F - Forms, Facebook, Flickr and Firefox
Is anyone out there? This question might come to mind as you start making your site. In previous lessons we set up a class page with Blogger, and Blogger does offer analytics so you can view traffic to a site, but unless you activate the comments section, it is hard to gauge or generate interactivity with students. In today's lesson, we will look at how to use Google Forms and Facebook to add interactivity to a class page. We will also take a peak at Flickr.
What would a lesson be without a quiz, right? Teachers love quizzes. With Google Forms, teachers can create quizzes and post them on Blogger, Facebook or e-mail via a link. Subsequently, Google Forms then can be converted to a spreadsheet for collecting results. Google Forms can also good for creating contact forms, class surveys, submission forms, and much more.
Facebook was never intended to be a LMS like Blackboard or a CMS like Wordpress, but it can be by creating a Facebook Page for the class. Facebook Pages are incredibly powerful because it allows teachers to create protected learning environments with just a few clicks. Because Facebook is so universally used, students can easily access content without having to register or remember new passwords as long as they already have a Facebook account. Also, once students are part of a Facebook Page, they recieve instant feedback on any updates to the page. Students can also post their own submissions and interact via smartphone in conversations.
Which is a better free CMS, Facebook or Blogger?
Like Blogger, Facebook can be an incredibly powerful, cost effective, private LMS. There are a few drawbacks though. One is that students need to have a Facebook account unlike with Blogger. Also, some students might like using Facebook for personal fun, so they will resist using it for something seriosu like studies or work. Furthermore, some student might not want to share their Facebook ID with fellow classmates. Still, compared to Blogger, it is much easier for generating conversation, sharing content, and blasting updates. It is also better for drawing the students to the content. Overall, it is hard to say which one is better, as they both offer many useful tools. It really comes down to the presentation and interaction preferences of the instructor.
Remember all those boardwork photos we are using? Do you need a place to host them? Flickr is a good option for hosting lots of images related to content. While you can host images on Dropbox or in Drive, with Flickr you get a few advantages. One, it allows other people to find your work. While most people are not interested in snapshots of boardwork, for some subjects such as math or language, a collection of boardwork might be interesting to other teachers. Also, Flickr allows the creator and visitor to make notes about images, and it is easy to create collages of related work. Plus if you are going to be archiving lot of images over a long period of time, Flickr is a good option. Flickr is also a good option for students posting work. For example, if students need to take many photos for a class project, Flickr makes it easy for students to set up an account and share work.
In this series we will look at four browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and SeaMonkey. While most browsers are essentially the same, each does have a few unique points and it is always a good idea to familiar with all of them. With Firefox, the greatest tool is its Ad Block plug-in that blocks any ads to a webpage. This is very useful for teachers presenting webpages in class if they do not want any adds displaying on a screen. Firefox also has many plug-ins to is browser that can enhance the users viewing experience.
What about Safari and Explorer?
Notice that we will not highlight either Safari or Explorer in the series. The main reason for excluding them is that they are not used that much. Explorer is reportedly being phased out by Microsoft and Safari has a very small user share. Microsoft recently introduced Edge but its usage numbers for consideration.