Welcome to Module 2!

I’m really pleased with the work you did on Module 1; nice job! Hopefully, you were able to explore at least two tools and think a bit about how blogging might (or might not) work for your class.

Module 2 is all about Collaboration and Sharing. We’re going to look at tools that help you work collaboratively with fellow faculty or with students, as well as tools that help you share resources with groups. The four specific tools are:

  • Google docs
  • Wikispaces
  • Weebly
  • LiveBinders

To complete your work for this week, please choose TWO out of the four to explore. Follow the steps and then comment on this post with your thoughts. As always, please email me or comment on this post for help!

Google docs

Step 1

Watch this 2.5 minute video on Google Docs in Plain English

Step 2

Visit a few of these resources about using Google docs in the classroom:

Step 3

Browse through Google’s lesson plans. See the screenshots below for tips on limiting your results (click image to enlarge).


Click to englarge


Step 1

Watch Introduction to Wikispaces (there are MANY other great video tutorials on this page, too)

Watch Wikis in Plain English

Step 2

Check out a few of these classroom wikis:

Step 3

Visit Wikispaces and register for a free account. Once you do, you will have to create a new wiki. Call it anything you like. Then do the following (screencast follows, with help):

    1. Click on “settings” (top right)
    2. Click on “general” on the left
    3. Select “Wiki” under Application Type, then scroll down and save
    4. Click on “Wiki Home” (top right)
    5. Click “edit” to edit your new wiki!


Step 1

Watch “Welcome to Weebly”

Read about Collaborative Website Editing and watch the video on the page

Step 2

Visit some of the following classroom Weebly sites.

Step 3

Visit Weebly for Education and create a free account. Once you finish registering, you can watch a demo or create a website (I do not recommend setting up a class just yet). If you choose to create a website, Weebly will walk you through the steps. Try creating your site by dragging and dropping different elements onto the page!


Step 1

Watch this 1.5 minute video on LiveBinders for Teachers.

Step 2

Explore some of these classroom LiveBinders.

Step 3

Register on the LiveBinders website and click the “create binder” tab. Create a LiveBinder with at least one web page. When you set up your binder, use the following settings: Type in a title and description. Don’t worry about adding tabs. Select the “Education” category and make your binder public.


Module 1: Blogs

Welcome to Module 1!

Week 1 is your Introduction to this project, and therefore we’re exploring blogs. You are currently reading a blog, and this blog will serve as the online home of our professional development project.

Here are your tasks for the next two weeks. Details follow.

1) Register for a WordPress account

2) Learn about blogging

3) Choose two of the following three tools to explore

4) Comment on this post regarding one of those tools

Step 1: Registering for a WordPress account

Register. This account will allow you to comment on these blog posts. You may also want to use your WordPress blog later on, either as an individual blog or as a place to share with your students.


click image to enlarge

Step 2: What is blogging? 

Watch this video, Blogs in Plain English

Using blogs in the classroom

Check out the following blogs for examples of how some teachers are using this tool in the classroom.

Step 3: Choose two of the following three tools to explore

Register for one additional account (since you already registered for WordPress).

Here are some ideas for exploring the blogs you choose. You do not need to do all of these things, but do try to spend at least 30 minutes exploring each blogging platform.

  • Write a sample blog post on the WordPress blog that you set up when you created your account. You might write about something you heard about in the news that you think your students would like to discuss,  a thought about the book you’re reading in class, or a reflection on a recent project that your students worked on
  • Play around with the theme of your blog
  • Look at the blog’s settings
  • If available, look at the classroom management tools of the blog
  • Change your profile picture
  • Edit the “about” page of your blog

WordPress. You are using a WordPress blog right now. WordPress is not strictly for educational purposes. It is free, but you can upgrade your services. It offers numerous themes. It does not offer classroom management tools, and therefore may be best for single-user blogs. For more info on WordPress, click here (video).

Kidblog. Built specifically for classroom use. Allows you to create classes and users. More control over what students can and cannot do. Cannot be customized very much. Lots of privacy settings; easy to “lock down.” May be best for younger students. For more info, click here. 

Edublogs. Extremely similar to Kidblog, but with more options and features. May be more complicated to use, but may be more appealing to older students. For more info, click here (be sure to watch the video).

Step 4: Please comment on this post with your thoughts about ONE of the tools you explored. Make sure you’re logged into WordPress before you comment.

Some sample questions:

  • Do you think you would use this tool in the classroom? Why or why not?
  • What do you like best about this tool?
  • What do you like least?
  • What support do you think you would need in using it?
  • Do you have any ideas about how you might use this tool with your students? Or on your own?

Good luck! Please email me or comment on this post if you need support.

Welcome to Solomon Schechter Day School’s professional development blog!

This blog will serve as the online learning platform for the ongoing professional development series at SSDS. Sessions will run for ten weeks beginning November 4, 2013.

Every other Monday, I will post about a topic to this blog, with links and web tutorials for you to explore. In order to participate, you must learn about at least two of the tools and then comment on the blog post to reflect on one of them.

To supplement the blog, I will offer a session at the beginning of those two weeks with an overview of the tools. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions in person. Throughout the two weeks, you may reach me via email, by commenting on a blog post. If there’s interest, I may also be providing some video support via Skype or Google Hangout.

Thank you for participating in this project!