Dweeber : an online study group

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What is Dweeber?

 Dweeber is a social networking site whose aim is to facilitate doing homework. It enables young students (aged 13 to 17) to accomplish their homework with their friends. This way it is fun, it is efficient, and it has more chances of being done!

So, what exactly is Dweeber? One could say it is a Facebook for young people that has an academic purpose. Here is a little history to introduce you to this site…Dweeber was opened to the public in 2009.  Their aim was “to allow young people to use the growing phenomenon of social networking to actually help them learn, study, and do homework, as opposed to getting in the way of it“. It has the objective to empower young people and to create a habit of helping and sharing with  their peers. As a  future teacher, I simply adore their guiding principles:

  • Everyone has their own unique brilliance.
  • Think of differences as resources rather than disorders
  • Track assets rather than deficits
  • Think of mistakes as experiments rather than failures.
  • Everyone has an inner Dweeb, a geek part of us that is passionate about something important.

Another interesting part of Dweeber is that they have a Youth Advisory Board. This way teens can also get help from teens if they have questions on the site’s procedures. This is great. Some students prefer asking their peers or people within their age range for questions, rather than going to go see an adult. (In the same direction, Dweeber allows students to interact between each other. This also enables the shy students to get the information they need without having the scary task of asking their question in front of everyone else in the class!).

Would you like to get started? Check this video out. It explains to you all the different parts of this site.

Teach web 2.0 did a throughout review of Dweeber, here are the main points (its strengths and weaknesses):  

Strengths: 

  • The registration is free for everyone
  • Students can work together collaboratively
  • Easy to navigate the website
  • Homework help among friends
  • Designed with students in mind
  • Students can personalize their pages
  • Has chat rooms with foul language blockers
  • Gives students the opportunity to practice appropriate chat room etiquette.
  • Only approved “friends” can contact student
  • helps students view their differences as resources
  • builds student confidence

Weaknesses:

  • Aimed for students aged 13 and up
  • Dweeber is in beta – aka still under construction
  • May be blocked by some school districts
  • Privacy issues with other people who are not friends with the student/class
  • Only 8 students can interact with the whiteboard at a time
  • Can be used for more social networking communication instead of homework use
  • 43.5% of the site is used for OTHER use…instead of homework, math, tutoring etc
  • Requires signup with an e-mail address

 Ideas for the Classroom:

  • It is an excellent place for communication between the teacher and the students. Dweeber can be used to post information related to the classroom (homework, forgotten messages, assignments, guidelines, etc…)
  • Using Dweeber creates the environment necessary to implement a cooperative learning experience for the students.
  • Dweeber facilitates students working together on a project after school hours.
  • The teacher can set up online study sessions for the students. (Students can create Flashcards for their homework).
  • Through the social networking, students can share ideas together to improve projects. They have access to peer feedback.
  • Students can use the whiteboard in groups to cooperate together in solving math and/or science problems.                                                                        dweeber whiteboard

 

Recommendation:

Personally, I encourage you to go try out Dweeber for yourself. Sure, the environment of social networking is a tricky one when it comes to young people. It can be easy for them to leave the homework behind and focus on the communication aspect of this site.However, I do believe in the power of such a tool. I frankly see the great potential Dweeber offers for students to achieve their homework in a cooperative learning environment. For those who have access to technology at home, I would definitely recommend introducing them to this site.

On the plus side, compared to Facebook, Dweeber is more suited for kids. Therefore, it could be a good alternative for those who do not wish to create a Facebook group for their class (see previous post). Dweeber is a social networking site made to be used by kids. Therefore, it is reassuring to know that they do not collect any personal information. The also aim to keep off their site the information they do collect. However, it is still recommended to have students get parental consent. Hosting a netetiquette 101 class in your classroom beforehand couldn’t hurt also!

Leave a comment and me how you are/ or how you would be using Dweeber in your classroom

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