Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thing #23

I enjoyed the 23 Things program. My favorite discovery during the program was the mashups. There are many different possibilities, and it is easy to incorporate Flickr into the activities. I know my students will love being creative while designing their mashup that coordinates with our lesson! I also enjoyed creating a rollyo. I will use this tool multiple times during the year to help monitor and limit the material that my students find while researching on the web.

Incorporating technology into the curriculum is something that I am very passionate about, but I was starting to feel that I was using the same technology and activities each year. As a lifelong learner, I wanted to learn more this summer, and this self-paced online program allowed me to do this at my own convenience this summer!

I was surprised at how easy it was to create a blog, and I even created a personal blog from this experience. Each activity is something that I can take back to my classroom and use with my students this year. I thought that we needed a lot of external technology to use in the classroom, but this program showed me several different things to do with my students with the computers that we have in the classroom.

This program was designed very well. I think the only thing that might make it better would be to encourage students to comment on each others' blogs more often. I have not taken the time to read through every one's activities except for the discovery exercises that required us to do so. I learned a lot from reading other people's blogs, so it might be beneficial to incorporate more opportunities to do this.

I hope that more learning opportunities like this are available in the future. I would love to continue to learn more. My learning experience with 23 Things was beneficial to me and ultimately my students since I learned so many amazing, interactive activities that will allow me to incorporate technology into my classroom!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thing #22

I've never heard of Nings before, but it is very clever to be able to create your own social networking site. I've recently moved to a new school, and my past coworkers and I email each other all the time. They have questions for me, and I am always asking them questions as well. I think that Nings would be great for teachers to share ideas and answer each other's questions. We always learn more when we collaborate, and social networking allows us to collaborate with teachers everywhere.

Thing #21

I use Photostory a lot in class. It is very user friendly, and it is very quick to create a videocast. I've used this program to make an end of the year gift for my students. I make a video using pictures from everything we've done throughout the year. My students have also made a video about heroic people we were studing in social studies. They created a living statue about the person, took pictures of each other, added a caption to their picture, and then narrated their part of the video. I also gave my students digital cameras to share during our class field trip. Students took pictures of anything they thought was interesting, and then we turned the photos into a video that the students narrated using Photostory. The video I'm including here is a videocast that my class created one year in December. We were studying word choice in writing, so my students chose a specific holiday item they wanted to describe with words. We used image chef to turn their words into a picture of the item. Last, we uploaded the pictures and each child narrated their creation to form our class video over holiday word choice.

Thing #20

Since I am a visual learner, I try to find short videos that talk about the concepts we are learning in class. This is especially important for my ELL students to see exactly what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, YouTube is blocked from our campus computers, but I am interested to see if TeacherTube is blocked. I did enjoy learning about different ways to still show the videos on a blocked server.

When I searched YouTube, I found a few neat videos on earthquakes from National Geographic. We always study forces that change Earth's surface, but since my students haven't seen an earthquake first hand, it is great to allow them to experience exactly what an earthquake is and does by video.

I searched TeacherTube for a video on capacity. I found this video that students made describing their experiences with volume and capacity. I thought this video was wonderful because it also shows teachers the different ways that technology can be used in the classroom to reinforce a lesson. I a student was absent or the teacher wanted to review the concept, this video would be an excellent tool to use.

Thing #19

There were a lot of neat sites to choose from, but I enjoyed Picnik. Taking pictures is a hobby of mine, and I loved this photo editing site. There are a lot of editing tools that are free with the program. It is amazing seeing all of the different creations that can be made with pictures. Some of my pictures even look very professional after editing them on the website. I think that in a school setting, this would be a wonderful website for students to add text and edit pictures that have to do with concepts they are learning in class. Students could maybe even keep an online photobook of pictures that coordinate with the concepts they are studying and could then be used as a quick review for the students. I also like anything that has to do with pictures since I teach ELL students.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thing #18

Using Open Office and Google Docs was pretty easy. I think a disadvantage would be just getting everyone used to it and comfortable with the programs. I can also see some teachers that have just gotten comfortable with the newer version of Microsoft Office not wanting to learn something else. I do like how user friendly and compatable the programs are. We have the newer version of Microsoft Office on our teacher computers at school, but the older version on our three student computers. Since my students use all of the computers in my classroom including my teacher computer, sometimes there are programs opening projects that were saved using the newer program on the older computers. I know that the students can change the file type to be compatable, but Open Office and Google Docs would be compatable everywhere. I also like that it is FREE software!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thing #17

I was amazed by creating my rollyo. I had no idea you could create your own search engine for students to use. This is amazing! It was very easy to create, and now I can post a link to my rollyo on my classroom webpage. This is a wonderful way to control the amount and type of information that students can get to using the internet. I think this is very beneficial for elementary students since a lot of search engine results are not always appropriate for younger age students. I started my rollyo with just yahooligans and ask for kids websites, but as different projects come up during the school year, I can add more websites to my rollyo.