05 January 2010

Wix for Everyone!

After losing Glogster last year, my students and I were devastated. They enjoyed creating multimedia projects to show what they had learned. My AP World students created BioGlogs (see Prince Henry the Navigator and the two-page Enlightenment Thinkers) to have an easy way to learn about important figures in history. All of that ended when the district's filter found Glogster. It was a sad day at school.

Over the summer, I heard about Wix. I didn't get around to trying it at the time, by started working on it a couple of months ago when trying to figure out how to get my students to show what they were learning about World Heritage Sites. I played around with Wix and found that it's just as easy to use as Glogster, so I jumped in. The project page with instructions went on to our class wiki. For many of my students this was the first time they had to add or move text boxes, hyperlink text, add photos, rotate photos or other elements and the like. I also required them to embed their presentation into our wiki for everyone to see. As you can imagine, the learning curve was very steep for some students.

Many of the projects turned out great. Salamanca seemed to be the one recognized by my geography classes as the best of the lot, but Westminster Abbey and Alhambra were pretty good too. A few weeks later, when working on a group project, nearly all of the students decided to use Wix for their final product.

What are the challenges to using Wix? First, since Wix is a website builder they have layouts specifically for MySpace which will NOT allow you to get and embed code for anything other than MySpace. Also, the hyperlinking ability isn't as smooth as I'd like (it appears that you can't use more than one link per text box). Wix does not have an education version, so students have to create their own accounts which could be an issue in some schools and districts. Overall, though, my students and I liked Wix so we will continue to use it. Stay tuned for more.