For the purpose of this exercise I am going to base my program and dashboard in a teacher website created by Dreamweaver. I would post my calendar, course instructions, links to calendar, grade book etc. through this. This would be my central hub where students would find information and where they would branch out to various tools. In my current assignment as a face to face teacher, I am using Weebly as my dashboard, but it is somewhat limited and simplistic, for what I want to eventually produce, and I would like to move toward creating something more complex and customizable.
For my next step I would have my students create their own websites, or e-portfolios using Weebly or Wordpress. I would probably use Weebly with younger students and perhaps Wordpress with more mature students, although I am very fond of Weebly. As one of their first assignments students would create websites, with categories that suited the needs of the course, and links to the various web 2.0 tools that would need to access, including my Dashboard/Website, calendar, communication tools, etc.
For community and discussion I would create a class Facebook page, or perhaps Twitter, and I would use the comment sections in their Weebly sites. The Facebook page could be used for more communal discussion and the Weebly/Wordpress for more specific commenting and discussion.
For peer/mentoring and communication I would open a Collaborate Classroom and employ Skype and the ever dependable email. I would ask that students have a Gmail account, in order to employ Google Drive’s collaborative tools.
Content would be presented on their e-portfolios – either through a link or through direct presentation. A diverse set of Web 2.0 tools would be employed for assignment and projects, including You-tube, Slideshare, Tiki-Toki, as well as blogs and presentation features included in Weebly or Wordpress. Most file sharing would be handled through presentation on the e-portfolio, but email, dropbox, or Google drive could also be employed. A static calendar would be included in my dashboard, but I might also use a more dynamic tool such as the calendar provided in the Google suite.
If I were not using a LMS like system I would employ Jupiter grades for my grade book and student and parent feedback. I have experimented with this program and it is excellent. Unfortunately at just under $50.00 a year it is not free, but still not outrageous. Like many other of the programs mentioned it employs U.S. servers, so parent and admin co-operation would be necessary in order to run a program in this way. Jupiter quiz also has a quiz function, but I would probably use a program like Quizlet for this function.
Finally for presentations and collaborations I would not be shy to use Google drive, You-tube, or Skype as they suited the individual task. I would create assignments that introduced these tools in simple uses, and gradually increased in complexity as their projects became more independent and inquiry based.
Interestingly I am experimenting with a similar model to the one described above as I’ve moved towards a paperless, e-portfolio model with my French 9 and History 12 face to face classes. It has been a wonderful experiment and learning experience with relatively few hiccups, although we did lose network connectivity for 3 days before spring break and today the power went out for 3 hours. Regardless, I am looking forward to improving my practice and using more sophisticated and powerful tools in the future to facilitate student achievement.