While this year’s Virtual Make-Up Days are complete, we know that many of our teachers are looking for more ways to add virtual lessons to their work. SO, we plan to continue this series of Virtual Lesson Resources. Today’s post is about curating and sharing resources:
If you have several digital resources that you want to share with your students, but you only want them to have to remember or locate one link, there are several great (and free) digital tools for organizing your resources. Here are 5 tools that can help you organize your virtual lessons and bring your digital tools into a single online space:
One great way to share a series of digital activities is by organizing them in a Google Slides presentation, a Google app available in your Google Drive.
Basically, you are creating a slide deck similar to a PowerPoint, except it lives online and can easily be shared with your students using their @evsck12.com email. The nice thing about this approach is that you can organize your lesson linearly, providing instructions along the way with links to the various online activities you design.
Here are some great resources for learning about Google Slides:
LiveBinders is a great free online curation tool. It’s set up as a virtual 3-ring binder with Tabs and Subtabs. The nice thing about LiveBinders is that many websites can be interacted with within the binder. You can also upload content or share videos, and you can add text and pictures to help organize the binder. When it is time to share, you can share the binder’s URL or embed it into a website. LiveBinders requires a user login in order to create a binder.
We like LiveBinders because it is easy to create and interact with, provides structure, and includes live content.
Here is an example LiveBinder:
Sqworl is a nice tool for organizing multiple links onto a single webpage. Each link includes a thumbnail view of the top page that you linked and can include text that you add as a label. This is a good tool for times when you want to give students a little more autonomy in terms of the order in which they interact with your content. Sqworl also includes a feature called Explorer that allows students to interact with the websites your curate without leaving the Sqworl group itself. You can easily share your Sqworl group by sharing its URL with students. Sqworl does require a user login in order to create a group.
We like Sqworl because it creates a visually appealing grouping of sites, includes a means for viewing live sites within the group, and is easy to create.
Here is an example view of a Sqworl Group (click the image to visit the site):
One of the most visually appealing curation tools is Symbaloo. This is a great tool to use when you have a large number of links that you want to share. For example, this would be a great tool to use when creating a learning playground of resources to introduce a topic. In Symbaloo, you link websites as buttons into a grid called a webmix. Each button can have an icon and text to indicate what it links to. Buttons can be organized within the grid to represent different subjects or content. You can easily share a webmix by sharing its URL or by embedding it into a website. Symbaloo does require a user login to create a webmix.
We like Symbaloo because it is visually appealing, easy to create and interact with, and embeds into other websites.
Here is an example Symbaloo Webmix:
A great “out-of-the-box” web tool for curating digital content is Thinglink. A thinglink is a picture that has interactive buttons embedded in it. This is a great tool to use to introduce a topic or to encourage exploration. Each link on the picture points to a different piece of online content and can include user-created comments that appear when a viewer hovers over a link. It’s easy to link websites, videos, or any other online content. Thinglinks can be shared by sharing their URL or by embedding into a website. Thinglink does require a user login in order to create a Thinglink object.
We like Thinglink because it is a new way to look at content, it encourages exploration, and it is easy to create and interact with.
Here is an example Thinglink (hover over the image to see links):
There are, of course, many other great curation tools. A few that we like, but that didn’t make our top five, include: