A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Interactivity: New widgets added

One of the core routines of Responsive Classroom that I enjoy is the interactive daily message. Whenever teachers come across great ideas that can be used in our classes, we tend to take the advice of Huck Finn's father: "it's not stealing if you intend to give it back."

Daily messages can be pithy statements of news. Or, a morning message might include a simple poll. Very few words are used. The key is interactivity. With a SmartBoard, we can include more sophisticated polls or surveys and display the data. To increase interactivity on the site, I am floating the idea of the effectiveness of including polls, so I have embedded poll widgets on this post and in the sidebar, for which I am hoping everybody responds. Experiment time!

My goal is to figure out a consistent way to engage readers and get reader responses. Reading and writing, after all, is all about the conversation, and I will be adding polls and surveys to the blog because I am naturally curious and genuinely interested in learning about what other people think. Moreover, polls and surveys will ultimately become a core part of the routines for the first 10 minutes of my future classes, the most critical period in a class, according to certain neuroscientists I have been reading.

On the top right sidebar today,7/21/2012, (this spot will be reserved for these kinds of polls), is a survey based on yesterday's topic: my "new" ASUS626 audiobook player. Yesterday, at Audrey Moore Recreation Center, I enjoyed both audiobooks and music as I completed 13 Cybex strength stations and 30 minutes of cardio work on a Concept 2 Rower. Without an awesome audioplayer, this experience would have been boring! Boring! Boring! Boring! Often, a poll includes only two possible answers in order to prompt people to get off the fence. Your vote matters. Tee hee!

I added two other widgets at the bottom of the blog: a top 5 reader favorites widget, and a blog stats widget. While I like the reader favorites widget, which displays the top 5 reader favorites for the past 30 days, I'm not sure about the blog stats widget, because it seems like a glorified hit counter -- boring! I will remove the blog stats widget or leave it in a few weeks, depending on reader responses.

What do you think? Should the blog stats widget stay or go?

Should the blog stat counter stay or go?... at AnswerGarden.ch.+

The minimalist survey widget included above is powered by AnswerGarden. What excites me about an AnswerGarden is how it allows readers to post pith responses, just like an interactive whiteboard! Please keep your responses family friendly. Wink!

Widgetbox, which makes AnswerGarden, allows users to make their own custom widgets!

In looking for a way to add an interactive whiteboard feature, I stumbled across a great concept, an online graffiti board, but the tool I found didn't work, so I did not post it and won't name the company yet. Then, I went back and searched online whiteboard, and found Dabbleboard, which is temporarily being worked on, so I haven't been able to test it yet.

The inexpensive interactive whiteboard is here or within reach. Interactivity has never been easier.