A couple of weeks ago I saw this tweet by @PracticalWisdom, "How would you define interactive and digital technologies to Luddites?" My response was that technology is just another tool like paper and pencil but with increased options for learning, creativity and information sharing. Glogster and Glogster Edu are quintessential examples of this. Glogster is a program that creates an online poster. You can include pictures, graphics, links, video and audio with your poster. Both the paper poster and the Glogster give the viewer information. I like paper and pencil(marker, crayon, paint)for the physical action of drawing and combining colors and the way it is different in its permanency than digital creations. I like Glogster because in addition to the static visual presentation, the viewer has audio, video and immediate access to further information through links. This is the aspect of technology that a creative kid can fly with when they use Glogster.
Unfortunately, Glogster Edu at least seems to be riddled with bugs and I did not find it particularly user friendly. I tried to create a Glog of all the schools in our school district thinking it would be cool to have a picture of each school with its name and the link to its homepage. Unfortunately, I couldn't load two of the pictures for unknown reasons and some of the title templates I tried to use shut down the program every time I entered them. I was also disappointed that there is no search option for the pictures that are included in the site. After several hours of trying, the best I could come up with was a half finished Glog that I would not be proud to submit as finalized work. It shouldn't take that long or be that frustrating. And in the end, neither the embed code nor the share on Blogger options worked to actually put the Glog into this post. Each time I backspaced to correct a typing error I got pushed from my finished Glog to the edit screen again. The best I can give you here is a link. Let's hope it works.
Glogster is a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. I hope they keep working on it because in concept it's a really great way for kids to be creative with computers if they have a personal interest they want to explore or express or if they have a school project they need to present information about using technology. That said, I would not use it with my kids at home or at school yet because I believe they would find it frustrating. It's important to note that I was working with the free edition of Glogster but if I don't enjoy the free edition I'm not likely to pay money to try again.
Parents and teachers should also be warned that if browsing regular Glogster as opposed to Glogster Edu there may be some objectionable material for younger folks. I didn't see any problems on Glogster Edu but adult supervision is always recommended for children on the internet.
If you have used Glogster or Glogster Edu and have a comment, please leave it. I'd love to hear about other experiences with it.