CrocoDocs Online Annotation Program

Another great online find!  A free online program called CrocoDocs allows users to upload documents, PDF’s, photos, PowerPoints, etc.  These items can then be shared with other users and you and other users can comment, highlight and annotate the material.  It’s a great collaborative editing tool as well as a discussion board.

I recently used this with my Spanish 3 class.  I put up our notes on Colombia and asked the students (working in groups of 2) to enhance the notes by adding a piece of quality, academic information to each slide.  For example, on the slide where I introduced the flag of Colombia, students added information about the meaning of the colors, the date of independence and information about the constitution.  After they are done adding their information, I can download the new annotated document with all of the new information.

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I think that this program could be majorly useful in classes where proofreading takes place or any kind of collaborative reviewing.  In this program, your comments just show up as suggestions rather than actually editing the information.

Students are required to have their own username and password to use Crocodocs.  I set-up 10 generic accounts for my students to use and I think it worked very well.  I had originally planned for the assignment to last 1 and 1/2 class periods (about 70 minutes total) but I underestimated how fast my students work with technology.  Most groups were done in about 30 minutes.  I’m pleased with the results and will be using this program again in the future.


Student Blogs

This year I’ve been requiring all my Spanish students to access a classroom blog and to post their own personal blogs.  My original intention was to get them to reflect on the ways Spanish melts into their everyday lives.  I figured if they could make the class material personally relevant and meaningful, it would enhance the everyday experience in the classroom.

For the first quarter of school, students seemed unsure of what they were doing but went along and did it because they had to.  I realize that there is a learning curve with blogging.  One doesn’t become a blogger overnight – – especially not when your teacher is forcing you to.  But as we approach the new quarter, I feel that they are starting to see the value of blogging and the overall inspiration of this experience.  A few of my students have realized that the blog is their chance to make things personal; they don’t have to write formal sentences that please me.  They are opening up to it and having fun with it.

I think it might take awhile for everyone to “get it” but nevertheless this is a truly valuable educational experience.  I love reading what they have to say and I love that it is “out there” on the web for everyone to see and read.  I like this so much better than having them write on a crinkly sheet of notebook paper that then sits in a folder on my desk for a week before being returned to the students hands before quickly ending up in the trash can.  I’m very much enjoying this experiment and hope that my students do to.

Please visit our Spanish Classroom Blogs:

Spanish 1, Spanish 2, Spanish 3

An Edmodo Cheerleader

As my students can probably tell, I love using Edmodo.  I found Edmodo at the end of last year and used up a chunk of my summer trying to decide the best ways to use it and investigating all the little in’s and out’s of this marvelous site.

This fall I was asked by my administrators at Denver to present a short technology presentation during the NICL Professional Development Day on October 15, 2010.  I was very flattered, but most of all very excited to be able to tell people about Edmodo and how great it can be in the classroom.

The presentation went very well.  I met some teachers from other schools that use Edmodo and heard only great things about it.  I’ve also been talking with some of the Edmodo network people and I’m trying to worm my way into their inner circle so I can find out about the new developments before they come out.

I’d like to thank my students for volunteering to be in our little Edmodo commercial.  (I’m going to pretend that they really like Edmodo, even if they were just trying to say nice things to make me happy and get on my good side.)