Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping it Digital-Publishing Options for Students and Teachers

Instead of printing assignments out and turing them in, what about considering some of the following online publishing options? In addition to saving paper, digital publishing allows students the opportunity to share their work with a broader community for review and feedback. We know that authentic audience is an extremely motivating factor for students when creating and sharing work. Spaces like the ones below can provide students with these authentic audiences.

Moodle Forum Posts
- This is a great way to share/publish writing, photos, audio clips, and even videos that are posted at YouTube. By giving students the Moodle Forum as a publishing option, their work is further opened up to the learning community for review and feedback. Moodle forums are not accessible to the outside world, so they're a great space to publish work that might involve privacy issues.

YouTube, Blip.TV and other video hosting services - these are great spaces to post student created videos. Privacy and copyright both need to be considered prior to making a decision to post to these sites, but they are wonderful options for many student projects such as this Civil Rights video created by students that I worked with two years ago (the video has over 10,000 views!)

Blog posts for writing samples - Using moodle blogs, students may publish their writing so that it is visible only to others who have Castilleja moodle accounts, or they may make their work visible on the open web. The downside of the standard moodle blogging tool is that it does not allow commenting (the next major moodle revision will include commenting--hooray!) We actually have a second blogging option in our moodle network called, "OU Blogs," and this does allow others within the network to leave comments. OU Blogs also allows "Class Blogs," which is a single blog for a class that all members may post to and comment on. Depending on the age of the students, they could create blogs at sites like edublogs.org or blogger.com as well.

Google Sites within Castilleja's Google Apps network - Google Sites are essentially wikis, and all students and faculty who have a Casti Google apps network account have access to easily creating Google Sites. Just like with a wiki, you can give others access to your wiki so they can edit the pages and contribute content to the site. Here is a google site created by our 8th grade science teacher for the recent bridge project challenge that students were participating in.

Mahara ePortfolios - this is yet another publishing options for students. Imagine a space where students could showcase their work from across subject areas over the course of the entire year (or years). See my sample portfolio online here. Their work could then be reviewed by members of the learning community. Mahara allows the user full control over the visibility of the portfolio. Older students who are college bound may want to publish their portfolios on the open web, while younger students may elect to keep their portfolios only visible inside of the network. It is a very powerful and flexible open source social portfolio space and it also plays very well with Moodle (in moodle 2.0 it will have more full featured integration than it has now).

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