Multifaceted message boards help kids collaborate
What's It Like?
Mural.ly is a website where kids can save text, video, and images to a virtual cork board to share or catalog them for future use. It functions as a social bookmarking aid and brainstorming tool, by making idea sharing and presentation a simple, visual process. Text elements function like notes and can be moved and revised by one or more users. You can make murals private by inviting certain users and assigning editing rights. To start a discussion, kids just need to type an "@" symbol before another user's name. The user will get a notification e-mail about the mention. Kids can also see a log of all changes and additions.
Is It Good for Learning?
Mural.ly's structure can be used to facilitate classroom group projects. With the site's Pro version, teachers can create rooms, which essentially function like folders, to house murals. They can invite students to a room and give kids access to all murals in it to collaborate on projects. Two or more users can access boards and collaborate in real time, and teachers can monitor content and manage access to rooms to keep them a secure space.
Kids who tend to think in a very linear way may find the design frustrating; similarly, boards with many users can get crowded, fast. However, the site provides a generally effective method for sharing ideas. Designed to accommodate multiple users, Mural.ly can give each student a chance to contribute and build off of other students' posts.
How Can Teachers Use It?
With a paid organization account, schools and teachers can set up individual rooms that contain virtual corkboard-type murals. The rooms can be shared in a secure way, and teachers can manage user access. The school or teacher who originated the account owns the content, so if the students who worked on a particularly virtual board delete their account, the board information won't disappear.
Boards can grow as items are added, providing students with ample space for creativity. They can also communicate with other board users they're working with through the site, which lets them build off and respond to each other's ideas; teachers can encourage students to use the site when working together on group projects. Mural.ly allows them to pool mental resources and share ideas, even when working remotely.