Glogster in Practice

The following post written by  Dr. Claudia Mausner details her  experience using the Glogster application in the classroom:

An Example of a Student Created Glog: Full PDF of the Glog (pictured below)

Glogster

My friend calls me the technology wiz who really dislikes technology.  I accepted the iPad loaner challenge, recognizing that it behooves me to join the 21st century and explore the world of tablets.  I attended the monthly user group meetings and learned about the Glogster app from Education department professor Peter McDermott.  My understanding was that students could use this website to create multimedia posters online.  Little did I know introduction to this app would mushroom into a major class assignment!

Each semester for the last few years I have arranged a Sustainability Tour on both NYC and Pleasantville campuses for my videoconference course ENV 235, Sustainable Living in Our World.  This year I would be unable to attend, as I was organizing an environmental conference in Washington, DC.  I wanted to be certain that students participated in the tours despite my absence and I also wanted students to share experiences with their classmates on the “other” campus.  My “aha” moment came when I realized students could create posters with Glogster and, to increase the excitement level, I could turn the assignment into a contest.  One of the students needed extra credit and thus volunteered to create a Survey Monkey questionnaire allowing her classmates to rank the posters and provide evaluative comments anonymously.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about technology, it is to expect the unexpected.  The complexity of this assignment grew at every step.  I hadn’t realized that Glogster required the professor to open an account, but when students couldn’t access the software I went ahead and purchased a relatively inexpensive 1-year account that provided space for 30 student posters.  Only to learn after-the-fact that a more limited free version was also available.  In order to post the completed glogs on Survey Monkey they would have to be in PDF format, but Glogster is designed for online use only.  With guidance from the company helpline, I downloaded freeware from Bullzip to convert the glogsters into PDFs.  Since the Sustainability Tour posters were beautiful and students spent far more time on the assignment than I had anticipated, I decided to have them printed.  The posters were hung and admired at the new Environmental Center in Pleasantville during a recent party introducing the new Environmental Studies and Sciences Department.

All of my original goals were met, and then some.  Students loved using Glogster.  The full version has many exciting tools, including built-in survey software.  Students did not include videos in their multimedia posters because this was not compatible with Survey Monkey, but in the future that would certainly be an option.  There was 100% attendance for the tours despite my absence, and I could determine by reviewing the posters that they listened and learned.  And students had an opportunity to share their experiences with classmates on the “other” campus.  New technology has many challenges and can often be time-consuming . . . . but it offers incredibly rich surprises to strengthen the learning experience in wonderful ways!

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