New Thing 11: From the field

The new Thing 11 is about building community and we often think "community" in a broad sense, hundreds of model train enthusiasts for example. It can be much smaller. It may not even be a community in the traditional sense. A community could be a project.

I recently rediscovered Weebly, I think rediscovered is the right word but I am not sure. I must have seen it before but again I am not positive. Anyway the vehicle of this discovery was my nephew Tom who is a Freshman in High School in Massachusetts.

Tom knows my web-ish leanings and at breakfast one weekend asked if I had heard of Weebly? I said I did not remember hearing of it before and he asked if he could show me a project he had done on it (I say "on" in because it is a web-based platform). He got his laptop and pulled up a project on Ocean Energy that he and a team of classmates had created for his science class.

I asked Tom why Weebly and not PowerPoint? He said,

"To make things look professional in PowerPoint, you really need to know PowerPoint. To make things look professional in Weebly is much easier."

So the creation of a project becomes more about the actual content and less about the mechanics of creation.

I emailed the teacher, Erik Dellasa, and he said;

Weebly is something I have been using for two years. I am fortunate to have 20 laptop computers in my classroom. I do share them with our other grade 9 science teacher as needed. I have found it a very useful tool for many reasons. 

  1. Kids can truly work in groups (both in school and at home) The reason for this is that people can work on the same "project" from multiple computers.  Once they "publish" the other kid can see the updated work.  No excuses that..."I could not go over to so an so's house" If they have access to a computer, they can work on the same project.  I had a kid even do some work from his phone (outside of school)   Imagine the power of that. 
  2. The projects can be in depth and organized because of the format. I really like the way the kids can set up tabs and tabs within tabs. The renewable energy project is the first time I have kids used weebly. The kids are currently doing their second (and last) project using weebly. It is a biome project.  They are expected to select a biome and a specific location. (main tab)  The subtabs would be abiotic information, animals and plants.  Kids then do further sub tabs on mammals, insect, amphibians, reptiles etc.  It becomes a very in depth project.
  3. I can save the exemplars very easily. 
A great example of using an app in a way it may not have been designed for.