Monday, February 24, 2014

Collaboration & digital posters

A classroom that directs students to cluster in small groups can be a great environment for collaborative learning.  When one member of our team points out this feature of the active learning classrooms, many instructors ask for examples of activities or inquire about the availability of tools that foster collaboration in the classroom.  Reasonable requests!  

The intention here is to provide an initial example/suggestion that aligns well with something already happening on the UWEC campus: research posters.

Student researcher Emily Anderson presents
results at UWEC's CERCA event
The campus community already embraces collaboration on a regular basis.  Undergraduate students collaborating with faculty on academic research, for example, is something that UWEC prides itself on (rightfully so!) with an annual event highlighting the 200+ collaborative projects that have taken place over the academic year.  The majority of the researchers share their process and findings with others through... posters.  

Why not have students create posters for class projects too?  An instructor that inquires about this possibility is often reminded of the cost of printing posters as a deterrent.  Not all posters have to be printed!  The creation of a digital poster is an available alternative.  Here are two options:
  • Utilize the existing PowerPoint template offered by Learning and Technology Services (LTS)
    • See this webpage for info on accessing the poster template as well as tips.
  • Explore a web-based option like Glogster EDU
    • Like a PowerPoint slide, a "glog" allows for images, text, video, etc.  Different templates are available, including more than one timeline layout and one for a historical biography.
    • A glog is designed to be shared online and can be accessed with a link or embedded into a webpage.  
    • For those interested in learning how to use Glogster, this YouTube video provides a helpful overview of the account setup and creation process.
    • Note: I am in the process of creating an example glog; another post coming soon with some additional insights about the process and potential for group work.
Students can present the digital poster in class or share them online.  For in-class presentations, sharing the poster via the room's main projector screen is one option that will work in most classrooms on campus.  The active learning classrooms, however, do provide a second set of options; the monitor(s) attached to each pod can be used to present the digital posters - with each group presenting their own poster and the audience moving about the room, or one group's digital poster being featured on the pod screen(s) and/or the main projector screen.

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