Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thing #11.5

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

I really enjoyed learning about Wordle, Bookr, and Voicethread and I see those as resources I can use immediately in the classroom. As a trainer, I was glad to explore the screen capture tools and plan on using some of them to create online trainings in the future.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

This program has really helped me keep up to date with new technologies. I can't quite believe how much "stuff" is out there that has been there for years that I didn't and still don't know about! While I learned quite a bit new things during this course, it mainly encouraged me to keep up to date and keep exploring resources that are on the web and changing daily.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

See answer to #3.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I think it could be made more interactive if participation in one online chat was required or something of the sort. If there were multiple dates that you could choose to participate and then guiding discussion questions, it could be quite successful. If you don't know anyone else participating in the course then it's not as easy to ask for help. In-person optional classes were offered, but online chats might be beneficial as well. Obviously the course needs to keep changing year to year to keep up with what's new and happening in the web 2.0/social media world.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thing #11

Digital Citizenship

Teaching digital citizenship is of course important, and gets looked over all too often likely due to time constraints. We don't have time to teach handwriting anymore, when are we going to teach digital citizenship? Integrated in lessons of course.

Any time students are on a computer, iTouch, iPad, etc. they should have reminders of digital citizenship. To me the first things they need to learn is to evaluate what they stumble across on the web. Is it a good resource? A safe resource? Is it research based or is it an opinion? Are you certain? How can you check?

Students also need to learn about copyright issues, which is complicated enough for adults, but if we can at least teach students the idea that they cannot claim and use other people's stuff without citing sources and/or asking permission then this is a step in the right direction.

The argument presented in several articles about helping students evaluate safe websites instead of just having unsafe ones blocked is interesting. As a school it would be too risky to keep unsafe websites from being blocked, but the argument is a good one. When students are on their own and they stumble across these sites they need to be able to make their own decision not to go there. It's a sticky situation.

Finally, there's the situation of manners online and with technology responses. Being polite in chatrooms, checking spelling in emails, and realizing that tone doesn't often come across in texts and things of the sort are things that students need to be directly taught.

A lesson in my class would likely be integrated with a content based lesson. For example, let's say we are talking about a certain event in history. Students could all be on computers and directed to chat rooms where they meet with each other and carry on conversations based around discussion questions regarding the event. In the process they would be encouraged and supervised so that they are using online manners with each other and citing sources from the textbook to prove opinions when necessary.

Thing #10

Virtual Worlds

I enjoyed checking out SecondLife but had a hard time figuring out what exactly to do once I was in there. I understand you can go and see different place but it was working extremely slow and I honestly couldn't get a lot out of it. I understand, from reading some of the links provided, how great it could be for virtual field trips or online classes. I would worry about safety though and I noticed many people on other Library2Play blogs said the same thing. Anyone can say anything at any time and it just pops up for all to view! I assume there's a way to change this setting, however, and it might be something worth exploring more.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thing #9

Slideshare

Slideshare, or any of the similar applications are very helpful in giving student presentations a purpose. I've found that if students know their work will be published they put much more effort into it. This gives those presentations a publishing format, that can then be shared with others. 280 Slides is an excellent option for those without PowerPoint, as is Google Docs Presentations. PowerPoint presentations can be quite boring and overused. Adding audio and publishing them gives them a little spin but I still prefer students to be more creative in their presentation tools when possible.

Thing #8

Screencasting

I did quite a bit of screencasting a couple years ago when I completed an internship with Pearson and created some online trainings for them. I was able to use Camtasia, which was really easy to use and edit videos. I was interested in trying some of these free screencast tools to see how they add up. I was disappointed in Jing, but used it to create the short video below on how teachers can check their school email from home (I'm amazed at how many teachers don't know how to do this!). The screen did not seem to record the same area it appeared it would and I had to make some adjustments for this. When embedding it, it only shows up part of the screen so the link is also included. I'm currently working on a Mac, which I'm not very familiar with, and this could have been part of the problem. The audio was not what I wanted it to be on any of it and I know this is a setting on the Mac but I couldn't quite fix that.

I also tried Screencast-o-Matic. I liked that it didn't need to be downloaded and it highlighted where the cursor was on the screen. I wanted to try Go View because of its "edit" feature, but it's not available for Mac.

As a trainer, screencasting is great to teach educators how to use different tools. I think it would be great to have students create simple screencasts for others to use. Particularly with a technology club. I imagine this could be used for student presentations as well, giving emphasis to the research process and not just the final result. I hope to explore more of the screencast applications to find one that really works the way I'd like it to. But for now...

checkingemailfromhome


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thing #6

I-Touch Apps

I've been working on finding social studies apps for the social studies department. Some of my favorites so far are Oregon Trail (though the LITE version is very limited, really needs to be purchased), and the various apps giving what happened on this day in history (On This Day, Today in History, Daily History). I think it would be great to incorporate some of these things on morning announcements. Of course the same information could be found on the Internet and I'm not sure the iTouch is necessary for that.

I really like the idea of using iTouches with groups of students for podcasting. With thumbtack mics this is easily accomplished. Students can take the iTouch wherever they need to interview others, or report "live on location" from field trips and other events.

I also like the idea of using iTouches as a listening center. Our kindergarten is going to implement that this year. With the right equipment they will be able to have four students using one iTouch as a listening center. I have no doubt kindergarteners will easily navigate an iTouch and be able to use it appropriately.

Students could also use an iTouch to work in pairs to research a topic. Lessons from a teacher could be accessed via TeacherTube, a blog or wiki, or audio put on the iTouch.

I know there's more that can be done, it's just a matter of imagining it and then figuring out how to do it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thing #5

Microblogging

I've been a member of Facebook for awhile and I love it just for the ability to connect and stay in touch with others. It's interesting how I feel very disconnected from my friends that aren't on Facebook. My sister started using it this year with her high school students. She created a new Facebook account for her English classes and started asking her students to be her "friends" on this account. They were willing to join and soon were "friending" each other, which was great. Students weren't required to be on Facebook, but she was able to put homework reminders and answer questions in an application they were already using. She was amazed what students would post on their facebook sites, that she could then see since she was their "friend." I think this can be a great way for older students to communicate. I don't think I'd be willing to try it with Elementary students...maybe their parents.

I've had a little experience with Twitter and didn't love it. I've found that most of my friends use their Facebook account to accomplish the same goal as Twitter. However as a professional tool, it could be useful in keeping up with educational developments, getting opinions, new ideas, etc. But then it seems just like something else to keep up with...so I'm undecided on my opinion of it at the moment but I think I might use this summer to try it out as a professional resource and see how that goes.

I love the idea of backchanneling at staff developments. I can't stand being in a staff development where the presenters insist on laptops being closed and put away (as one I was at recently was...). I learn better by doing, communicating, and taking notes online. Presenters have got to get to the point that they realize that while we are teaching to different kids, they are presenting to different teachers. I love the technology meetings I go to because being on a laptop and doing three things while listening to the presenter is not only acceptable, it's pretty much expected. I'm excited about trying backchanneling while presenting at Teacher U using Todaysmeet.com. Then maybe I can talk other staff I'm presenting with at the beginning of the year into using it for our August staff developments. It sure could make things more interesting!