Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Put student ideas in a Museum Box

Looking for a new way for kids to show what they know?  Check out the web 2.0 tool "Museum Box"

What is it?  Well, here's how the site describes it:  "This site provides the tools for you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. What items, for example, would you put in a box to describe your life; the life of a Victorian Servant or Roman soldier; or to show that slavery was wrong and unnecessary? You can display anything from a text file to a movie. You can also view and comment on the museum boxes submitted by others."

The student can attach videos, their own documents, images, powerpoints, audio files, links... all of which can be played / viewed by whomever looks inside the virtual box.  

Here's one example of a single cube:
museumbox 1.PNG

These boxes can be arranged in a drawer of related cubes.  Consider this one on the industrial revolution:

museumbox 2.PNG

Each cube explores one facet of the revolution, including a variety of media and text files that demonstrate what the child knows.  Here's one excellent example of what a museum box can do.

Educators can set up a free account and then set up simple registrations for their students (you can even do a bulk upload of IDs and passwords in an Excel file - just create a spreadsheet following the instructions on the teacher page of the site, and all your kids can be set up at once.  They can then create cubes and submit them for your comments and approval.

How can these be used, beyond the history classroom?
  • In ELA, they would make a nice option for exploring a character or literary concept - say, a cube focusing on the symbolism of stars in Under the Persimmon Tree...
  • In social studies, there are TONS of examples on the site - a drawer focusing on a country being studied in Africa, where one cube focuses on food, another on climate, a third on clothing, etc.
  • For world languages, a cube can demonstrate understanding of key vocabulary words: with sides showing images displaying their names in English and the target language, an audio sample of the student speaking, and even a paragraph of written text...
The uses are many and varied - take a few minutes to explore the site, and see what some other educators have done with this interesting little online tool...

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