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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Collaboration To Enhance Learning

This is a guest post from Bekah. Be sure to home on over to her blog, and pay her a visit. This post is great, because as she said a lot of public school children work together on assignments, especially in the later grades. Learning to collaborate, and network with other homeschoolers, is extremely beneficial.

Students in a classroom often work together to complete projects and other collaborative learning experiences. Working with other students can do a lot to enhance learning, including developing communication and interpersonal skills, using a variety of talents and strengths to complete a project, and group management skills. In a classroom, it's easy to group students to work together. But what about homeschooling?

There are a variety of web tools that can actually make it possible for homeschooled students to work together (once you have built a network of other homeschooled students, of course). If you are part of a homeschooling group, or make connections with homeschoolers in other areas, check out some of these tools to help work on school group projects together, replicating this valuable experience common in many "traditional" schools. Stixy is a free online bulleting board. It incorporates the ability to share pictures, .pdf files, documents, and more, and also allows you to create notes and to-do lists."> - this site actually allows you to create your own social network. If you have a homeschool grouop that meets infrequently, this can be a nice way to create a private social networking experience. Skype is an instant messaging tool that also allows voice calls (free to other Skype users). With the addition of the web cam functionality, it can actually be used to make live presentations to another homeschooling family. Voice Thread allows you to upload a file, and then have people call in or use their computers to record voice comments. It can be a great way to share and comment on virtual scrapbooks or projects. Prezi is a neat presentation tool. It's like power point in that you can create visual presentations, but it has so many more features. The learning curve for creating Prezis is a little high, but it is fairly intuitive as well, and just takes some basic familiarity with the system to create really neat-looking, original presentations. The presentations are then housed online, so they can be viewed from anywhere. - TimeToast allows you to create timelines. It makes them look a lot sharper than the posterboard versions, since it automatically takes care of spacing and incorporating images. There is an RSS feature. The only downside is that it only works with CE/AD years (so no ancient Greece history). - Glogster is a drag-and-drop way to create really neat-looking websites. It could be used for projects, or for personal scrapbook-type sites. It could also be used to create a general learning portfolio.

Bekah blogs at”>Motherhood Moment where she writes about family activities, eco-friendly living, money- and time-saving tricks, and more. She is a work-at-home mother of two girls, age 0 and 2, who teaches German and math at an online high school.

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