So….the Easter holidays are finally upon us (okay, some of you have already been off school for a week or so) and it’s going to be a longer holiday than usual. As we’re not guaranteed to have great weather (this is the UK after all) I thought it best to suggest to pupils some things they could do over the break. Now there are lots of things I could have suggested but there are some great tools available at the moment that allow pupils to work collaboratively from wherever they may be – all they need is a computer and the internet. So here are a few things that I’ve suggested.
After the break some pupils will be working on projects for our local Film Festival and it made sense for some of them to work together in small groups. We’ve already been using Primary Pad in the classroom throughout KS2 and now pupils have started to use it from home to connect with each other and work on ideas. Primary Pad is perfect for this and is so much more than just a collaborative word processor: it has a sticky notes section and includes Primary Paint for collaborative drawing. I’m really pleased that pupils are making notes and planning out their ideas in this way: they’re even thinking of using it to plan their script! Very cool.
Another collaborative project I’ve asked some pupils to contribute to was something started by my friend Simon who has the most fabulous blog and regularly contributes to a number of educational websites> He’s also fairly prolific on Twitter and is well worth checking out if you’re looking for great educators to follow. Anyway…Purple Mash updates all the time (do those bods at 2Simple ever stop???) and one of the great things on there is 2Investigate which now has a great collaborative feature. Simon has asked some of his pupils to add to a bird study database and I’ve done the same: a number of students are going to birdwatch for an hour and add their data to a collaborative database that has been set up. I can see this feature being very useful: a homework project like this is just the tip of the iceberg: think of the possibilities there are, setting up collaborative databases with schools across the UK, and beyond, and being able to collate, use and compare the results – fabulous!
Now Prezi is not usually a site you might consider to be collaborative but you can invite editors to work on projects and also get pupils to collaborate by using a group or class login for all their projects. While this can be a little cumbersome at times (pupils make sure they include their names in the titles of their Prezis so I can check who has been working together) I have to say that Prezi is one of the online tools that has really caught the imagination of children in Year 6, with many signing up for their own personal accounts and using at home regularly. Recently pupils have been working on collaborative projects linked to internet safety; starting them in school and completing them in their own time. Really, you couldn’t ask for more.
The last collaborative site I’m going to mention is the pupils favourite online stickies site: Lino it. We use it for collaborations, brainstorming topics to record our prior knowledge or what we want to find out. It is also regularly throughout lessons and as part of plenary sessions. It’s truly useful, more inclusive than some other stickies sites (the font is clear, it is well laid out and the backgrounds are not distracting) and really versatile. Just give it a go and see if your pupils like it!