Tool Review: Glogster

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm
Jennifer Dick's picture



Everyone who’s had to make a poster for a class project at one time or another, raise your hand. I’m going to guess that pretty much all of you reading this raised your hands and at some point in your schooling had to wrestle poster boards on the bus or walking down the street, worrying that the glue wouldn’t hold and various attachments would fall off and fly away on the wind. (Okay, maybe that was just me?)

Posters are time-honored methods of sharing information: not only are they still used to communicate important ideas to people all over the world, but of course educators have been using them as assessment products for years. Creating a poster forces students to consider what information to include and how to organize, arrange, and illustrate it. These are still valuable experiences for youth—skills that are no less important today than they were twenty years ago when you could write a computer program with a hole punch. Glogster seeks to bring the poster into the 21st century by allowing users to create a digital poster, or glog, with multimedia and hyperlinked elements to extend and supplement the information it contains. (The initial “g” in “glog” is meant to evoke “graphics.”)




Features
Working on a glog is a bit like working on a one-slide PowerPoint presentation. You can change your background (Glogster calls it the “wall”) and add text, shapes, and pictures. However, one thing PowerPoint doesn’t do is play well with multimedia; it takes a little savvy if you need to move your presentation around. Glogster makes it very easy to add videos or audio from the web, your computer, or SchoolTube. If you shell out for a premium account, your students also gain the ability to attach files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF) to their glog.



My favorite feature is being able to hyperlink just about anything. This makes it easy for viewers to find more information than what can comfortably be contained on the poster. These sources could be web pages, a Google Document authored by the student, a Twitter account—the possibilities are really fun to think about and do a good job addressing the many different ways we get information today.

There are two versions of Glogster: a public version and an education version. The free teacher account on the education site lets you administer 50 student accounts and share glogs. Premium accounts add some nice features like the ability to micromanage 200 student accounts, organize glogs into classes and projects, do mass messaging, and take advantage of extra glog functionality. However, I’m not sure too many teachers will want to shell out the premium price of $99 a year unless they’ve got a grant to cover the cost. It’s nice that Glogster understands an educator’s need to manage students and organize work and make those tools available.

Sample Classroom & Youth Program Applications

  • English Language Arts: Have students pick a short poem or a selection from a longer work and create a glog that links to pages of literary criticism and author biography. The glog could also incorporate other works of art, music, and cinema that relate to the piece’s tone or theme.
  • Math or Science: Students create a glog illustrating one of the concepts being studied. The glog can integrate or link to other real-world applications of the mathematical or scientific concept.
  • Arts: Glogs can create mini-exhibitions of art in the public domain. Students pick an artist or musician (linking to a bio), research the artist’s work, choose a theme, and curate a glog exhibiting works that relate to the theme. The student writes a brief explanation of how each piece relates to the overall theme of the glog.

 

Breakdown

  • Price Structure: Free and premium
  • Pros:
    • Easy media integration.
    • Simple user interface.
    • Publishing glogs on social media and blogging platforms also straightforward.
  • Cons:
    • Shapes can only proportionally change size, so if you want a wider fancy text box, you have to increase its height as well.
    • Premium accounts are pricey.

 

Do you use Glogster with your youth? Do you have any activity suggestions, tips, or tricks to share? Comment below or contact us!