Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pre-Research Fun?!?

I've been playing with Twiddla and Dabbleboard as possibilities for use in pre-research activities. In the end, I found Dabbleboard to be my favorite for creating graphic organizers. While Twiddla has more bells and whistles, I found the simplicity of Dabbleboard more appropriate for middle students to use. Twiddla would be better suited for sharing documents, photos, and e-mails throughout a group project.

I just started using Dabbleboard with my students to help them think about how they are going to organize their research. Never before have I had students so excited to do a pre-research activity! I almost had to pinch myself at the positive student response.

For very broad topics, such as the Revolutionary War, creating a map to plan research can help students develop sub-topics. These sub-topics could be used to narrow their research topic or to help them create areas of focus for their research. Depending on the age and/or ability of your students, the Dabbleboard could be completed as a class, in pairs, or as an individual.

Also, the map gives them a structure to use in their note-taking. Anything that helps students in their organization cannot be a bad thing:)

There are a lot of other great ways Dabbleboard could be used. I think it would be great for students to create charts comparing two topics/ideas. Here is an example I created on Dabbleboard comparing McCain and Obama.

Monday, October 20, 2008


My web 2.0 journey actually began in May of this past year after attending an eye-opening workshop by the always inspiring Joyce Valenza. (If you don't follow her blog NeverEndingSearch - what are you waiting for!) I have never been in a workshop where so much new information and so many new ideas were crammed into so little time . . . and so I had to explore more.

My biggest problem will be that I think I started the blogging process too late in my journey. I wish I could have taken this course 4 months ago. I have so many ideas and I have stumbled upon so many neat apps that I think I could sit here all day and night continuously blogging about it all. That said, I'm so glad that the first thing the web 2.0 class does is force me to start a blog. Now that I'm almost done my first entry I'm wondering, "why didn't I start blogging sooner?!?"

So, my goal for this class is to learn how to organize and process, in a more structured manner, the actual fruits of my life-long learning.

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