Internet tools for students: publishing made easy.
Project Poster has been recently updated. It is an online tool that allows students of all grade levels, including post-secondary, to publish reports on their own academic Web pages quickly and easily on the Internet. Online publications are useful for peer review of student reports about laboratories and special topics. Project Poster is part of 4Teachers.org, which offers free online educational tools and resources.
Project Poster can accommodate one image, four links to other Internet sites, and a report of up to 9,000 characters. Creating the Web page is easy because all of the formatting is provided and the directions are simple. The content of the reports must relate to an academic subject and the responsible teacher must register so that students can access Project Poster.
The new version of Project Poster provides more publication security. The process for a student to publish online begins with communication with the teacher. The teacher first registers and creates a class. A class code is automatically issued for each class to the teacher. Then the teacher assigns the project and gives the class code to the students. The content of the poster must be specifically related to the teacher's assignment and I believe it is best that the teacher gives students a rubric for content. It is recommended that students design their posters offline using a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word[R]. Students also need to organize links and the image file. When they complete the design offline, students click the "Begin!" button in the Student Section to begin the publication process and fill in the requested information. This information consists of the student's first name, the teacher's last name, the class code, student's password, and the school's telephone area code. Then the student inserts the title of the poster, subtitle (if any), and text. Lastly, the student can insert up to four links and one picture in one of several formats (".gif," ".jpeg," ".jpg," or ".bmp"). The program requires a description of the image and copyright information if it is not an original image. After the student submits the poster, an identification number is issued. For security reasons, students do not use their full name, e-mail address, or other personally identifiable information when using Project Poster. I also recommend that teachers request students to keep the class code and their page password confidential. Project Poster provides adequate security but the responsibility of publication to the Internet must be emphasized to the students. ALTEC provides a cursory review of the posters submitted to help ensure academic content. ALTEC contacts teachers in some instances when there is a question about the content. Correct teacher information is important.
A student can view his/her own posters at any time by using the poster identification number in the View My Poster Section. Also, each poster has a unique Web address that includes the identification number at the end, and can be located with this Web address. A student can also view other students' posters by clicking the Search Button located in the navigation bar at the top of each page. Student posters remain accessible on the Internet for a period of one month after the last revision. Students and teachers can print or download pages to produce a permanent copy.
The new version of Project Poster is easier for the teacher to use than previous versions. The recent changes in Project Poster make it more efficient for the teacher to locate and manage the Web sites. Sorting student posters by class name (or section) instead of teacher last name makes grading easier for the teacher, as many times there are several teachers with the same last name. Teachers can view all their students' posters at all stages of production while managing classes and edit anything as necessary by utilizing the Teacher Page in the updated version of Project Poster. Also, Project Poster provides the ability for teachers to archive some projects in the Teacher Page for use as examples for other classes.
I have personally been using Project Poster with my students since 2000, and my students have had great success with it for publishing reports related to laboratories, class projects, and current events. I am cautious with the use of Project Poster. I monitor the production of the Web pages by requiring the students to have my approval for poster content prior to publication. I also carefully explain and discuss the proper use of Internet publications and the students' accountability for publication.
My experience indicates that creating a Web page is an exciting assignment for the students, and the process of creating the Web page is simple with Project Poster, which allows students to focus on the content of the report. The National Science Education Standards recommend that students learn to communicate and defend a scientific argument, which includes science activities that develop the abilities associated with accurate and effective communication. Internet publishing is an important and popular media source in today's culture. Project Poster offers many students experience with online academic publishing and offers the online experience needed to take the students from paper and pencil at their school desk to a worldwide audience. I highly recommend Project Poster as a student Internet publishing tool to help students experience communication of information.
Jewel Reuter, DEPARTMENT EDITOR
Jewel Reuter teaches online science and professional development courses at the Louisiana Virtual School and is a Visiting Professor of Science Education, Intercollege Programs for Science Education at Montana State University. She has been teaching 26 years. Her Ph.D. research with the 15[degrees] Laboratory at Louisiana State University included the study of how students learn molecular concepts when they integrate animations and digital data collection with their past, present, and future experiences. She may be contacted at: P.O. Box 77857, Baton Rouge, LA 70879; e-mail: jewel. email@example.com.
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|Publication:||The American Biology Teacher|
|Article Type:||Product/service evaluation|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2007|
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