Avoiding the Path to Panem: An Educurious Learning Challenge

If your students are crazy about The Hunger Games(and who isn’t??), you have to check out our latest Learning Challenge, sponsored by Educurious!

In this project, students are challenged to answer the question, “What can we do to avoid the path that led to Panem, the post-apocalyptic world of The Hunger Games?”

Students must create a Glog with 1. evidence of a social, political, or environmental issue that explains how North America ended up in such a catastrophic predicament and 2. a call to action: what can we do to avoid that future?

Click here for the complete Learning Challenge.

Huge thanks to Educurious for being such an awesome partner! 

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In the words of a Glogster EDU flipper…

Today, I’ll let Glogster EDU Ambassador Lisa Salyer tell you in her in her own words how she uses Glogster EDU for flipped teaching. Take it away, Lisa!
When I discovered Glogster EDU,  I was struggling with how to incorporate meaningful higher level activities and project- based learning methods into my classroom.  Most educational software is limited to rote practice and memorization.  Glogster EDU is the only platform that I have found that allows for organization of teacher lessons, student projects, etc.
Glogster EDU is the absolute perfect platform for the flipped approach.  I think it is so important to demonstrate how you can create Glogs to meet diverse learning styles.  When possible I try to include a story, song, poetry, quotes, instructional podcasts, interactive practice, and enrichment through student creation of Glogs.

Oh! The Place You’ll Go

I strive to design my own Glogs so that students who are absent can access the Glog and make up the lesson at home.  My goal in creating Glogs vary; however, my instructional Glogs aim to set purpose, provide review, instruct, and provide guided/independent practice.  I am also able to extend and remediate through Glogs.
As for preparing, recording and assembling,  a teacher must be motivated to do this during evenings and weekends.  With that being said, once you establish your core then enriching and making changes is easily done!  I try to find podcasts that already meet my instructional needs — no need to reinvent the wheel, plus pre-made podcasts save me a huge amount of time. (Click on the Glog thumbnails for examples.)

Night Letters (click on the Voki!

 On those days when I become a facilitator in my class, I feel a great since of accomplishment. My students are all exploring and learning, and I am monitoring, correcting misconceptions, or challenging students to extend their learning.  Some of the proudest moments I have are when  students self-inititate Glogs on topics of interest to them and learn through their own research!
Lisa has generously provided a few of her own Glog presentations:

Language Arts Glogs 

Math Glogs

Famous Americans Glog Project

Student Podcasts <— If you’re only going to click on one link, make it this one! So great.
Thanks so much, Lisa. I’m inspired; are you?

What about younger learners? Flipped classrooms vs. flipped teaching

Today I attended a fantastic webinar titled The Art of a Flipped Classroom – Turning Learning on its Head, hosted by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, pioneers of the flipped movement. They brought up a question that comes up often in flipped discussions: How do primary school teachers flip their classrooms? Younger learners may not be equipped with the technological skills, self direction, or parental guidance required to learn material independently at home.
Jon Bergmann responded by making a distinction between a flipped classroom and the idea of flipped teaching as a general approach. It’s not necessary to flip every class every day! The question to ask yourself, he says, is simple: What is the best use of your class time? Focus on the answer to that question, and then see if you can shift anything not included in that answer outside your class time. Even if you flip just a few classes or units, if you’re making better use of your time together –interacting more, providing more opportunities for collaboration– then students will feel the positive effects.
Glogster EDU Ambassador Meghan Gagne teaches 3rd grade. While her students are not ready for a true flipped classroom, she incorporates flipped teaching by providing her students with Glogs to review at home.

 I use Glogs to  present a review of difficult concepts and pose extra credit assignments. I find it to be a very engaging way to give extra help when my kids need it most — when they are tackling homework without me. 
Do you think the flipped approach can be adapted to younger learners? How do you incorporate flipped teaching into your primary classrooms? Do tell!

Standardized test prep? Flip it!

Today, Glogster EDU Ambassador Robin Keating shares how she uses the flipped classroom approach to prepare her students for standardized tests.

I have been using Glogster EDU for my flipped classroom often this year.  Presently we are in a review period for our state test, the STAAR.  For each unit, the students view a Glog to review videos and songs, play games, and read notes.  I also include a mystery person for them to identify as an accountability piece.

They have two days to review the Glog material.  On the third day, I assign an in-class project for students to complete based on what they reviewed on the Glog.  With this approach, I don’t have to do whole group instruction; I can plan activities that review the necessary skills while I pull small groups off to the side for more personal attention.   I post all the Glogs on my Wikispace so my students can access them easily.

I love the idea to include a “mystery person” to hold students accountable for reviewing the Glogs. (Hiding Justin Beieber behind an image of a present? Genius!) Robin turns a potentially snore-inducing task like standardized test prep into a fun, hands-on activity that students can move through at their own pace.

Do you incorporate flipped methods into your test prep? Can you think of other ways to make test prep more engaging?

Tomorrow, Glogster EDU Ambassadors will show how they adapt flipped classroom strategies to younger learners. Stay tuned!

Flipping the science classroom

Welcome to flipped week! We canvassed Glogster EDU Ambassadors to see how they are incorporating the flipped classroom approach in their teaching practice, and this week we’re sharing their techniques with you. Today, Cindy Willits, 5th grade teacher at PA Virtual Charter School, describes how she uses Glogster EDU in her science curriculum.

I do science labs with my students online, record the Elluminate (BB Collaborate) session, and put the link to the recording on the Glog. I also use videos of the entire lab broken down and attach lab sheets, etc. on the Glog to offer students the chance to do the lab on their own at home.  These Glogs also serve as a resource for next year!  

Here is my favorite Glog utilizing this approach for science:  

Be sure to click on the Elluminate session link in Cindy’s Glog above. The energy and enthusiasm she brings to her virtual lab is so inspiring!

Those who work in non-virtual schools could provide a video Glog as pre-lab work for students to watch at home, so that they come to class the next day ready to jump right in. Or Glogs could serve as guides for at-home labs, as enrichment activities or extra credit.

What do you think about this flipped approach to science labs? Have you incorporated similar strategies in your own classroom? Please share!

Using Glogster EDU to make the flip

Much has been said (and debated) about the “flipped classroom,”  a pedagogical model in which the traditional classroom structure — lecture in class, homework at home — is “flipped.” Students watch or listen to prerecorded material at home, and engage in collaborative exercises, discussions, and projects  in class. (If you’re not familiar with the idea, this is a good overview.) 

The concept is simple, but in practice, an effective flipped model requires a great deal of preparation upfront. Fortunately, with Khan Academy quickly becoming a household name and the launch of Youtube for Schools, teachers now have access to tens of thousands of quality recordings to help them “make the flip” without necessarily creating all of the instructional material themselves. The question then becomes one of delivery — how to make those resources easily accessible to students and motivating enough so that students actually do the necessary preparations at home.

We hope that Glogster EDU provides you with the answer. It’s quick and easy  to embed instructional videos in a Glog, which students can view from home or wherever they have internet access. The creative format is completely customizable and visually engaging for students. You can embed a podcast in your Glog, link to online resources, or use the data attachment tool (with Glogster EDU Premium) to attach a short quiz to check for comprehension. Students can leave their questions in the Glog comments, so you know exactly what to focus on in class the next day.

There are pros and cons to the flipped classroom, of course (as with any learning model, once size never fits all), but the basic philosophy is one I think we can all get behind: students taking control of their own learning. When class time is reserved for active learning rather than passive note-taking, students get the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and engage with the material in a hands-on way that will lead to authentic, meaningful learning.

Or that’s the goal, anyway. This is where you come into the discussion! Glogster EDUcators, we want to hear from you. Are you a proponent of the flipped model? How do you put it into practice? Do you use Glogster EDU to make the flip, and if so, how?

We’ve asked a few of our Glogster EDU Ambassadors these questions, and next week I’ll be sharing their stories, resources, and sample Glogs. I’d love to include your stories, too — feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Stay tuned!

Image from David Truss’s “3 Keys to a Flipped Classroom.” 

Update: New Glogster EDU Improvements

Today we rolled out another group of enhancements to make navigation easier on Glogster EDU. Check out what’s new!

  • Tabs keep all your management features in one place, within easy reach. No more scrollling!
  • Tabs now show the number of items inside for quick stats.
  • If you’re an Ambassador, your tools are now located above the live chat support.
  • Improved speed — even faster loading of all Dashboard items.

  • Click on the Ambassador icon to open your “toolkit.”
  • Not an Ambassador? Become one today!

The Glogster EDU team is working hard on more exciting product enhancements which we will announce soon. Stay tuned!

Glogster is Yours!

Glogster on Google Chrome? There’s an App for that!

The Glogster team is excited to announce the introduction of our application for Google Chrome! Check it out HERE

Why use Glogster EDU as a Google Chrome App? Because it’s easy and organized!

Once added, it will get its very own “app icon” so it will be easy to identify and open on your Chrome application screen.  You can also access your Google Chrome App on any computer, so no matter where you are, this application will synch with your Google Account.

Edutopia Weekly Giveaway Winners Announced!

Congratulations to the winners of the Edutopia weekly giveaway!

The following individuals now have FREE Glogster EDU Teacher Premium Licenses: Mary Hassell, Adam Newall, Jo Beth Dempsey, Adam Babcock and Lanis Taylor.  Congratulations again, and we hope you enjoy innovating your classroom with Glogster EDU!

A very special thank you to Edutopia for organizing this great giveaway.

The Power of the Shift Key

When you put an image, text or video onto a Glog, it appears as if you can only resize in proportion. This is where the Shift key comes in!

When you hold down the Shift key, you can resize your images/text/videos in all directions to make them fit in your Glog exactly the way you want them to.  You can also flip them! Watch as I demonstrate:

Make your Wikis POP with Glogster EDU!

Guest post by Kevin Jarrett of NCS-Tech.

Just about everyone reading this will probably agree that Wikis (websites anyone can edit) are AWESOME, powerful tools that are great for use in education. My personal favorite wiki service, Wikispaces, offers a plethora of features and functionality along with a compelling, simple user interface (UI). They also offer free upgraded wikis to educators. What’s not to like?

Like Wikis...Well, since they are primarily text-based, wikis often lack visual appeal. I am reminded of the quote made famous in the 1990 Dudley Moore comedy Crazy People: “Buy Volvos. They’re boxy, but they’re good.” Wikis, too, are “boxy but good.” A typical wiki will use text content laid out via tables, possibly some embedded images and maybe a few HTML tricks to improve its appearance, but, wikis fundamentally lack direct support for graphical, interactive, animated user interfaces.

That’s where Glogster EDU comes in! Consider, as just one example, the fantastic eToolBox wiki curated by my friend and colleague Dianne Krause (follow her on Twitter –@diannekrause):

WSD eToolbox by Dianne Krause

(To see the Glogster component of Dianne’s wiki in it’s own full-screen glory, click here.)

Whoa! That’s a wiki? You betcha! As you can see the main content area of this wiki is chock full of crisp graphics, helpful animations (try mousing over some of the targets on that page), embedded video and more. That’s the power of Glogster EDU– it’s EASY to create STUNNING designs that help your visitors quickly locate the information they want on a wiki.

Here’s another example, one I did myself, for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) 2011 convention, the largest gathering of its kind in the world:

Visit the High Tech Hall wiki: http://njea-hth-2011.wikispaces.com/

(And just for comparison sake, be sure to check out the alternate version I developed for iOS and other devices that don’t support Flash. What a difference!)

So how does this work? It’s pretty simple. The Glogster “front end” (as I call it) is built as the last step in the wiki creation process. You will need the wiki page addresses (URLs) for each of the sections (or “targets”) and some idea of how you want to lay out the page. You will use Glogster’s amazingly simple interface (shown below) to insert the link to each section using whatever Glogster design element you want.

Glogster editing interface

In other words, you basically build the Glogster to navigate to the various sections of your wiki by adding elements to the page with hyperlinks. (Doing so creates the nifty “pink circle” animation mouseover effect that confirms for the user they are about to click a hyperlink.) Once the Glog is done, you insert it using the Wikispaces “embed widget” – made even easier since Glogster and Wikispaces “talk to each other” and are directly integrated! See below!

Yep! That’s it! Build your wiki, create your Glog, embed, press OK, you’re done!

Glogster EDU is an amazing, powerful tool that lets you easily create interactive multimedia posters for any purpose. In this post, I’ve talked about how a Glog can enhance a wiki. You could easily use a Glog as a standalone website, since each Glog has its own unique URL. With unlimited storage, a huge collection of available graphics, the ability to upload your own media (images as well as video), and many eye-popping animations, Glogster EDU is a powerful tool for classroom use. One final note: the Glogster EDU learning curve is so gentle that kids teach themselves how to use it. Check out Glogster EDU today!

Kevin Jarrett is a Technology Facilitator, School District Webmaster, and Google Certified Teacher at Northfield Community School in Northfield, NJ.