My Digital Learning Hub is fully operational, and it continues to grow every day! When I started my unit on teaching narratives with GoAnimate, I posted all of the materials for the unit on my website. There are two videos: one is a GoAnimate movie introducing the assignment to my students and the other is a PowToon animation that explains the requirements of the project. In addition, I have embedded several documents the students will use for the project, including a rubric. I have also included a section for links to documents and sites that will aid students, such as websites for sound effects and places to find GoAnimate tutorials. Finally, I have included a section for teachers which has a link to the lesson plans for each day of the unit.
Under my professor’s advice, I obtained a Creative Commons license for my digital learning hub and for many of the documents I have shared on the site. I also created a tiny url for the site, so that my students can quickly and easily find it. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly they took to the address: tinyurl.com/tflan. They find it easy to remember and it is now the first thing they type when they open a web browser. In a short time, students have become used to going to my hub to find answers to their questions. This has been a great time saver for me since students aren’t constantly asking me questions that are already answered on my website. Furthermore, when a new question comes up, I can usually find a way to include it on the website. For example, one student wanted a paper copy of the directions for the unit so that he wouldn’t have to watch the PowToon video each time he wanted to remember the requirements. I created a document and embedded it on the site. I made just a few paper copies for students who wanted them. Another time, students were looking for sound effects to add to their GoAnimate video. I was able to find two sites that have effects that are “free to use” and do not require students to give out personal information. These sites are now linked to my learning hub. Finally, I have already developed another section of the site that includes information about home reading assignments which are a regular part of my language arts classes.
I cannot wait until next year when I teach my narrative unit and will simply have to revise the existing page before sharing it with my students. By the end of this school year, I plan on having several more units of study on the site. Each section will include all of the materials students need for the unit. I also plan on adding teacher-created and student-created multimodal tutorials. I have one student who is already eager to do this.
I am very excited to have created my digital learning hub. When I look back at my original post about this, I can see that I was very ambitious. I have met some of my goals, mostly related to adding content for students. I originally emphasized that I would use the hub to connect my students with other students and experts outside of our community, and for me to connect with other teachers. I am not there yet. What I realize now, though, is that I know this will happen in a matter of time. The thought of it does not overwhelm me because now that the hub is up and running I know anything is possible. I can only imagine what it will look like a year from now.