Glogster: At Best, A Meh
Like most educators, I feel a lot of pressure to be constantly trying out new educational tools that I learn about from colleagues, Twitter, and my Google+ communities (in fact, Ramsey Mussallam posted about this very pressure today). So, today, in spite of its ugly name, and at the urging of my school’s Ed Tech guy, I gave Glogster a try.
Glogster is a visually-appealing, web-based app that allows students to make digital posters that include video, audio and images. The upside is that students can use teacher-made (or teacher-selected) templates to create their work using the “Re-Glog” function.
So why only a “Meh?” As a high school teacher, I found that Glogster is, at best, a substitution activity for teachers who are currently tethered to their butcher paper projects. While it allows students to curate materials, and thereby enhances their research skills, it doesn’t allow students to collaborate on the same document, so effectually, students are tied to collaborating in person, in the classroom. And, the editing interface is a bit clunky. Additionally, Glogster doesn’t allow comments, therefore bypassing the crucial step of evaluation and student reflection. Oh, and it doesn’t work on an iPad. Lastly, is the fee-factor. While many web 2.0 tools use a “Freemium” payment scheme, wherein basic function is available to students and teachers for free, Glogster charges on a per-student basis, as tied to the teacher. So, 10 students are free; 125 cost $99 and 250 students (with up to 10 teachers), cost $399. While I’m not opposed to paying for sound, educational products, I am miffed that Glogster sets the per-teacher student load so low, particularly given the large class sizes in most schools these days.
So, I’m all ears: what are some good, collaborative tools for enabling students to visually share information?