Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013

MURAL

Multifaceted message boards help kids collaborate

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
2–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Kids can work together on projects in an effective, visual way, in class or remotely.

Cons: Project boards can get overcrowded, and the tool contains no supplemental educational resources.

Bottom Line: MURAL can encourage individual team members to contribute to a project by making idea sharing and presentation a simple, visual process.

Schools and teachers can set up individual rooms that contain virtual corkboard-type murals. The rooms can be shared in a secure way, and teachers can manage user access. The school or teacher who originated the account owns the content, so if the students who worked on a particular virtual board delete their account, the board information won't disappear.

Boards can grow as items are added, providing students ample space for creativity. They can also communicate with other board users they're working with through the site, which lets them build off of and respond to each others' ideas. Teachers can encourage students to use the site when working together on group projects. MURAL allows them to pool mental resources and share ideas, even when working remotely. 

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MURAL (formerly Mural.ly) is a website (and Chrome app) where kids can save text, video, and images to a virtual corkboard to share or catalog them for future use. It functions as a social bookmarking aid and brainstorming tool by making idea sharing and presentation a simple, visual process. Text elements function like notes and can be moved and revised by one or more users. You can make murals private by inviting certain users and assigning editing rights. To start a discussion, kids just need to type an @ symbol before another user's name. The user will get a notification email about the mention. Kids can also see a log of all changes and additions.

MURAL's structure can be used to facilitate classroom group projects. Teachers can create rooms, which essentially function like folders, to house murals. They can invite students to a room and give kids access to all murals in it to collaborate on projects. Two or more users can access boards and collaborate in real time, and teachers can monitor content and manage access to rooms to keep them a secure space.

Kids who tend to think in a very linear way may find the design frustrating; similarly, boards with many users can get crowded, fast. However, the site provides a generally effective method for sharing ideas. Designed to accommodate multiple users, MURAL can give each student a chance to contribute and build off of other students' posts. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

MURAL is fun and easy to use. Kids can exercise creative control, customizing note color, font, and other elements. Shy students, kids working remotely, and other team members can easily communicate and share ideas.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Unfortunately, kids won't find many educational extras; adults will need to reinforce learning by emphasizing things like teamwork. Still, kids get a valuable chance to practice communication and collaboration skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Kids get frequent prompts and help using the tool; users can also view sample boards to see how the site works. A blog offers site information and tips.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Chad S. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Perris High School
Perris, United States
It's like an interactive corkboard that can be used as a presentation, much like Prezi with less motion sickness!
Mural.ly allows users to save text, images and video on a zooming Prezi-style board, but is much more akin to a literal interpretation of Pinterest’s pinboard. My students are able to create something like a flowchart to display what they have learned. Videos, graphics, and websites can be included in an exciting visual display. Students set up an account and can invite other students to collaborate on the same project. Teachers can set up a mural.ly and invite select groups of students to work on it. This project has applications for any subject and is easily embedded into Wikiprojects or other websites.
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