Even though my five children have long since completed elementary and middle school, many recollections from their school years linger in my memory. Take Project Posters, for example. Many a Sunday night, Id be settling back in my chair to read the newspaper, and around the corner would come one of my children. I have to make a poster for social studies (or science or language arts) and its due tomorrow!" he or she would say with a panicked look.
That last minute revelation would prompt a harried scramble through the house, looking for poster board and construction paper; a search that often ended in a frantic drive to the drug store at 10 oclock at night to buy poster board and whatever else was needed for the project. Eventually, I got smart and started to buy a stash of poster board so Id be ready for those Sunday night poster panic attacks.
Memories from those chaotic times came to mind recently as I browsed Glogster, an exciting poster-creation tool that provides a platform for students to combine text, images, video, and audio to create an interactive, Web-based poster masterpiece. At first glance, all I could think of was the number of trips to the drugstore this useful tool would have saved me if I still had children in school.
Visual communication is a process of sending and receiving messages using images. Visual literacy can be defined as the ability to construct meaning from visual images. (Giorgis, Johnson, Bonomo, Colbert, & al, 1999: 146) To make meaning from images, the reader uses the critical skills of exploration, critique, and reflection."
~ The Visual Literacy White Paper, Dr. Anne Bamford, Art and Design University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
After closer scrutiny, some clearly profound learning benefits for the tool emerged. Glogster goes beyond being just another scrapbbooky" tool -- it introduces students to 3-D communication skills, requiring them to merge the left and right sides of the brain as they seek to communicate and evaluate both information and meaning. The visual, audio, and textual capacity of Glogster not only will appeal to digital learners, it has the potential to support the visual literacy skills that are becoming essential skill sets for 21st century learners. In The Visual Literacy White Paper, Bamford suggests that a lack of awareness of visual literacy skills will impede students ability to communicate effectively, since visual images are becoming the predominant form of communication across a range of learning and teaching resources delivered across a range of media and formats." (Bamford, 2004, p.2).
Teachers have glommed onto Glogster with gusto, using it in place of traditional poster assignments. Other uses of Glogster have demonstrated how versatile this poster-creation tool can be when partnered with solid teaching pedagogy and teacher creativity. This past month, I introduced Glogster to my third- and fourth-year pre-service teachers; first as a tool for communicating key course information, and then as assignment sheets (sheet 1 and sheet 2). In turn, my students began using it in their own assignments, coming up with their own interpretations of how the tool could be used in their future classrooms.
Glogster has tried to make this tool as teacher-friendly as possible by making it easy to set up a class account, which provides a private account for each student (and generates passwords and e-mails them to the teacher). As with other Web 2.0 Tools, teachers are trying it out in a variety of ways. Especially helpful to new Glogster users is Traci Blazoskys Glogster Tutorial page.
As the teacher examples below demonstrate, the possibilities for Glogster are endless:
President Lincolns BiCentennial