Teaching with Technology: Building a class community with free tools
Building a class community with Free Tools
In an increasingly globalized world social inclusion is
an important consideration in all aspects of life, not
least at school. The start of a school year is quite often
decisive for social integration.
This tutorial will help you set up introduction activities
to enable you to understand your students and to
build a positive community in your classroom from the
very start of the school year.
In this tutorial you will:
1) Learn to create a set of activities for social integration.
2) Learn to create a class blog where students can contribute
through Microsoft Word.
3) Learn how to create a visual link between the class
environment and the home by using Photosynth.
Microsoft Word; WordPress
ICT Skill Level Required:
Nancy is a teacher of 12 year olds. Every year she has new students joining from other schools. She wants to facilitate
social integration in the class by organizing safe activities. She knows that some students can be very shy and sometimes
don’t want to speak up in a new group. Nancy wants them to feel at home at school and to develop their social and
digital literacy skills.
Nancy plans to have students create an AutoCollage in which they present themselves by means of pictures. In addition,
she will create a class blog which will build a community within the class since they can all contribute directly from
Word. The blog could include elements like a Photosynth of their classroom.
1. In the first activity students select a set of pictures about their hobbies and interests. You could ask students to
bring their own digital pictures, but a more practical idea might be that the students select pictures from the
Internet or the Clip Art section in Word. Preferably a picture of the student is added to this collection too.
2. In the next activity the students use these pictures to create a collage using AutoCollage, which creates picture
collages automatically. The result (example below) can be printed out. See how to use AutoCollage by watching
the video at this web link.
3. You could run an activity where your students have short discussions with other members of the class and use
their AutoCollage print out to discuss the things they have in common.
4. To conclude the activity you could organize an individual writing activity to describe expectations and hopes for
the new school year. This would be a good way to start building a class blog.
5. Now create a free blog as a bonding tool for social integration. Free services like WordPress can publish blog
posts through Word. See how to do this at this web link
6. Create different user accounts for all the students and provide passwords. Your students can create and send
their own posts straight from Word.
7. With the use of Photosynth you could create visual simulations of their classroom activities to add to your blog
and to show their parents at home. See how easy it is to use Photosynth at this web link.
Further Resources and Ideas
Get ideas for class blogs at this web link
UNESCO CfT – Technology Literacy (Pedagogy, Integrate Technology) and (ICT, Basic Tools) and (Organization
and Administration, Collaborative Groups)
ISTE – Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity (1c,d) and Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning
Experiences and Assessments (2b,c)