Four Ideas For Using Online Tools to Extend the Classroom

Guest blogger, Barbara Jolie provides some ideas for teachers who want some ideas on using the Internet in the classroom to more effectively accelerate learning outside the classroom.

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For all the flack that the Internet gets, from minimizing attention spans to being a breeding ground for pedophiles and terrorists, if used correctly, the Internet may just be the biggest blessing for teachers and learners since the rules of logic were conceived. But using the Internet correctly is the hard part. For teachers who want some ideas for using the Internet in the classroom to more effectively accelerate learning outside the classroom, here are a few tips:
1. Use Wikis to create forums.
Creating a class wiki is one of the best ways for students to use the Internet in an exciting way. You can place your tentative syllabus on the Wiki, and every student can have his or her own page, in which they can post relevant articles or upload interesting information. Since everything on Wikipedia can be edited by all users, this is a great way for students to learn, discuss, and challenge each other and themselves.
2.      Encourage students to create their own websites presenting a certain topic.
In college I remember taking an introductory astronomy class in which the final project was to create a website that presented information about an assigned topic. This is a great idea for various reasons. For one, most students will find it more interesting than, say writing a research paper. Building a website is also a better way of teaching them to organize their research material, since websites are often broken down by different tabs and section. In this way, learning to build a website can affectively improve research paper writing as well.
3.      Place your notes on an online text-editor for collaborative note-taking.
Online text editors such as found on Google Docs and the now-defunct Ether Pad are great ways to get your students involved in the lecture notes process. When you put notes up on the web, your students can—in real time—ask questions, add suggestions, and edit ideas, all while on the computer. A chat function enables students to discuss these ideas while creating and editing.
4.      Have students create and post videos on YouTube.
I do not doubt that there is even one student in your classroom who spends at least some time on YouTube almost every day. If you want to get creative about projects, set up an assignment in which students get in groups to create short video productions that eventually are posted on YouTube. Trust me, the possibility that your students’ videos will go viral is enough motivation in a world hoping for YouTube stardom. They’ll actually want to do this project, instead of complaining about the due date.

About the author:
Barbara Jolie, writes for online classes.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

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