the historic of given points. Moreover, students may see their points on the screen (SmatBoard) or on their devices: that keeps them tracked on what they have to improve. Teachers can also give reports to parents.

A great advantage of Class Dojo is that parents and students can track the room wherever they are. That being said, it is easy to be in touch with the class everyday and to be informed of what will come soon. It is also useful for parents who like to ask questions to the teacher.

Educational Benefits

According to David Higley, ClassDojo enhances students’ motivation and encourages students to act kindly in class. ClassDojo also helps students for decision making. This software also grants the opportunity to favorize good behavior. With the website, it is easy to notice the positive and the negative points of your class so you can spot the weaknesses and work on them.

According to Alesha Bishop, ClassDojo allows feedback to be more concise and relevant.

According to Dave Dodgson, ClassDojo is not only a helper tu support positive behavior, but also a helper to maximize the use of the target language in class.

ESL Teacher Point of View

As a ESL Teacher, I must say that ClassDojo is far from fail. It has been demonstrated that ClassDojo enhances implication, motivation, and good behavior. This is what is expected in a classroom and I’m sure it would work with any class. At first, I was skeptical about the capacity to earn points (because I thought it would be only a reason for students to fight) but I realize that results are there! It is beyond earning points: students develop the capacity to be involved in many activities and react when a student does not act kindly. Moreover, it looks very easy to use. I will certainly use it and I must recommend this software to everyone with behavior issues in their classrooms.

Software Review: Glogster

Hello blogers,

Have you ever dreamt of having all the information you need in one single page? Are you tired of looking tons and tons of pages on Internet to find only few pieces of information? GLOGSTER has the solution!!

What is Glogster

Glogster is a software which allows you to create pages (called Glogs) fulfilled with pertinent information about any subjects/topics you would like to talk about. The only thing you have to do is to find some information on Internet and create a page about it. It ressembles Wikipedia, but it is more focused on concise pieces of information: facts, short videos, images, general information.

Example of a Glog: Venus

Educational benefits

According to Jamie the Librarian, there are three major benefits of using Glosgter in classrooms.

First one: Glogster allows students to learn social technology in a simple, funny, and interactive way.

Simple: Creating a Glog is simple in the way that it is accessible for everyone and it does not require high Internet abilities

Funny: Creating a Glog is funny in the sense that you can choose any available topics. That being said, adding your own personnal touch to the page gives it a funny facet.

Interactive: Creating a Glog is interactive in the way that students work together to find and share information about their subjects. In fact, this enhances students ability to intertact with others and to take critics from them.

Second one: It has been demonstrated that Glogster allows students to develop their skills in creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, research, fluency, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and digital citizenship.

It is absolutaly worthy to develop all those skills in classrooms. WHY? Because students are in their critical development. It is essentiel to go beyond what is expected. That being said, students learn from the information they share AND develop essential skill to be better citizen.

Third one: It has also been demonstrated that using Glogster in classrooms improve students’ engagement, representation, and expression. Because students chooses their own topics, they are highly motivated. Also, It is a good way to acquire information. It provides too an opportunity for learners to express what they are learned.

According to Joli Barker, Glogster is an excellent tool to create icebraker activities. Before the semester starts, the teacher can send a Glog about him to the students to get to know each other. It is an excellent way to have students ready for the semester. Another excellent benefits is for parental support. That being said, parents can stay connected with the classrooms because of Glogster. Joli Barker also demonstrated that Glogster has a positive effect on health. Teachers can create Glogs about fitness demonstrations so students can try it at home and stay in health.

ESL Teacher point of view

As an ESL teacher, I must say that Glogster is one of the greatest tool I have learned so far. It is absolutely easy to use and easy to manipulate. It has been demonstrated that Glogster enhances motivation, technology skills, health, social skills, and more. It sure will be a tool in my future ESL class. The good thing with this software is that it’s useful for every class. You can use it for maths, physics, French, English, and more. It is one of the greatest way to have students focussed on pertinent content because a Glog is like a summary of many read information.

Amazing software for physic lovers

Hello there,

Let me introduce you to a great tool that kept my attention: Algodoo. Algodoo is a 2D-simulation software whose purpose is to help people learn physics in an interactive and fun way. You can create your own world of physics: boxes, squares, circles, gears, etc. To create a circuit, you only need to click on objects and drag them on the screen. It is really easy to understand and manipulate. You may also save your own circuit and show it to other Algodoo users. There are more than 50 000 saved maps in the Algodoo repertoire.

Educational Benefits

Algodoo can be used in classrooms by teachers. For example, they can conduct experiments and create lesson plans. It has been demonstrated than Algodoo is one of the simpliest and funniest way to learn physics for students. Because it is in 2D, it is way simplier for students to learn physics without the difficulties encoutered in the 3D effects. It is also easy to create activity with Algodoo: Students are told to model their learning with the software. That being said, it is easy for the teacher to notice poorer students in class because he can see it through the software.

General knowledge

Algodoo is known to be a great tool to help students better the world. They can be shown a real-life problem by Algodoo and they must team up to learn from other and to solve the problem.

It is a very great tool to enhance creativity and critical thinking, which are specific competencies for students.

Gamification

Algodoo is a great example of gamification. It is like a little video game, but for educational purposes. That being said, students are more motivated to work with others to learn physics. Algodoo is known has a « sandbox » game: this is a game where you can create your own map. Students like to create their own stuff.

Cooperative Learning Teams

According to many forums and reviews, Algodoo is considered a key in the success of Cooperative Learning Team. It is a great tool to enhance students’ participation and, therefore, enhance students’ knowledge of physics.

ESL teacher point of view

As an ESL teacher, I wish I could be a physics teacher to use this software. When I was at high school, I liked physics, but I wasn’t motivated because everything was on the board or in books. This software would have changed my thoughts about physics. Because it happened to me, I would say that I’m not the only one. Algodoo is clearly a great tool to enhance students participation, motivation, and teamwork. Even if I did not find a source about it, I’m sure Algodoo is good to improve students’ behavior. When students are told to work in teams and on a screen monitor, its hard for them to be distracted because it is two things which makes them happy: Working in teams and video games.

Ventrilo, what an easy way to speak to everyone around the world !

Today, I want to initiate you guys to an useful interacting software: Ventrilo. Ventrilo is a tool that allows people to speak to anybody around the world without leaving home. All you have to do is staying on your chair, put your headphones on (it works too with a separated microphone and independent speakers).

Let me show you how simple Ventrilo is. You can find your Client online on the official website. The Client is the software you have to download before being allowed to speak with people around the world. When the software in done loading, you may install it into your computer and put a desktop icone to easily click when you need to speak. When everything is set, Ventrilo allows you to create a name and to enter a server IP to log in. This is the good thing about Ventrilo: You can rent a server for like 10$ a year and you give the IP adress and the password to whoever wants to join the conversation. That being said, nobody else than people you know may heard about your identity. It is complelety safe and you can’t find someone on google using Ventrilo. The owner of the server has a lot of rights. For example, the owner logs in as the administrator of the Ventrilo IP server. When logged in, he can create channels (Rooms) to let people talk in. The first one may be « Main Lobby » and the other ones may be « Room1 », « Room2″, Room3 », and so on. This is really amazing because people can decide to talk to everyone or to hide with someone in « Room1 » to talk in private. Another good point or Ventrilo is that you can write a message near your name. For example, if you are trying to pronunce a word to your friends and they can’t understand, you may click on « Miscenalleous » and there is a frame to put a text in. Also, you can promote your friends to different grades. For example, there is the server admin who has the entire control of options. Besides the server admin, people can be promoted to « administrator » but they don’t have the entire control of the tool. They only have a few more options like kicking people out of rooms or server.

This software is mainly used by people who play video games. It is useful for people to speak while gaming to ensure that people understand each other. Don’t WORRY, even if you are not a hard gamer, you may use Ventrilo for any purposes. For example, you may talk with family members or simply for business purposes.

Ventrilo VS The World

You may say that this tool is like Skype or TeamSpeak, but I personally think that Ventrilo has its own personnal positive points. Unlike Skype, the « Push to Talk Key » ability is way easier to understand in Ventrilo than Skype. This key is pretty sample: it allows you to hit a button before starting to talk. That being said, every background noises are not heard by everyone because you decide when you hit the button to talk. When the button is toggled off, nothing can be heard by people in the same room as you. Another advantage of Ventrilo is that there is no noise problem. According to my personnal exeperience with Skype, Skype lowers every other sounds when the time comes to receive a call. I know that you can change this option in Skype, but it is not everyone who are at ease with Skype’s options. Moreover, Skype minimizes other opened softwares when you are being called. Ventrilo is above that. Ventrilo won’t be changing any noise effects on other opened applications. Another advantage of Ventrilo is there is no friends list. You may say that is it not that important, but it is. When you want to talk to someone in Skype, you are almost forced to add him your friends list OR someone can add a person in an already-started discussion. Sometimes it is really boring to add a friend because you feel forced to talk to people because they are your friends. In Ventrilo, you add only people who you are sure of. In the same way of thinking, you can’t be found on Google while using Ventrilo. In Skype, people can find you by looking up your name in the add friends section.

PROs VS CONs

PROs: Really simple to use because you only need to download the Client once and after that it’s only a matter of servers. There are no noise problems like in Skype. You can kick people from your room or even lock your room to ensure than nobody can enter. The « Push To Talk Key » is very nice.

CONs: If you don’t have any information about IP server, you can’t talk to anybody. You MUST have a valid IP adress unless you won’t be able to talk to anybody.

ESL TEACHER TALKING

As an ESL teacher, I would use this tool in a computer lab only. It is not really a tool that you can use in classrooms, but it does not affect the fact that Ventrilo is useful. In a computer lab, it would be easy to form like 10 teams of four in your group and then create 10 rooms in your Ventrilo server. You can name your room the name you want so students won’t be mind boggled. It is also really useful for people who dislike softwares that everyone can talk at the same time. With Ventrilo, the green indicator by your name indicates if you are talking or not (red).

Creating your own book

STORYBIRD: A story creater

Storybird is an online ressource to create your own story alone, grouped or in classroom. Its concept is to make a personal story with images and texts. The nice part of this online tool is that it can be used by several people at the same time.

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HOW IT WORKS

Storybird has a lot of pre-made frames that people can choose while creating a story. This means that, for instance, young students can take images that they found beautiful and create a story with the image. As the website says: « Your words. Our art. Amazing stories. »

While used in classrooms, the teacher just has to log in and presents stories in front of the class as example.

Storybird can be considered a social network because every stories can be liked and followed for feedback.

IMPORTANT: Is is important to notice that people can write texts, but they can’t choose their own images. Only pre-made frames are available.

All created stories can be upload on the Internet and can be seen worldwide. Moreover, people can read it and give feedback or even creating a following of your story.

PEDAGOGICAL POINT OF VIEW

For pedagogical purpose, a great quality of this tool is that students can easily create their own stories without any challenging efforts. They can act as an author for a couple of hours and create beautiful materials.

Here is an example of an online story: Awesome Story

As you can see, this little story is really simple to create and can be seen worldwide.

Still within pedagogical point of view, it enhances the creativity of each student which is very important in an early age of life. Moreover, it enhances the interaction between students because they work together to create a personal story.

It is also a great tool to introduce students to technology because it is quite simple and it is really beautiful when the time comes to read the story.

TEACHERS REVIEW

Here are some feedback from teachers around the world:

Kerry R. Professional Children’s School New York, NY

Submitted May 13, 2013
ESL TEACHER
As an ESL teacher, I must say that I will certaintly use this tool in future ESL classrooms. This is a new tool that I just discovered and it is way easier than it looks like. Honestly, when I was young, I would have loved to waste time finding funny images and create my own story as a little author. I really hope this tool will grow bigger and popularize around the world. I must say though that this tool is more for young children (High School Level) than older children (Secondary Level). However, everyone could like it, but I suggest to use it with people that are not too old.

Brand new software to better classrooms

Since 1.2 million students fail to graduate from high school every year in the United States, solutions need to be found in order not to have that many fails. To higher the number of graduates, gamification came out of the cave. Gamification is the use of game content in a place where you are not supposed to game. This idea is brilliant in the world of teaching in school.

A good example of gamification is Classcraft? This software, used in classrooms, allows students to create their own characters and to play an entertaining game during class. As they level up with their own characters, they earn experience points; experience points give students rewards by doing good work like answering questions, helping teachers or having a good behavior.


HOW DOES IT WORK

With their own devices (iPhones, SmartPhones, name it), students create their own characters. It is like a video game. They may create Warriors, Mages or even Healers. When the class starts, teacher asks students to log in and to pick their characters. As the day goes, they earn Experiences (XPs).

XPs : By acting like a good student, earning XPs allows them to have palpable rewards. For example, earning XPs and leveling up (To pass from level 1 to 2 for instance) they can receive rewards like: Privilege to ask one question during an exam or they may have a homework pass.

Characters : Students can change the look of their characters to make them look likes them (Well, this is a kind of avatar, so they may create something that looks like them, but it is all fake).

Classes : 3 classes are available: Warriors, Mages and Healers.

GAMEPLAY


NOTICE: To clarify some points, Classcraft is LIKE a game, but this is NOT a game. That being said, Classcraft is more concentrated on students behaviors. That means that is they are acting like good students during classes, they will earn XPs. Students cannot fight or enter dungeons while playing this game. It is not as interactive as a Role Playing Games (RPGs) or MMORPG.

PROS and CONS

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • HIGHLY motivate students to be kind

CONS:

  • Not enough developed
  • Some students, more often girls, don’t see the fun of playing a game

Teacher Review

« Best classroom product since the textbook! » -Tyler, W.

Submitted October 23, 2014

Classcraft has allowed me to engage students in a way that I thought I would never be able to. I have seen student growth and engagement double from last year just because of the reward system Classcraft offers students. Students become immersed in a world of learning that used to be out of reach with traditional learning methods.

Gamification benefits in education

It has been demonstrated that gamification has a lot of benefits in the world of education. According to Ashley Deese, gamification helps the development of cognitive elements in children’s brain. It enhances brain’s stimulations which is very useful for brain in development. Gamification also helps students to be more engaged in classroom. Classcraft enhances students’ motivation and engagement in classroom so it results in better learning.

Teacher point of view

As an ESL teacher, I must say that Classcraft is brilliant. Because we can’t control the use of online games of many students, Classcraft is like fighting fire by fire, and it works. According to Carina Hilbert, Classcraft is a class changer. She said that she had a group of very disturbing students and when she introduced the game, students turned into motivated students who want to know which event is gonna be the event of the day. That being said, Classcraft improve students’ motivation for boys as much as girls. I totally agree with Carina Hilbert. As a future ESL teacher, I am sure that this game of game in a classroom will improve students behavior and motivation. As a kid, I have always dreamt of a world that mixes knowledge and game. Classcraft is the perfect mix and will certainly be in my future ESL classes.

 

Continuer la lecture de Brand new software to better classrooms