October 2007, Volume 8, Issue 4

Diagrams Online - Another Web 2.0 Feature

Anyone who wishes to pass the GED needs to know how to interpret charts and diagrams. Such graphic problems come up in math, in social studies, in science, and even in reading. Yes, Excel excels as a tool for creating tables, charts and diagrams. All MS Office applications have features that easily produce charts. Inspiration software is probably the most popular separate application for that purpose. Students love putting ideas into images!

What's different about Web 2.0 applications? They build community, something our students yearn to have, and encourage teamwork, something our employers wish our students would appreciate. Following are two of several programs that allow sharing of the product with others who can modify the graphics and enhance the outcome.

http://www.gliffy.com/ and http://www.drawanywhere.com/  offer many of the features of other mind-mapping software with a few additional features. They allow students to automatically create and post diagrams to the web and and invite other students from anywhere to collaborate on the diagram. Is it free? Yes, with some limitations (3-5 diagrams at a time), but the cost for more features is also very reasonable $20-$30/yr for unlimited number of diagrams. Check it out. I really had fun building images and connections using their very cool tools! Signing up is free, and access to the programs are instant after login.

Since diagrams are visual expression of data, such programs can engage ESL, ABE, GED and other learners equally. For those with limited language ability, the teacher can provide the data, discuss its meaning, and then have students interpret the messages online.

Wikis and Clones - Another Web 2.0 Feature

A Wiki is a website that lets anyone easily create and edit pages, promoting group collaboration. That's how Wikipedia emerged as the largest holder of information in the world, surpassing the Library of Congress, if you eliminate repetitions. Wikis can be monitored to evaluate edited resources or not. In the classroom, that is not an issue.

http://www.schtuff.com/ - offers a free Wiki service, unless you want bells, whistles and more space. Use it to collaborate on group projects, create a blog, share photos, take personal notes and much more.

We talked about Google's shared document program, which is a modified type of Wiki. I highly recommend it as a way to engage learners in writing collaboration. Here's an even easier tool, called Writeboard. Writeboards are sharable, Web-based documents that let you save every edit, roll back to any version, and easily compare changes. To try one out, go to http://writeboard.com/. It's free and easy. Those of you who are tired of those papers piling up for editing and grading, may love this tool. So will your students. Let them teach each other. That's the way of the new Web 2.0 generation!

Resource Sites (not featured in previous issues)

http://sabes.org/links.htm - http://www.gliffy.com/SABES (System for Adult Basic Education and Support) - I found the Technology, Curriculum and Other links tabs helpful. The Workforce development section has some nice PDF links for classroom and other uses http://sabes.org/workforce/system.htm

http://alri.org/harness.html#lesson%20plans - Harnessing Technology to Serve Adult Literacy - This is a simple site with lots of resources to explore. Scroll down and check some of the listing.

http://www.manythings.org/ - Interesting things for ESL students of all levels. I got a real kick out of listening to some old time drills for irregular verb forms that the recording made fun! They made them rock!

Think Twice

What word, expression, or name is depicted in each box below?

1.      2.    3.

If you absolutely give up, click on each box for the answer. (I'm too far to hear your cries or to feel your vengeance. ;-)

CONTACT ME: leecy@coloradoadulted.org