8 March 2013

Classroom Management Portals


One of the challenges of any big project is managing the different streams and places information and creation is happening.

Challenge 16 of the Flat Classroom certification also requires us to explore and create a Classroom Management Portal.

For my PL, I use NetVibes to manage my PL as I am usually doing about 3 or 4 online courses at once; without NetVibes, I would get totally lost! Here is a screenshot, open on my Flat Classroom Certified Teacher tab. NetVibes allows you to set up different tabs for different projects and add the content you need. I love it because I can include all the different websites and feeds etc that I need for any particular project, all on one tab, all in one place - and best of all, I can include a 'To Do List' widget so I can list my tasks - and more importantly, tick them off as I go :)

I have not used NetVibes as a CMP though, as I use Edmodo. However, for this challenge, I created one for my project The Octopus's Garden; my capstone unit for a PBL Certification course. I added 'widgets' to link to the project site, the Edmodo page, Blog feeds and Twitter feed for the project.

NetVibes takes a bit of playing around with at first, but once you have it - it really is a useful tool to keep everything together in one place. I even have my NetVibes tab 'pinned' in my Google Chrome so it is always there. There are built in widgets under 'add content' that allow to to add webpages, blogs, Twitter feeds, news streams, so lots of the work is done for you; a true 'pull' technology portal.

One focus of my PBLU course is on the management of my teams and their information traffic and communication across two grade levels - my mini flat classroom trial. My blog post 'Managing the Octopus' explores this in more detail.

What I like about Edmodo is that it means that even when I was off school last week with a hip injury, I was able to set lesson agendas with links to content and resources for my learners. Edmodos also allows me to schedule them to release just before the lessons started as well as set and release homework or polls when I need to. I like this as it allows me to be mroe organised; I can decide when I need formative assessments to happen, design them and post them even if they don't need to take place right now. I prefer to try and do things as I think of them rather than leave things to when I need them.

The above is a screenshot from the end of lesson, where I able to set the homework. I was also able to be online during lessons to respond to learners problems; I could add links to more resources and answer questions as needed - as in the lower post, where I shared a link to Google Search by Image for a learner who had an image, but had forgotten the source. Edmodo allows you to add polls - for 'choice'; assignments that you can grade - and it tracks progress; you can award badges (and design your own customised badges), and set up small groups to allow for differentiated tasks; it links to Google Drive, you had add RSS feeds, you can add other teachers, add parents, see who is contributing and to what... Edmodo is a great CMP. I love it, my kids love it - try it!