I’ve been meaning to take a closer look at Glogster for a couple of weeks now, ever since I was having a chat with a colleague from school who was as fed up trying to get his students to make a brochure using Microsoft Word as part of the ICT provision. It turns out that his students were fed up too trying to make Word do things it wasn’t designed to do. I thought there should be a better option out there, and I think I’ve found it in Glogster.
Glogster is a Web 2.0 tool that allows students to create online posters or glogs, as they call them, which can then be shared on the internet and, crucially, they can be embedded on school wikis.
Many subjects, not least Languages, make brochures using computers every now and then. They are great for acquiring ICT skills, motivating students to do some research on a topic and write in the target language and, if planned properly, they are also fantastic peer assessment tools.
But why limit yourself to only writing? We live in an age of rich media and instant communication. Our pupils go home, get online and watch videos on Youtube, listen to music on MySpace or Last.fm and comment on each other’s videos or profiles. That’s what they do. They most certainly do not open Word for fun.
That’s Glogster’s advantage in my opinion. It offers students an environment which they are used to, it allows them to be intuitively creative (dragging and dropping, resizing etc), have fun and, most importantly, it allows them to include sound and video. Click here or on the picture above to go to a glog I made earlier today, notice the sound and video players.
If you are a language teacher, you’ll immediately realise how useful the ability to add sound files is. Students can record themselves in the privacy of their own headsets or at home, removing any reticence to speak in the target language in front of peers or teachers. If they get something wrong, they just delete it and try again, as many times as it takes to get it right. It’s brilliant.
So, next time you’re thinking of getting your students to do a brochure in the ICT rooms or as homework, get them to do a glog instead. I can guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome (it’s often the quiet ones who really shine, in my experience) and that you will have students wanting to speak write and research about your subject. What more do you want?
A very nice touch from Glogster is that they offer support for education by creating private school accounts. So no worries about safety then. Visit the Glogster Education page for more information.
After half term, I’ll be using Glogster with my Year 8 German group (12-13 year olds) to make posters about where they live. I’ll be back in touch with the results.
What do you think about Glogster? Can you think of any other alternatives to the good, old word-processed brochure?