Monday, September 5, 2011

Great Online Collaborative Tool For Teachers:

Each year my new students learn quickly that I love sticky notes. They are the best thing ever invented for those of us whose lives are busy and, in my case, seem to have difficulty with my short term memory. Not only do I use them to remember things, I also believe them to be a great educational tool. I teach my students use them to mark their thoughts, questions, and ideas as they read. We also use them to share ideas, placing ideas on sticky notes allows you to rearrange the ideas and organize thoughts. As a teacher who loves technology you can imagine my glee as I discovered a Web 2.0 tool that combines my techie side with my love for sticky notes. in an online collaborative tool that can be used with students as well as adults. As an elementary teacher I am always looking for Web 2.0 that I can use with my under 13 year old students. There are a lot of great tools out there but many require email registration. This tool doesn't. Wallwisher is a webpage that allows people to post messages.

How does it work?
In order to create a wall that you could use with your class you will need to register. This will give you the option of making the wall private and set it so that comments must be approved by the teacher if you want.
Here is a screen shot of the wall creator page. There are 5 steps to creating a wall.
At Step 1 you will need to complete the url. this will create the link you can send or post so that students can access the wall. Make sure you use only numbers and letters, no spaces, symbols or punctuation. Also, you can make the wall private but if you want your students to see and post on the wall leave these blank. I would highly recommend checking the box that says "I want to approve every post . . .". That way you can monitor posts before they go live. The downside of this is that if you want the students to see ideas in real time you would have to be online ready to approve the posts as they come in. This might mean developing some management guidelines ahead of time.
On Step 2 you select a background for the wall. The orange wall is the default if you don't choose one.
Step 3, give your wall a title and brief description. This is where you can give students directions about what you want them to post. You can ask for question, ideas, images, links, or even video. If you forget to do this, don't worry, Wallwisher won't let you finish until you do.
At Step 4 you will need to enter your name and email. This creates a temporary account so that you can come back and make changes to the wall or approve posts. If you think you will use Wallwisher more often I would suggest creating an account. It's free to do so. Your students will not need to have an account in order to post on the wall.
When you are finished creating your wall click on the "Done" button in the lower right corner, Step 5. You will then be redirected to your new wall. You can then copy and paste the url at the top of the browser screen to your website or send it in an email. We use My Big Campus at our school so I will be posting the link there.

Here are some ideas I had for using Wallwisher:
  • Have students write book reviews.
  • Students could create a KWL chart for a new unit you are studying.
  • Ask students to brainstorm using the wallwisher wall.
The wall is saved under your account if you register. There is also an option to share or embed your wall on a web page.  When you get to look around at the FAQs and About Us pages. If nothing else, they are a fun read. The creators of have a sense of humor.  There is also a help section if you are having trouble. I don't think you will as the tools are pretty easy to use.

Try It Out
I've created a wall for you to try.
Go to my wall at and post your own ideas. To post you simply double click on the wall.

Now, I'll be honest here. I haven't used this tool with my class but I plan to try it out with my 5th graders. Check back and I'll post a comment to let you know how it went. If you use it let me know what you think as well.

I'm looking forward to trying this out. I just might have to say goodbye to my sticky notes!

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