Website Review

Mural.ly

Multifaceted message boards help kids collaborate

  • The site dashboard shows the murals you've made; you can make a new one by clicking on the "Create New Mural" square.

  • Users can create a room to store their boards.

  • Users can drag and drop many elements and can also search and upload images.

  • Kids can invite other users to add to or view their mural.

  • Users can view an activity overview to see what changes have been made to a mural.

Review
Pros: Kids can work together on projects in an effective, visual way, in class or remotely.
Cons: Users need a paid subscription to collaborate in real-time, password-protect links, and access other features; some text contains typos.
Bottom Line: Mural.ly can encourage individual team members to contribute to a project; teachers may find the Pro version's options are worth the extra cost.
Learning Scores
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Mural.ly is fun and easy to use. Kids can customize note color, font, and other elements, giving them some creative control. Shy students, kids working remotely, and other team members can easily communicate with each other and share ideas.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Unfortunately, kids won't find many educational extras; adults will need to reinforce learning by emphasizing things like teamwork. Still, kids get a valuable chance to practice communication and collaboration skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Kids get frequent prompts and help using the tool; users also can view sample boards to see how the site works. A blog offers site information and tips.

Our Review
What's It Like?

Mural.ly is a website where kids can save text, video, and images to a virtual corkboard 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 email 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 particular virtual board delete their account, the board information won't disappear.

Boards can grow as items are added, providing students ample space for creativity. They can also communicate with other board users they're working with through the site, which lets them build off of and respond to each others' 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. 

This review of Mural.ly was written by

Field Notes
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Chad S. Perris High School Perris, CA
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