This week's homework for my graduate work in Innovative Learning was to be about Darling-Hammond's book "The Flat World of Education" but this week turned out to be very different for me. We were also given the assignment of checking out two collaborative online apps, Voicethread and Wevideo. After a first look from all my team members, we decided that we wanted to find something more engaging and fun for the classroom. Researching new apps is both time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, if you are looking for free apps, however, there are many great apps that have a Freemium model where you get SOME of the functionality for free and if you like it, you ask Administration to pay for the premium version.
What I vaguely remember from a Google summit, was the mention of Google apps for education, also known as GAFE. Yesterday my teammates, Julie, Gary and I went searching around to see what was up. What we found was a plethora of choices that can help with online collaboration. Here's the link if you want to explore.
Once you download the app, or what looks like a plug-in or extension, you can then access your app, either through the apps website, or through creating a new document in google drive.
We chose the bottom app show above, Powtoon, which is an app that allows you to create your own cartoon animations. It has a collaborative function that you can get after you pay for the premium version, so we simply video conferenced, shared a screen and one person drove the app while everyone else contributed ideas and direction. After we had our main script done and recorded through our Zoom/Powtoon combination, the login was shared between us so we could individually continue to work on the animations offline.
This app was tremendous fun to work on and seemed to get us more engaged than we had been with the other two suggested apps. I'm really interested to explore the other apps listed above like Metta, Movenote, and Pear Deck.
We agreed that Powoon would be a GREAT app for 4th-12thgraders. The animation we made was about Creativity and when we are done with it, I will post here. In the mean time, check out GAFE and find some great online collaboration apps and digital storytelling tools!
Lisa Gottfried is a CTE teacher with 20 years experience as CEO of her own Video and Motion Graphics Production house. She currently teaches Digital Design at New Technology High School and at Touro University in the Masters of Innovative Education program. She loves her job and her students!