Most schools and classrooms have bulletin boards, but what is the online digital equivalent? If you are using a course management system, there are lots of tools built-in that approximate this experience. But if not, there are various options that offer lots of options for interaction between users.
They can be used asynchronously so that people can leave messages anytime and the conversation happens over a long period of time. They could also be used in real time so that users can interact in a very visual environment. Messages can be various sizes, color-coded, and dragged around so they can be grouped together in various ways.
One online bulletin board is Wallwisher.com, which allows a user to create a wall to which other users can add “sticky notes.” It’s quick and easy to use, but unfortunately it appears to be a victim of it’s own success — in my recent experience the site is not loading quickly, possibly due to being overwhelmed by a large volume of users. If these issues can be worked out, Wallwisher will be a very useful tool.
A very similar tool is Stixy, which allows sticky notes and other items (photos, documents, and dated to-do list items) to be posted on the wall. Clicking on an item opens a menu with lots of options for color, font, as well as placement (in the front or in the back, relative to the other notes). You can also lock certain notes so that instructions or introductions, for example, can’t be moved around like the rest of the notes. And the site doesn’t seem to have any problems loading due to demand. Yet.
This site also allows the creation of sticky notes, including very small word-sized stickies, which could work very well on an interactive whiteboard as a way to make fridge-magnet-poetry dragable words.
In addition to the sticky-specific applications above, it’s worth noting that documents created in Google Docs can be configured to be edited by a group of people. Create a new document and use different colored boxes in place of stickies and the same effect can be achieved.
For information on these tools and others, visit The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness which includes several examples that you can test drive.
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