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Collaborize Classroom is one of my favorite new Web 2.0 teaching tools because it is a great way to engage students and increase their participation in learning. The site provides teachers and students with a private platform for participating in online activities, assignments, and discussions.
Multimedia - Microsoft Office documents, videos,
pictures, and PDFs -
can be embedded into the lessons you create in your online forum. This Web 2.0 tool is a great addition to your list of teacher resources.
Through the site's wonderful versatility it also is an engaging way to address multiple Common Core Standards - another reason to make this as a must-use teacher resource.
The site's owner says that "collaborize" comes from a combination of the term “Collaborate” and any one or more terms: “Realize”, “Energize”, “Materialize”, “Improvise.”
Since the site operates similar to some of the popular social media tools, students will find it easy to understand and participate in the activities in the classroom and at home.
The site's private environment gives students who normally don't participate in class a chance to do so on their own time without added pressure. Perfect for our shy students! Many teachers using the site report that they often have 100% completion of the homework assignments posted on their class forum.
The site gives teachers detailed student participation reports for easy grading. It also allows teachers to publish results from discussions so students can see the results in class.
Another big advantage is that the tool is the right price - free - and completely private and secure.
Collaborize Classroom now has an app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The app provides access to the discussion features, assignment posts, and other elements that teachers add to their Collaborize Classroom websites.
Below is a good video that introduces the site to teachers.
21st Century Skills
The online forums help students develop communication and collaboration skills that will prepare them for the workforce and benefit them throughout their careers.
In the Classroom
I really like all of the resources for teachers and students that the site provides to help you have a successful online experience. Under the "Free Resources" are tools to get you started - an online student code of conduct, a list of do's and don'ts of online communication, and information on formulating strong questions. There are many resources to use to teach students how to have respectful, productive discussions online.
The Topic Library includes thousands of free lessons searchable by subject and grade level that you can use or you can create your own. I like the icebreaker lessons that you can use at the beginning of the year to get students familiar with the site and with each other.
Another good feature - Teachers are able to post modified versions of the same assignment. Creating different versions of assignments help support customized learning and differentiation for diverse groups of students. This feature is a good way to address the needs of ESL students and students with varying learning abilities.
This Web 2.0 tool for teachers supports the use of blended learning, a combination of face-to-face instruction with independent work done online, and the "flipped classroom," a subset of the blended learning model, while allowing students to participate in a safe environment on their own terms.
The site lets you publish results of the online activities in a graphical format so these discussions can be integrated into the classroom activities.
Reports - The detailed participation reports help you track and assess students' responses. These reports show you how many times a student logs in, answers a question, posts a comment, and replies to another student. A User Report can be printed for any student and shows all of that student's work in a given time period. This report is an easy way to provide writing samples to share during IEP conference and meetings with counselors and parents.
Assessment - The site provides an Online Discussion Rubric here.
Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Collaborize Classroom helps develop reading, writing and language fluency skills by providing a safe environment for students' to communicate and collaborate with one another.
These online discussions support the CCSS Speaking and Listening Standard requirement of effectively engaging in a "range of collaborative discussions." Students have time to read and consider the information online and then think about their response before posting it in the forum.
Various strands of the CCSS Writing Standard are addressed as students write online across the curriculum while engaging in discussions and providing feedback to their peers. In doing so, they become motivated to improve their writing skills and encourage others in doing the same.
Teachers can effectively scaffold assignment requirements to increase the rigor of the work students do in the online forums to increase more depth in participation and responses.
The site provides excellent information about ways it meets areas of the CCSS including examples of lessons supporting specific standards for high school mathematics, science, social studies, and Engligh language arts classes.
Check out Collaborize Classroom: Common Core State Standards.
This Web 2.0 teaching tool really gives you all you need to set up your online class forum, plus more! In the Professional Development resources section there are on-demand webinars explaining how-to get started and organized, ways to teach Common Core Standards, the blended learning concept to engage students, the flipped classroom model, and more.
Check out On-Demand Webinars.
Collaborize Classroom provides a safe, secure, and private environment for students. Teachers moderate students' work online.
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