An introduction to Glogster
What on earth is a Glog?
As part of the online course I am taking, I was instructed to use Glogster to make a Glog related to the content of our course. I had heard about Glogs at my school, as our tech wizard teacher had briefly mentioned using them in her classroom. She had said something to the effect of, “it’s an interactive poster and it has lights, sounds, moving items, Youtube links and multiple text formatting options…!” The more Tech Wizard listed the functionalities and possibilities, the more intimidated the small group of teachers simply enjoying their lunch hour became. I put it in the back of my mind and focused instead on the next math lesson and whether my tuna fish had soured.
Upon arriving at Glogster, I was greeted with a picture of the Black Eyed Peas and my Google Chrome web browser crashing- repeatedly. It wasn’t until I started using Internet Explorer did the website run properly. I have updated my Shockwave Flash player multiple times, but it still does not seem to run properly on Chrome. Glogster runs perfectly well on the normally slower, and less efficient, IE.
For the Glog I made for the online course, I found that the creation of the Glog was very easy. You can view this glog here: http://daveraiken.glogster.com/daves-glog/
A Glog is a web-based program that is very user friendly. Anyone can sign up and create an interactive poster. Glogster provides a long list of text fonts, styles, frames, images, graphics that you can move around a background of your choice. You can upload your own images, videos or sound recordings. When you are finished, you can publish it to the internet as I have done above.
What do I get for the classroom?
The first page has a ‘teachers section’, as they have seemingly become aware of the implications Glogster holds for the classroom. Taken from their website, Glogster EDU Premium is “a collaborative online learning platform for teachers and students to express their creativity, knowledge, ideas and skills in the classroom”. The website lists the multitude of assessment and classroom activities that their program can be used for (book reports, class projects, presentations, distance learning, lesson preparation, etc) all in a “safe digital environment”. As noted in my first blog entry, my first priority in creating any type of online class activity or forum would be student safety and privacy. I don’t agree with publishing student work or having students work on a program that is accessible to everyone on the internet.
There are three account levels for Glogster EDU: Premium Teacher ($99/year), Premium School ($2 per student, per year) and Basic (Free, 50 student maximum). The differences between all three levels can be seen at this link: http://edu.glogster.com/product-information/. For the purposes of this blog, I created a Basic teachers account. I didn’t want to create an account for my upcoming school, as I felt it was inappropriate to do so until I have met my students and I have discussed the program.
Once I set up the account, I created a basic welcome page for the students to see. I included some graphics and a very brief introduction. This can be found here:
Creating this page, finding youtube videos and playing around with formatting took about 20 minutes- and my page is very basic. I have created an account with 20 students listed, with each student being given a random user name (eg s24q8re). I was emailed a separate log in and password for each student, which I would distribute privately.
Once students access the site, they can add in personal information of their choice (hobbies, interests, favourite TV show, etc). They can create different background (‘skins’) for their profile page- much like Myspace. They can then begin to create their own Glogs, which they can share with their classmates. I made a profile and a Glog for a fake student here:
Students can make multiple Glogs and can access Glogster from their home. While on the EDU site, they can tell me when their assignment is ready to be published and/or handed in. As a teacher, I can change passwords to limit access for some students or change the password to something they prefer. I can access their account through the ‘manage my students’ function on my teacher homepage. The only negative to the Basic Account is I cannot change the account names from the random user name (24q8re). I can see a little image with their user name, but that’s all. While in their profile students can write their name in (eg. Jill Smith) but as a teacher, I would have to look at each individual profile to find out who each student is. A way around this is for the students to upload an image of their first name in capitals, so I can see who they are. I would be uncomfortable asking them to upload an actual image of their face onto the website. I can make comments on their profile page that they can see.
I think the potential for this website is quite large- especially for students who prefer the computer to manually creating a poster on a certain topic. Media literacy and art (layout, colour schemes, size consistency, etc.) come immediately to mind, but so does language or social studies. I was impressed with the program and I would certainly use it in my grade 8 classroom next year.