At the heart of the paradigm shift in education lies the move to creating collaborative learning environments to replace the chalk and talk classrooms of the last century. Digital technologies promise to provide the tools which make this possible, but, amidst the endless stream of new applications, which ones are best?
A good place to start is to look for applications which are free to use. Proprietary software is often better, but schools are not bottomless pits of budgetary plenty, and in this environment free is always good. Thankfully there are a wide variety of free tools out there. Today I am going to look at one. I have not used it before, I am trying it out for the first time, and I have to say that it looks very impressive.
One of the most essential elements of creating any collaborative environment is to create a space where ideas can be posted to the group in a concise, accessible and user-friendly way.
Wallwisher.com is a site which allows you to set up a free wall for digital post-it notes. I set one up for this blog which can be used to share ideas about integrating ICTs into the classroom. Users can double-click anywhere on the wall and add post-it notes, sharing ideas and links to content. If there is a link on the post-it, for example a video, clicking on the note will open the content. This makes sharing ideas very easy and intuitive. The interface is clean and easy to use, although setting up the page took some patience. All in all, a tool well worth exploring! Especially as it is easy to share the link to your facebook page or twitter network. It looks like a great tool for professional development, and has obvious classroom applications.
If you set up a class wall, or groups can set up their own, they can research and share ideas beyond the walls of the classroom. The wall itself forms an archive of their ideas and if displayed on the Interactive whiteboard can be used in whole class discussion to give and receive feedback.