Blog Post #2: Software Review
In this blog, I am giving a review the software Glogster EDU. Why Glogster EDU? When I did a Google search of Glogster EDU, I was fascinated by how much fun students could have using this software while learning and expressing what they have learned! According to the Alberta Education document Inspiring Education, 21st century students need to acquire the skills to be creators, collaborators, critical thinkers and communicators; Glogster EDU supports this document by means of encouraging students to gather information, synthesize it, remix it and then create an original presentation. Glogster EDU is very valuable in inspiring students to extend their thinking and to be engaged in their learning!
During my exploration of the Glogster EDU tools, I created a Glog at http://donnawesley.edu.glogster.com/donnas-great-canadian-adventure. My Glog is titled “Donna’s Great Canadian Adventure” and it highlights some of what I have learned about Canada while exploring the ten provinces of Canada this past summer / fall. Have a peek if you wish. I hope that you enjoy the Glog and that you challenge yourself to answer some (or all) of the Canadian trivia questions!
Basics of Glogster EDU
1. What does Glogster EDU do?
Glogster EDU is an online social networking program that allows users to make free interactive posters called Glogs (Glog is short for Graphics Blog). Glogster EDU is a brilliant substitute to the traditional classroom poster as it gives the traditional poster a 21st Century twist. The end result of a Glog looks like a typical poster, but it behaves like an interactive multimedia image! Readers can interact with the image by accessing embedded videos, music, sounds, pictures, text, data attachments, special effects, animations, webcam video and audio productions, drawn items and external links.
Glogster EDU is the education platform that was developed from the program Glogster. However, if you have an account with Glogster.com, note that you cannot access it through Glogster EDU because, although these two programs share many of the same features, they run completely independent of each other. The platforms are purposefully separate to meet student security and privacy requirements of education. Glogster EDU provides a safe, secure and controlled setting for teachers and students.
Teachers can use Glogster EDU to create projects, presentations, and assignments, grade student work, and communicate with students online. Students can use Glogster EDU as a method to present their knowledge in various school assignments.
Posters can be shared with other users on the Glogster EDU site, in external wikis or blogs, and through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Glogs can be exported and saved to other computer-compatible formats such as PDF. Glogs can also be made public and added to an online digital encyclopedia comprised entirely on educational content. Teachers have control over students’ ability to make their Glogs public. The public online digital encyclopedia is organized under various subject categories, such as mathematics, social studies or music, etc.
2. Account Information
Glogster EDU has a free trial period of 30 days. The free account lets you to manage up to 100 student accounts. The free account does not give you access to the student management tool, the reGlog option or full access to the Glogpedia resource library. Teachers using the free account can view students’ work directly by clicking on the “student” tab on their Dashboard. As with paid users, a teacher’s free account allows students to have to have their content approved by the teacher before it goes public.
To register for a free account, visit this link:
The cost for a Glogster EDU account is very reasonable. The following screen shot summarizes the pricing:
Note that Glogster EDU needs Adobe Flash installed on the computer to run.
3. Features of Glogster EDU
They key features of Glogster EDU are:
- Good selection of templates with fun Glog walls and Page walls
- Graphic galleries have a variety of images, videos, audio, and text holders for user
- Easy to Upload/Link/Grab images, videos, audio
- Has a tool that accesses developer’s Web cam to capture video, audio, images
- Built in animated images
- Allows access to attachments if using a paid version
- Drawing tools available if using a paid version
- User friendly Creation Interface
- Great tool for creating projects
- Messaging feature
- Search engine feature
- Privacy Control
- Profile skins available
- Comments can be left on Glogs
- Favourite Glogs collection can be made
- Educator Resource Library available where resources are sorted by subject
- Glog Recommendations feature available
- Glog Rating feature
- Student Management feature available for teachers
4. Ease of Use
Glogster EDU literature indicates that users of all ages and learning styles can create a Glog to express themselves individually in a very easy to understand, drag and drop interface. Glogster EDU makes learning how to use technology easy! However, although I found the program to be a lot of fun, I soon realized that I needed to call upon a lot of background knowledge to make the Glog the way I wanted to with cropped photographs, edited videos, downloaded iTunes music, YouTube based interactive trivia questions and external links to the Internet. I agree with the literature that the user interface can be easy to understand; however, some people may find it frustrating if they do not have a background using other Web 2.0 technologies.
Teachers have direct access to individual students through a single portal – the Teacher Dashboard. Teachers can see all student activity within their own Teacher Dashboard and each student can view and manage all of their classes and projects within their Student Dashboard. A single login and password will provide the teacher and student with complete access to all classroom activities.
5. File Types Which Can Be Upload
Video Files – .asf, .avi, .m2v, .mpeg, .mpg, .nsv, .wmv, .mp4,.flv,.mov,.m4v
Audio Files – .aac, .aiff, .m4a, .mp1, .mp2, .mp3, .ogg, .raw,.wav, .wma
Data Files – The data and draw functions aren’t available under the basic/free account. If the user pays for an account they can upload files such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Users can upload their own photos and graphics or use an array of elements provided by the site.
6. Compatibility With Mobile Devices
Glogs can be viewed on mobile devices; however, when I experimented with this option, I found that if I had imported photos into Glogster EDU sideways or upside down, that they would appear on the mobile device in the original orientation even if I had used to Glogster EDU tools to rotate them. This can be easily fixed by making sure the photos are rotated before they are imported into Glogster EDU; however, I had not read anywhere that I needed to do this.
7. Glogster EDU Templates
Glogster EDU has a lot of premade templates to select from to get you started. I found that even though I started with a premade template, I made so many changes to it that in the end it did not look like the original. It is great for the user to be able to have the templates to work with when beginning to use the program, as the user can visualize what a final product could look like.
8. Availability of Tutorials
Glogster EDU has built in help and video tutorials; however, I found that there is plenty of documentation available online which has been created by Glogster EDU, reviewers and help forums which is more useful (and honest). When creating my Glog, I was able to research and find answers to all of my questions.
9. The Look and Feel of Glogster EDU
The final product looks very professional. There is documentation and advertisements on the final document; however, the document can be optimized to fill the full screen, allowing the user to get rid of the documentation when viewing the Glog.
A part of the page is set up for users to comment on the Glog which gets sent to the author of the Glog.
10. Restricting Access
There is an option of restricting access to invited guests only. The user can make the Glog private, can share it publicly and can post it on other social networks if desired. Only users who purchase a license can post comments, rate others’ Glogs, and add friends (note, outside interaction can be restricted by teachers).
Benefits of Glogster EDU:
1. What Glogster EDU Does Really Well
Glogster EDU does a great job at allowing the user to share and express themselves through a variety of medias such as videos, music, sounds, pictures, text, data attachments, special effects, animations, drawn items and links. There may be other software that allows the use of multimedia; however, I have not come across one that is as easy and fun to use as Glogster EDU.
Glogster EDU touches on many curricular outcomes such as those within Language Arts (reading and writing) as well as encourages skill development in creativity (making new creations, producing new content) and technology (digital creation, social media).
The Glogs can also be printed and saved as a PDF, however, doing so would cause the user to lose much of the magic of a Glog by removing the interactive media components.
Glogster EDU is a great online resource to use if there is a concern about restricting student access to others outside of the classroom.
2. How Glogster EDU Beats the Competition
Glogster EDU’s only real competition is its Glogster.com version of the program. Glogster EDU beats Glogster.com because it has been created to allow the teacher to make the students’ work private.
Drawbacks of Glogster EDU:
1. Drawbacks of the Software?
The drawbacks of Glogster EDU are:
- It is only free for 30 days.
- There are no embedded tools for editing photos, videos and audio. Users must be aware of other software to make edits before importing the photos, videos and audio into the Glog.
- It takes a long time to render the Glog if a lot of interactive media is used; it is a bandwidth hog.
- The links on the Glog are sometimes difficult to open. The program seems to be very sensitive to links such that although an entire word may be linked to a resource, it is difficult to find the “hot spot” on the word that needs to be clicked on to open the link.
- The completed Glogs show advertisements.
2. Missing Features
I wish that Glogster EDU would have had an internal option for embedding my Trivia questions. I wanted to hide my questions by clicking on the numbers attached to my photos and / or videos; however, the only way that Glogster EDU allowed me to embed the questions was if the questions were saved on the web. I could not open or attach a PDF document or Word document, etc. in the free version of Glogster EDU. I had to create my question in Word, take a screen shot of the question, edit the screen shot in photo editing software, upload the question into YouTube, then link to YouTube. This was a lot of work to link to a simple question!
Glogster EDU does not have a built in tutorial; however, there are many tutorials available online.
Glogster EDU does not have rollover text that explains the icons, so for first time users this might be a bit frustrating.
I would rate Glogster EDU with an A+ (everybody needs this in their life).
Please note, this rating is for the licensed version of Glogster EDU and NOT Glogster.com.
I would rate the free version of Glogster EDU with an A. Although there were a few issues with the free version for embedding documents and editing videos, photos and audio, I am not sure if all teachers and / or students would need to do this while creating most Glogs. This software was a lot of fun to use and I can see that there is a definite use for it in the classroom as a method to deliver an interactive assignment or as a method for a student to show their creative side as they share their learning!