Thursday, 18 March 2010

Evaluating websites for "classroom" use: What classroom is that?

Recently, jomcleay tweeted:
Thanks to all who answered with their thoughts about twitter, some really good ideas. Now question is Twitter for classroom? Edmodo?

This tweet and many tweets and blog posts before have finally prompted me to comment on this issue.

Teachers have always reviewed and assessed the suitability of resources of any kind including websites before they use them in the classroom.

In the case of
websites that offer login services, it is absolutely vital, that teachers use a checklist of criteria to assess each product or service, before they "direct" students to register or even use during school hours. Some of the critical issues include:
  • being very clear about what is suitable for the age-groups you teach
  • looking for interactive resources and adaptable lesson ideas from reputable sources. They are in no short supply for educators.
  • being fully aware of the risks of using a service website that may reduce the potential benefits
  • reading and understanding any age eligibility requirements in the Terms of Service or Privacy statements
  • understanding the opportunities for and implications of student "sharing" attached to all the features and functionality of service websites.
... a short list to start ...

Finally, these articles touch on some of the relevant issues for educators wanting to engage students with the most powerful content and social media services for learning across all subjects.

Wikipedia fit for the classroom.

Is social media just for kids?

Facebook - To filter or not to filter?

Districts change policies to embrace Twitter, Facebook.


Blended learning - NSW CAP initiative

New literacies and ambiguity a great overview by Doug Belshaw

Look out for my next post on the key concepts and language for teachers to understand when reviewing digital resources for student access.

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