Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Keeping Track Anytime of the Year

Recently the American Association of School Librarians published their 2012 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning.   Under the category for Curriculum Collaboration within the perimeters of the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner under 1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within a learning community, 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners, 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess and 4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person one of the sites listed is SpringnoteAt their About section Springnote states:

Springnote is an OpenID enabled web application that combines the elements of wiki, word processing and file organization into an easy, simple, and intuitive experience.

Users under the age of 14 must have permission from a parent or guardian to use the services at the site.  To sign up enter in an ID, password, email address, nickname and agree to the terms of service and privacy policy.  A confirmation registration email will be sent.  A unique URL is assigned to each registered user based upon their ID choice.

When you initially sign in you are taken to your first personal notebook page.  You can create a more collaborative project using group notebook.  Across the top are an amazing array of choices for designing each of your pages.

The tool bar offers:
eight different font styles, six font sizes beginning with 8pt and ending with 24pt, font color, seven highlight color choices, whether to make your text bold, in italics, underlined, or strike through, a bulleted list, a numbered list, an icon list, a series of emoticons, create a link, under style (six heading sizes, superscript, subscript, body, quote, source code or division), alignment, indent, outdent, undo, redo, page background (white or lined), the insertion of an image, file, movie, map, equation, table, template or line and plug-ins including create a calendar, shortcut for paragraph titles, view as slideshow, star rating, create a list of subpages and the ability to create, update or remove a table of contents. Within each of items that can be inserted are several more choices.
For example under insert template the options are: group schedule profile, group member profile, personal profile, monthly calendar, monthly to do list, monthly appointments, monthly schedule, weekly plan, to do list, monthly diet diary, class schedule, weekly report, report, vocabulary list, bookshelf, meeting notes, discussion, guestbook, notification, event, recipe, web clippings, and slideshow.

There is no better way to explore a new web 2.0 application than by developing a way to use it in your respective classroom.  I decided to create a series of pages reflecting the unit of study I have done with third and fourth grade students for many years, The Mock Caldecott.  To begin I added an introductory page.

What I learned is that if you want to add more pages to a single page make sure you are on that page before you click Create a New page.  Then, after you have added the title, click the appropriate page in the tree under which you want it to appear.  If you desire to move pages around you must be in edit mode rather than view mode.

To change from edit mode to view mode click the labeled button.  To go back to the edit mode click on the small icon with crossed arrows or the edit mode pencil.  Clicking on the menu selection gives the user even more options as pictured here.

It was very easy to add a link to whatever you highlighted on any given page.  Uploading images single or multiple was a snap as well as using a URL to insert an image.  What I was unable to do after multiple attempts in IE and Google Chrome was insert a video using the embed code.

To share the pages in your notebook enter in a person's ID or email address.  You can make the pages collaborative or read only.  When you publish your notebook anyone can see it but you have choices about how the content can be used.  You can always switch a notebook back to private, stop the publishing.  I was uncomfortable exporting it to my blog due to the necessity of providing the blog password.

Overall, I give Springnote a high rating due to the array of options, no cost to the user and the short amount of time needed to understand its use.  The one drawback is having questions answered other than those already posted.  The link to my notebook is here.

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