15 January 2012

A Playground, Lecture and College Prep

As a child I grew up with the four seasons and relished the coming of each seasonal change throughout the year. I  loved Autumn in particular,  with it's earthy smells and  chilly mornings,  the outstanding colours surprising me each day. I remember collecting leaves in different shades and shapes, pressing them carefully and creating wonderful scrapbooks. Later, while at university, I again appreciated the arrival of Autumn, using perfectly pressed leaves as reminders among the poems and theories I read through. 

Today, I live with two seasons and no longer walk in parks and forests deciding which leaf to collect. Today my collections come in other forms, other delights of colour and formats. And, as perhaps some readers may understand, they tend to be digital. These below are  a couple of them which I am looking forward to using this year. 

Twiddla calls itself a web-based playground and having explored its playground, I really look forward to introducing Twiddla to my students.  Once you sign in (after signing up), you will have a whiteboard (also referred to as the playground) where you can write, draw, add video, web links and upload files - as you can see from the example below:

An ether pad is another interesting feature which Twiddla offers, as well as the possibility of sharing a board link to make it into a public/share meeting with those who have the link, thus enabling collaboration on projects. You can create this shared space either by sending out an email (through Twiddla) or sharing the link. Twiddla also includes an audio option which adds to the richness of all its features.

The word "lecture" may bring up visions of dreary hours spent in lecture halls, with one's mind in far away places, but LectureTools tries to do the very opposite and engage students instead.

LectureTools is an interactive tool  for presenting information, creating interactive tasks,  allowing students to respond, take notes and study. It is free for teachers, however individual students need to pay a fee, while institutions are given yet another option of payment, allowing them to integrate LectureTools in their LMS.

Once a teacher signs up and confirms their email address, a PDF is sent explaining step by step how best to create slideshows and to use LectureTools.  With other options for presentations and slideshows, LectureTools may not seem essential for a blended learning environment (depending on level of education and students' ages), but would certainly be an asset for distance education. Here you can find more videos about LectureTools and how it is being used.

Acceptly, is a place for students who are finishing highschool and preparing to enter higher education.

Acceptly is free and offers students tips, advice and resources which they will need at Higher Education. As most students who plan to continue their studies at HE, Acceptly seems to be an interesting place for them to explore and continue developing their learning autonomy - an important characteristic of HE, where students are expected to be independent but often have so little training in how to be an autonomous learner.

What tools or platforms have you collected to use in 2012?

(Image created with Keep Calm and Carry On)

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