Tuesday, April 8, 2014

21st Century Learning and Communication Tools

The learning and communication tools available to teachers and students in the 21st century are abundant to say the least. It can actually be very overwhelming. It makes me wish there was a site that categorized ALL the tools available and gave a brief description of each and it's uses.

Tool #1
Well, I haven't found a site like that, but I did come across a site that categorizes and gives brief descriptions of several tools. Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools is a great place to begin! I found this site earlier in the semester while doing some reading for my Library Management course, and I pinned it to a board in Pinterest because I knew it was going to be useful at a later time. That time has arrived!

I learned how to do screenshots!

Tool #2
On Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools, I found several useful tools, but I want to highlight one in particular. Glogster EDU is a wonderful site! There is even a free tutorial to show you how to utilize all the features offered. There is also a free version (that lasts for 32 days), or you can choose to purchase the program. One downfall is that the higher the grade level; the higher the cost of the program. 

Glogster allows you or students to create digital posters! You can add images, videos, and texts to these posters, and you can embed them into a blog once they are complete. Students could work independently or collaboratively on these posters. 

There is also a Glogpedia, which is a collection of posters that others have made and published. These posters are categorized by subject area. Because I am in love with American history, I chose to embed a gloster about Benjamin Franklin. This is just one example of the many glogsters available in the Glogpedia. 

The cost for a 1 year subscription for an elementary teacher and 30 students is $39, which I think is a great deal for what you get!

Tool #3
Because I also love children's literature, I chose Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site. Here's a quote from the site that gives an explanation of what it offers.

"Find great books for preschool, elementary, and middle school children and teens and ideas of ways to teach with them in the classroom across the curriculum."

I believe children's literature is a great way to get little minds thinking and asking those questions we want to hear them ask! Those questions will lead to further exploration of sites like AVL and using technology to communicate what they've discovered which can then be shared with an authentic audience! 

Honorable Mentions

Citation Machine - Because there was a lot of emphasis on plagiarism earlier in the semester, I wanted to share this tool because it allows student to easily site a book or website. You simply choose what format and enter either the ISBN for books or the URL for websites! How simple is that? It will also check for plagiarism.

A Virtual Library of Useful URLs - This tool is very "useful" for students. The creator of this site has done all of the weeding. Scroll through the the subject headings (categorized by the Dewey Decimal System), and click on the topic of your choice. You will be directed to a list of several reliable and credible websites related to that topic.

Second Life Education - (...because I'm curious, and it was on that other syllabus.) I'm still trying to figure this one out. I watched this slideshare, 11 Ways to Use Second Life in Education, and I'm still scratching my head wondering if it's worth it.  By the way, slideshare also looks like a great tool!

This blog post could go on forever! I'm forcing myself to stop now!


  1. Awesome post and very informational. I love Glogster! I currently use Glogster with my students and they really enjoy it. For the most part, students are always engaged using Glogster; it is an awesome tool to use in the classroom. Great post!

    1. I'm not currently teaching, but I can't wait to use Glogster and some of the other tools! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hey Chea,

    Thanks for this post! I will add your tools to my tool bag as well. I particularly liked thinking about using Glogster as a technology tool with students to offer a fresh way for them to build and present a project. This ties in nicely with our PBL focus in this class! Even first graders could create some neat projects using this tool. I think it would motivate them tremendously. :)

    Great post!
    Mary Alice

    1. Mary Alice, you are right! Glogster does tie in nicely with the PBL method of learning. I was thinking the same thing when I chose to highlight it! Great minds think alike! :) Thanks for your comment!

  3. At one time Glogster was free. Ah, the good old days.

    I added the Virtual Library of URLs to my list of resources (not that I needed nmore because the do "go on forever".

    Well done.