Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Organizing Your Online Life

Last week, our Technology in Education class was tasked with researching specified web tools that we as future educators and our future students may consider using to organize our online lives. These web tools included:,,,,, and We were assigned one of these tools, and had to prepare a handout and a lesson on the tool to be given within our chosen groups.

I was assigned To see my handout, click here. What is Gooru you might ask? According to the website, “Gooru is a free search engine for learning that makes it easy for teachers to discover educational content, organize it into learning playlists, and teach and share it with students to study.” In other words, it is like a Google made specifically for educators and students with organizational tools.

Here are some pros and cons of the website in my opinion:

  • The best feature in my opinion is the ability to create class pages. You can organize all of your resources and share it with your class. In short, you can teach entire lessons and have students complete assignments and quizzes entirely on the website.
  • Another nice feature is the ability to organize all of your resources into "collections" which you can then share with others. The website is interactive which enables you to click and drag resources from your lists of results into collections.
  • And of course, there is a vast amount of resources that are accessible when searching from handouts and activities to scripted out lesson plans. The search filters are also handy as you can narrow your searches by categories, subjects, grade levels, and even educational standards.
  • Registering for the website is a little inconvenient unless you have a Google+ account. While using Google chrome as a web browser, the sign up button was not viewable on the page unless the window was maximized. Also, the registering process was a little tedious and not very straightforward. You have to first enter your birthday and email, respond to a confirmation email, then fill out the rest of your registration information like your username and password.
  • The tutorials aren't very specific or detailed. It will tell you how to create and manage items, but there are no examples of a completed class page or student interactions with a class page. However, this might be due to a new layout for the website indicated by the word "Beta" next to Gooru on the main page.

Overall, I believe that with further development, this website could serve as a powerful tool in classrooms. However, there is the possibility that it could also make direct instruction from a teacher obsolete in the future. Heavy reliance on these tools could result in a crutch for teachers as well. Therefore, there is much potential in most of these web tools being used in education, but that potential relies on the balance of use, and recognizing when and where it is most effective for implementation.

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