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?
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):
(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:
(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.
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.