Sunday, April 29, 2012

Get Going with the New Wifitti for Educators!!!

By Lisa Nielsen and Willyn Webb


Wiffiti seems to have gone wild (see email below) this month!  We (Lisa Nielsen/Willyn Webb) were panicked that we would no longer be able to use a great cell phone tool.  Having students (and staff) text into Wiffiti boards has made many classes and meetings more fun, more productive, and enhanced learning.  However, after emailing LocaModa and calming down a little, there are ways that educators can still utilize Wiffiti by having students text in their responses to questions, their ideas during a brainstorm, reflective thoughts, questions, and comments IF they have an email ending in .edu .k12.*.us and in response to my (Lisa Nielsen) request, @schools.nyc.gov has been added for the 80,000+ educators in New York City. Here's the email outlining the new features.
LocaModa
Thanks for requesting access to wiffiti beta.
We're ready for you to check it out! Please visit http://wiffiti.locamoda.com 

to sign up for a new account*!


So what's new?
  • Simplified user interface - Create a board in fewer steps
  • Twitter photos - Instagram, pic.twitter.com, yFrog, TwitPic, Lockerz and more
  • Footer & Header - Add a simple single line call to action like "My Class" or "tweet #locamoda"
  • Private boards - All boards are private by default -- the owner controls sharing
  • EdTech Version- Verified .edu and k12.*.us accounts gain access to exclusive features
New features will be added on a regular basis and your feedback improves the product road map!
*new account required.


We replied to the announcement email and asked if we could still text into wiffiti boards.  According to Greg Stellato, "Yes! Teachers can still create boards that have text messaging enabled. We are working on a way for teachers that don't have .edu and k12.*.us email addresses to gain access to the EdTech version." 

So for those of you who do not have these types of emails, be patient, share this on the feedback link, and hopefully the EdTech version will be available to you soon.  For those of you with these types of emails, just get a new account and start using Wiffiti again, much as you did before.  

For those of you with these types of emails who are new to Wiffiti, here are some steps to get started and some ideas to enhance your students' learning with Wiffiti.

2.  Sign up for a NEW account even if you've had an account in the past.
3.  Use an email ending in .edu or .k12.*.us that you can then check to verify the account.
4.  Check your email, click on the link, and you are ready to go.

The Create a New Board looks like this:

Here are a couple of ideas for using the EdTech Version of Wiffiti with students starting Today!
  • After sharing information in class (via video, lecture, or reading) have students respond with thoughts, questions, or answer specific questions via text.  Display the results on the screen as the come to class the next day and you've kept the interaction with the material going.  There is no need to regroup or review.  Start with students enjoying the replies from their classmates as they move across the screen and when the bell rings you are ready to go!
  • When asking hard or personal questions use a Wiffiti, the answers are anonymous.  For example, after reading a thought provoking poem or piece of literature, ask reaction questions such as, "What were Horatio's motives?" and allow students to use their phones to text in their answers right there in class.  They will be amazed as the answers show up on the screen.  EVERY student will have a voice and EVERY student's answer will be displayed for all to read.  Even the most shy, self-conscious student will get to share.  The discussion will be enriched and all students will be engaged.
  • Use a weekly Wiffiti for "Shout Outs" to share praises, allow questions, and gain feedback.  On Fridays it is fun to allow students the opportunity to reflect (appropriately) by sharing on a Wiffiti.  This takes no class time as students text in on their own time and the Wiffiti board is show before the bell rings.  This makes good use of down time, offers students a safe way to share, and gives the teacher a way to provide recognition where all can see it without the time it would take to make an announcement, send a letter home, or make a phone call.  
The new Wiffiti is more Twitter friendly and has many new options.  Check it out at  http://wiffiti.locamoda.com/.  

For more on using Wiffiti, check out Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning
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