When teaching with the COWs in the past, one of the problems I always had was how to connect what we were doing in class to my student’s real world experiences with technology. Many students are not Mac users at home, and even those that are, are rarely using programs such as Kidspiration outside of the classroom. The result was that my students were learning how to use a program in order to complete a class assignment, and then not using that program again until the next class assignment. Compounding this problem is the time restriction when booking COWs for a single block that creates an environment in which all students are expected to complete their work in the same amount of time. Throw in the iPads, and now there is the question of how to save student work when they are being shared by multiple classes and are constantly being synced. One possible solution – web-based applications.
Some Examples: Google’s suite of online applications and Kidblog have already been covered in previous blog posts so I will skip over those excellent web-based applications and share some others that my students have had success with this year.
Haiku Deck– This slide presentation program started as an iPad app but they now also have a web app as well. Their user friendly interface makes them a great place to start for those new to creating web-based presentations. Students select a layout, add their text, and even search creative commons images within the app to add to the presentation.
Prezi– Another online presentation app, Prezi is slightly less user friendly than Haiku Deck, but it’s non-linear style allows for more student creativity. Prezi’s pre-built templates make a good starting point to learn the app.
Popplet – Popplet allows users to create mind maps or information webs using text and images.
PowToon – Create short animated slideshows or videos incorporating text, sound, animated icons and pictures. This program has lots of features and therefore takes a bit of practice to become familiar with, but it allows students to create dynamic presentations.
GoAnimate - Create short animated clips choosing from various cartoon styles. The free account limits video clips to 30 seconds, but even at that length this app allows for all kinds of fun and creativity.
This is just a small sample of applications available, and really you need to decide what is going to be useful and engaging for your class, but I hope that this inspires you to give web-based applications a try!