CoRank In The Classroom

I've been keen on the idea of a Digg style site that can be customised for a classroom since last year but the demise of CrispyNews put paid to that avenue. But I'm been using another site, CoRank, to build something similar for this year and it looks promising. I haven't seen much in the edublogosphere about this site so I thought I'd let you know.

You basically set up an account (valid email only required) and then you can choose from a few templates to set up your site. You can then invite others to join the site so that they can help submit news stories and websites that can then be commented upon and voted up or down Digg style. This way you set up your small voting community and watch as topical stories surface and climb or fall according to the preferences of the participants. There are tabs where you can see all stories submitted, they can sorted by tag, rank, and every user can see their activity history as well.

Why might this be useful in the classroom?

I figure it can be useful in a number of ways. Firstly, there is a lot to be learnt in terms of the students sensibly starting and managing a web account and how to be protective of their identity via their profile and the creation of a fun avatar. It can be useful in terms of teaching younger kids how to start contributing to the web without having to author original material but instead getting them to start making insightful comments. It gets them thinking about the wider world and making judgement calls about suitable material for the site both by voting up or down and then via posted contributions.

You can get a bit of an idea by looking at the site I created. I've gone with the SpinTheGlobe theme thinking that we might restart our connection to Doug Noon's class with this as one distributed point where we can find topics of interest together for 11/12 year olds. Already, students have been really keen and have added some articles already, and started the commenting. The voting feature is a hit - please bear in mind that this is barely a week old but it is a tool that is worth a good look in terms of tapping into your students' interests and assisting with information literacy skills and general internet awareness. Check it out.

Spin The Globe Classrooms > Top via kwout

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3 thoughts on “CoRank In The Classroom

  1. Lynne Crowe

    Thanks for this Graham.
    I’m going to give this a go as a way of keeping track of thoughts and opinions on current events. I found it really easy to submit a news article so it should be a breeze for the kids to work with.

  2. ken

    This use of technology is one of those, ‘ew, I like it, but I think I need to see some more substantive proof before I run over to that teacher over there and propose it for inclusion’.

    But then I ask myself, is substantive proof even attainable when we’re dealing with such a Pangaea-shifting landscape?

  3. Graham Wegner

    This particular tool is interesting because it relies on other people’s writing, mainly from the mainstream media, but the students voice their point of view via the voting and the comments (which is also an area where kids are not real sure of the boundaries). Interestingly, the boys in my class have been the ones who have been switched on by this concept – posting articles on robots, video game equipment, cars and soccer.
    What substantive proof do I have to be using this tool? Well, none actually but via OLDaily, this article from Dave Pollard gives me some credence to be exploring the possibilities. And my experience and teacher instinct tells me that getting 11 year old boys reading (web reading is a valid form of reading in this day and age) is a good thing.


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