For about two weeks, there was some decent chatter about Glogster, an online poster-making site that allows students to create online collages, complete with pictures, audio and video. Given that I have a pretty tech-savvy group of students (and these days, who doesn’t?), I thought I’d just throw them in the water and see if they swam. Incidentally, this has proven to be a pretty good technique with most of the tech I’ve adopted in my classroom: students are very good at working through kinks and asking each other how to work technology, and even if I don’t have all the answers, they can use each other to work through any issues.
We had recently completed some work on a variety of ancient law. Students were to create a glog that summarized what they believed to be the theme of the ancient laws and explained how those laws connected to society today. Broken into groups, the students shared a google doc with one another in which they looked at eight different law codes and answered two questions about each. They then began to create the glogs based on their answers to those two questions.
So, on to Glogster. From my end, glogster was super-easy to use: I simply created a free edu account. The site asked me how many student accounts I wanted to create and immediately generated usernames and passwords for each student. I could then copy and paste each of those into the students shared google doc, and they could be off and running.
The students, on the other hand, had some issues with the interface. While they could access their accounts pretty easily, Glogster tended to run slow and the glogs they created tended to be difficult to manage. The kids remarked on a number of occasions about how Glogster froze up-while freezes were actually quite rare, it was hard to tell when Glogster had merely slowed down or stopped entirely. Overall, the kids (who are generally very quick to adopt technology) got frustrated on a fairly regular basis.
While the process wasn’t the smoothest, the products created by the students were outstanding. The posters were great ways to display the students’ work, and the posters themselves looked exceptional. An example is here.
Overall, while I loved the work produced by the students, the difficulties managing Glogster make it hard to recommend for short-term projects. With extra time (maybe as a final project worked on over a longer period), the technology would become more useful. I recommend checking it out and trying it with a select group of students.