Pearltree: Combing oysters and plant life
I can see the benefit of using something like Pearltree to allow students to develop projects and groups based on shared interests. It could also be a useful organizational tool for the teacher to have information close at hand and ready to go that may allow for differentiation 'on the fly' during instruction.
- The key benefits that I note about pearltree are that
- Students can work together, sharing resources and ideas
- They can work in groups or tackle research topics of the student’s interest, therefore creating a stronger engagement of the learner
- The projects pearl option allows the teacher to create groups that are differentiated on learner level, learner interest, or other preferences
- Pearltree may be a good place to link different options for assessment based on the learner’s preference (example: click here for your test, click here for your project, click here for a rubric, etc.)
Currently I teach kindergarten and this is not something they could use on their own. It isn’t difficult to get around, but bookmarking sites and creating visual webs isn’t realistic or developmentally appropriate. What I can see doing is using it during our research writing as a whole class. I decided to give it a whirl today. I chose the topic of Alaskan animals and had a brown bear, wolf or moose as their choice. From there they could see sites connected to the animal like Alaska fish and game, BrainPop Jr. videos, pictures, and National Geographic.
My review is this: I liked (as the teacher) having the resources so handy but I generally link these things to a smartboard presentation anyway so this wasn't a big selling point. The kids didn’t seem to really grasp the concept-mapping idea, perhaps because they were just introduced to KWL charts and haven’t really worked on this type of brainstorming or organizing. Useful application? Yes, I think so – but there are better fitting options for Kindergarten.
The rest of the week
If you happen to be on the diffimooc class’ Pearltree branches, I was involved in the 'website creating group' for project 2 that targeted interactive white boards. We had a lot of branches – but here’s the direct link to our website: http://differentiating.weebly.com/
It seems like I should have a lot more to reflect on being as though it was such an insanely crazy week. Sounds like next week may be too...stay tuned for more exciting and zaney reflections coming your way.