Tech Tuesday: My Big Campus

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Tech Tuesday:  My Big Campus, a safe online classroom platform

What if we could create an educational mash-up of Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, Google, chat rooms, Twitter, and more?  Why couldn’t we?  In fact, it’s been done.  What began as Light Speed’s answer to providing safe access to YouTube videos for educational purposes has turned into a full online classroom experience.  My Big Campus, with it’s familiar look and feel, allows teachers and students to connect virtually during and outside the school day.  Complete with full filtering, tracking, and 24/7 monitoring, MBC utilizes the same LightSpeed system as on campus.
Groups–Getting started is easy-peasy!  Teachers and students are already registered.  In fact, when you click on your groups, you will see each class period and subject already organized into groups.Students will see each of their classes as well.  Click on a group to enter the online classroom for that class period.
Inside groups students can see announcements, respond to discussions, attend a chat session for tutorials, view additional pages, submit assignments, and view a dynamic course calendar. 

“Right now, I am loving the calendar feature.  Each morning I put our physics plan for the day on the calendar and in the description portion I let the students that are absent know what they will need to do in order to make-up their missing work for the day.  I no longer have to answer the dreaded question “I was absent yesterday, did I miss anything?” ~ Camren Robinson

In addition to groups, teachers and students have access to Conversations, a messaging feature, Schoolwork–the feature that allows students and teachers to create and access many types of assignments.  Bundles allow teachers to create online units of study to align with curriculum. Teachers can upload YouTube videos, pdfs, word docs, and jpegs to “bundle” together to create an engaging extended classroom.
“Your Stuff” provides students and teachers with an online drop box to save and access their work.  Since it is web-based, students can retrieve and upload their work anywhere they have internet access.

Both students and teachers can maintain a blog through MBC.  Blogs allow for a personalized platform to reflect on learning in any content area. 

“This year, I’ve been pushing for my students to improve their writing skills when describing a scientific process or concept. This gives me, as a teacher, a much clearer idea of what they understand and what they are confused about. Writing about science also helps the students to think critically (with an appropriate prompt) about the concepts and helps with retention. Through the first couple of weeks I was met with strong resistance and lazy writing samples. This aspect has vastly improved as the students become more comfortable with using writing to portray their ideas. Not too long ago, I introduced my classes to My Big Campus. That day was a shining beacon of engagement as the students were instantly hooked. My students now write science blogs using My Big Campus to practice writing while using a rubric. I had students get so excited about blogging that they wanted to go home and start their own personal blog. The students seem to be disconnected from the notion that blogging IS writing! My Big Campus, in conjunction with my teacher webpage, has been an invaluable resource for my classroom.” ~Brendon Lowe

One of the most useful features in MBC is the Library.  Teachers can search for content that has been uploaded into bundles to pull into a bundle for their class.  They can also upload additional content and share with team members.

My Big Campus extends the learning experience beyond the four walls of the classroom.  Students engage in learning through a safe, social platform drawing upon their digital awareness and habits to support learning in all content areas.  Teachers can now be a resource beyond the traditional school areas through features such as chat, conversations, and discussions. 
Stay tuned for a video introduction to MBC following the after school workshop on October 23rd.  (Link will be posted below)
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