The first tool I am exploring is the Classroom Set-Up tool. I figured since for my first tool evaluation I evaluated a similar tool about organizing a classroom space called Classroom Architect, I could compare the two and see which one I found to be more beneficial to teachers. The site is found at: teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup.
- The user can change the size of the objects he or she is inserting into their classroom on this software
- The user can label the names of their students and drag their number, i.e. student 1, student 2, etc. into the classroom so they can also assign seating.
- The software is overall straightforward and easy to use.
- Immediately, I noted that the user is limited to three shapes to choose from that best represent their classroom: square, tall rectangle, and wide rectangle. On Classroom Architect, the software allows you to inset the dimensions of the room to get the most accurate representation of your classroom.
- The user cannot save different floor plans into this website, so they will either have to print the one they came up with or start from scratch and lose the design they created. It would be easier if the user could easily switch between the floor plans they created to see which one has the best layout for their classroom.
- The option of objects the user is able to drag into their classroom is not very extensive. It is missing some important objects such as an easel, beanbags, televisions, chairs, a sink, a projector, and many other typical classroom objects.
In regard to classroom designing, I do not think there is a relative advantage to this tool because I discovered drawbacks that outweigh the benefits. Because I know that there is more advanced software available to design your classroom that does not have some of these drawbacks, I would not use Classroom Set-up as my first choice. I did like how the teacher could label their students and incorporate them into their classroom design, however, inserting numbers that represent students could get in the way of the physical design of the room; also, there are different websites that allow you to make a seating chart alone. The drawback of not being able to have multiple floor plans available while designing your classroom makes it difficult to compare and contrast different designs and decide which one is best for your students and your classroom traffic. I also do not like the limitation of objects that Classroom Set-up offers. Classrooms are filled with many different objects that take up space in the room, and I think it is important to incorporate these essential objects when planning how to arrange your classroom. Overall, I believe there is not a relative advantage to this site and I would not use Classroom Set-up to design my future classroom; with the more effective and advanced technology available on the Internet, a teacher can get a more realistic perspective of what they’re classroom will look like when it comes to life by using these other sites.
The second tool I explored is called SchoolTube, a website for appropriate, educational videos accessible for teachers to use in the classroom. It can be found here: https://www.schooltube.com/
- This website is free of charge and you do not need to create an account to access it and use it. If you want to post videos, then you will need to create an account.
- All videos are appropriate to show in an educational setting.
- Videos for students of all ages are provided on this website.
- There are many different categories to search for such as, academics & education, careers & tech. ed., history, music, sports, weather, and many more.
- The home page offers different categories such as trending videos, featured schools, and also videos that correspond to different subjects like history, math, and literacy.
- Students can upload videos for assignments, projects, assessments, etc. that the teacher can view by title search.
- If one is not familiar with how to upload a video, uploading one to SchoolTube may be difficult for them.
Overall, SchoolTube definitely has a relative advantage, seeing as there are no obvious drawbacks to this site. It is easily accessible to teachers and students, and the videos are safe and appropriate to show in a classroom setting. Unlike sites such as YouTube or Vimeo that may have inappropriate video content or advertisements, SchoolTube is guaranteed to be safe for teacher and student use. One site says that SchoolTube offers skills such as “communication & collaboration, creativity, and tech skills” (https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/schooltube). The videos SchoolTube offers are informative, enjoyable, and very beneficial for student learning and I would definitely use this site during my teaching experience. Since there are such a wide variety of videos on this site, I could pull up a video in regard to any subject the class was focusing on during a lesson that will help further instruction and allow students to make deeper connections to the content being taught.