Friday Freebie: Collaborize Classroom. One Heck of a Discussion Board Site!
That's why today's Friday Freebie is such a powerful tool for teachers. It's Collaborize Classroom and it's an online discussion board that's free, easy-to-use, and very powerful. With Collaborize Classroom, setting up an account is extremely easy. And, you get a unique URL to send to your students. They create their accounts and "request" to join your site. A simple click in the administrative console lets you allow the students in.
If can create groups based on contents areas or class periods and place your students into those groups. You can also create categories for your topics and assign them to specific groups. Creating the topics is a snap - create a catchy title, give the kids a description on what the topic is about and what you expect from their replies, and then you can choose from four different types of responses. There are open ended discussions, yes/no questions where students have to take a yes or no stand and defend it, multiple choice discussions where students pick a stance from a list and defend it, and a voting or pulling option.
In the description you can have hyperlinks, or in the topic itself you can add an attachment or photo to further enhance the discussion. You've got some great administrative controls over the color and feel of your page and the interface is extremely user-friendly for both teachers and students. Not sure of a good topic to discuss? Well, they have you covered there as well with an online community of teachers sharing their discussion topics!
Collaborize Classroom is another "no-brainer" if you're looking for a way to engage students in lively thought-provoking discussions, do it online, and do it for free. Give it a try!