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Edistorm

I was so inspired by this on Friday I just had to set up an account and start playing! I have created this Edistorm for my iPad Lessons course as a forum and repository.

“The name Edistorm is a mashup of Thomas Edison and Brainstorm and is inspired by Thomas Edison’s idea factories” – gotta love the clever nature of the mashup – not to be confused with editstorm.

Features: Below are the samples of the iPad edistorm I created for my tech camp class. The interface is very easy to use and provides multiple storm templates (e.g. 3up, Reading & Analyzing Nonfiction, Features Advantages Benefits, Pros Vs. Cons, and a 2 & 3 Circle Venn Diagram). You can add additional idea sticky in multiple colors, respond/comment to any additional idea (all comments on that idea are threaded within the sticky note), use idea votes (a “dotmocracy”), and even get ideas for your storm from the idea bots. Very clever and fully functional… did I mention it was all in real time and there is no limit to contributors? Edistorm also offers a Report feature which allows users to export the storm to a spreadsheet or PDF.

Edistorm: Category 2

Edistorm: Category 1

There’s an App for it: Another nice feature is the Edistorm app. You have to sign in to your account to access your storms. Once you do, you have full access to vote, comment, and view posts. This is great for teachers to keep track of their storms and students to contribute to their storms on the go. Gotta love the mobility! (The site also works on the iPad without the app).

Edistorm App

Edistorm works w/out the app too!

Here is a great video highlighting the features of Edistorm with a To Kill a Mockingbird theme.

Sharing & Collaboration: While I was really excited about the prospects of the storms, public does not necessarily mean “public”. Public is only accessible to anyone with a Edistorm account so users who want to participate must create a free account. I was initially hoping that there was just a link I could send users and they could participate with out having to log in. There is…. but it is only found by making the edistorm private and then they still had to login. Wishing there was an embed code on this and that the sharing was a little more intuitive. (If I am missing something… please let me know… =). Due to the sharing confusion, I decided to send out emails to all students who were enrolled in the class. When they sign up for an account, they will need to create the account with the email address that the storm was originally shared with. Once they sign in, my storm will be available for editing, collaborating, and contributing. This was my work around.

Examples of Use in the Classroom:

It appears that they will be announcing new educational features at ISTE so stay tuned… 

I am very eager and excited to see what they have in store! (Follow them on Twitter.)

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Web 2.0

 

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Today’s Meet

Todays Meet is a Web 2.0 tool that is free, requires no logins, and works off of any iDevice. It allows teachers to instantly create a virtual room for students to speak up. The tool can be used for discussions, brainstorming, preflecting, formative assessment, and even exit tickets. Responses are limited to 140 characters or less (much like Twitter). This type of online response is considered micro-blogging due to the size of the post.

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Other Ideas for Todays Meet:

  • Pop-Up Discussion: Try spicing up an educational video clip by creating a Today’s Meet virtual room via mobile devices. Students could post questions and answers to the film as they go or could even highlight character traits, discover elements of light and dark imagery, discuss misconceptions and vocabulary, analyze quotes, practice Socratic questioning, summarize, or locate Shakespearean references (see Raise the Curtain & Raise the Bar post) – almost like a virtual dialectical notebook. VH1 used to do something similar with Pop-Up Videos and many television shows (the Voice which claims to be the “most digitally integrated show on television”) will run Twitter feeds at the bottom of the screen. Not only is this form of media engaging – it is a great way to track comprehension and to have an ongoing discussion.
  • Evaluate Posts: Todays Meet also allows you to print a transcript of the discussion which is wonderful for counting and evaluating posts. I even had a teacher print it out, black out the names, and use it for a starter the next day. Students were asked to evaluate the spelling and grammar in the posts. What a great extension!

Things to be mindful of:

  • Public Access: Because there are no logins, anyone with the url can access and contribute to the group (which could be good if you wanted to chat with another class in another district, city, around the world, etc… but not so good for other obvious reasons. This is why I typically only leave the room open for two hours.). 
  • Student Info protection: it may be wise to have students use names that are generic or give them a # to avoid having student information made publicly accessible.
  • Inappropriate Comments: There is no way to remove or delete the comment from the feed. This may worry some teachers but I liken it to a student blurting out an inappropriate comment in the classroom. There would be no way to delete this comment from the minds or ears of his/her fellow classmates either. I would handle this incident similarly to how a teacher would handle the student who blurted out in class.
  • Setting Ground Rules: Ground rules should be taught prior to conducting a Todays Meet discussion. Students should be give a purpose for the discussion and instructed to stay on topic, be respectful, and post quality not quantity. If you want your students to raise the discussion level, these guidelines should be set and reiterated prior to initiating the discussion.

Do not let these issues deter you from using the tool in your classroom. Just be vigilant and have a plan in place for tackling these issues if and when they arise. While the site is publicly accessible, I have had no issue with inappropriate use to this date.

Using Todays Meet with an iDevice: using Todays Meet in conjunction with a mobile device virtually eliminates many of the limitation issues of the tool in that the devices can be used in the classroom, lab, or an auditorium, and they provide more of a 1:1 solution. If using Todays Meet on an iDevice, the easiest way to approach this is to create a web clip to the Todays Meet site on each device and then have students launch the web clip and simply type in the name of the room after the url. This way if the room changes every two hours, students aren’t redirected to other rooms and the web clip will work all year in any classroom.

Check out this video from LearnitN5 for a quick tutorial and explanation

Check out some articles which reference how it is used in the classroom:

Interested in Web 2.0 tools for discussion? Check out Edmodo, Edistorm (this one is phenomenal – check out this video), LinoIt (works on iDevices), and Corkboard.me.
Below is a screenshot of the Todays Meet handout for the site and some supporting resources

 

 

Check out some of the responses from our Appy Hour via Today’s Meet!

 

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Posted by on June 3, 2011 in ELAR, iPad, Web 2.0

 

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