Monday, September 5, 2011

Calendars are Wonderful

Like many teachers, I urge my students to organize their work in binders and track assignments in their planners, but with Web 2.0 tools, they need new kinds of organization skills. At Jefferson, we use the free, K-12 version of CourseSites by Blackboard with our Project Lead the Way students to provide curriculum resources and a college-like experience. At UNI, my masters classes are provided online using the higher education version, BlackBoard 9.

I provide my students with a schedule for the class using the Announcements tool. I create a simple chart of the week (right) with information about what we are doing in class and what they should be working on for homework. I include the due dates for assignments here, but I also put due dates into the calendar. When students log in, they see the calendar on their homepage (above), and here the calendar includes information for all of the classes they are enrolled in. This is perfect for my students in DE and POE at the same time; they can prioritize. When they open the class page, they see the detailed chart if they need more information. It's also great when students are absent; they can submit work from home and read through presentations, and some of them will actually do it.

Students can also set up their accounts to receive calendar and announcement updates via email or text message. I have a feeling they will integrate a Twitter-type system someday. Last year one student put the assignments on her Facebook page, and everyone would follow her rather than log into the system, but now students can use their Facebook, Google and other accounts to get into the system too. Change is swift. I'm new to this version of Blackboard, and while there are some bugs (don't choose the Canada background), I enjoy using it.

Below, I created a short Animoto video demonstrating how to add Events using the Calendar Tool on Blackboard. It's a wonderful thing and I wish everyone who uses blackboard would use it.

1 comment:

  1. You are an excellent teacher, Jennie Kies, and your school district is very lucky to have you. It would be awesome if the teachers at UNI would use these tools so we could know what is due when!