Well, I did it! I managed to get through this 10 week course in less than 4 weeks. The blogs probably weren’t my best work, but the information and confidence I know have has made this worth it. Some of the things that stand out in my mind as I write this are creative commons, scratch, glogster, and diigo. I have several different computers that I use, so diigo made it so much easier to keep up with all my links. I plan on encouraging my students to use this within the first 2 weeks of school. Using creative commons helps to take the guess work out of what is legal and fair to use and what is not. Creative commons works will be the go to place for all of my assignments that involve photos, music, video, etc. Thanks so much for this experience. I will recommend to others!
I started back to school this past week for pre-planning, so I didn’t tweet as much as I would have liked. It was great getting on there last weekend and seeing what people were saying. What a quick and easy way to share information that you happen to come across. I know a teacher who set up a twitter account for his Latin class and would let his students know about assignments through this tool. He would send them any changes or announcements. The kids loved it, of course.
What fun it was working with google maps. I really enjoyed sharing my favorite bike route on Sanibel. I teach upper school technology, so just teaching them how to use this would fit into my curriculum. My students’ parents will be so grateful when it comes time to send out directions to that graduation party. I can only imagine the endless possibilities for social studies and geography. You could integrate several subjects like math and social studies by planning a trip with a budget and certain geographical areas that needed to be covered.
I have used googledocs in the past and viewed it as being Word and Excel with a collaborative element. Anyone you allow to work on it can and you can get to your documents from any computer. That is pretty cool, but what I was so thrilled with was the ability to create a form that could be embedded in page or sent as an email. The results of the form are automatically inserted into a spreadsheet. When I worked as a programmer in the late 90s, my team and myself had to write elaborate code to populate spreadsheets from databases or forms. It was quite a pain. Now, after a few clicks, it is done. When I first saw this, I actually created a short 2 question form, emailed it to myself, filled it out, and viewed the results in less than 3 minutes. I just created 3 forms to use on the first day of school.
This is something that I have actually used before. It has many uses. It can simply be another way to present a topic to a class. Students will often respond better to a Youtube video than to me just talking. I will be using this all the time when I need to know how to do something in a piece of software that I have never used before. My 10 year old has learned how to do many things on his iPod touch using Youtube. The real power, however, is in being a contributor. I will be teaching a video production class and it is so nice to have a place to easily share your hard work with others. In the past, only classmates would get to view your work.
I enjoyed creating my little podcast about Hotel Infinity. It was quick and easy, as I’m learning most of this Web 2.0 stuff is. This would be an excellent tool to use to help to diversify your teaching for audio learners. In the past, I had typed up that Hotel Infinity story. Of course, I could always just speak directly to students, but with a podcast, they could replay it again, if needed. Making a podcast to use in my class is all well and good, but I see even more benefit in having my students make them. What a great tool for a foreign language teacher.
I have use iTunes for music, but this was the first time I browsed for podcasts. I found some fun stuff on Harry Potter. My husband and I tried to get our children into the books, but we just sucked ourselves in instead. We have only got through 2 books, so I didn’t listen to too many of these. I don’t want to spoil anything for myself. I listened to some podcasts on google+. I liked the technology section. If I could find how to lessons on software that I plan to use in my class, it could save me some time. The ones with video were especially helpful.
I checked out both ISENet and Classroom 2.0 and found them both very useful. Yet another great source for information and support. I looked at several discussions on things like social bookmarking and how the quality of student writing has changed over the years with the insurgence of technology. I felt like it was a giant op ed page for educators. It is nice to see what other educators are thinking all over the world. I can see my self using this quite a bit for professional developing and networking. I’m not sure how I would use it with students. I could encourage them to use the social networking sites for more than just ‘social’ things. They could create groups for academic subjects that could allow networking and peer help in various subjects. I need to think about this some more to see if and how I would like to integrate something like this into my classroom.
As I started working on this class, I found myself using different computers. I have my own laptop, school laptop, and desktop at home. I realized very quickly that I needed the online bookmarking tool sooner rather than later. So I skipped ahead and set it up. I’ve been using it for most of the class now. It has been very helpful. I’m sure that I will use this tool all the time. I’ll set up groups of bookmarks for my students and colleagues as well. The tool just makes sense. http://www.diigo.com/user/kroth910
I viewed the presentation Teaching Kids to Think Using Scatch. It demonstrated free software that allows you to develop small programs. Scratch was very intuitive and I loved how it not only could teach actual mathematical content, but it really emphasized logical thinking and problems solving. It could allow students to create code without having to really know any syntax. As a former computer programmer, I would never have considered trying to teach a lower school students to program. It can be so tedious and detail oriented that they would get lost in the syntax. With a tool like this, however, they could get a taste of how program instructions work without the frustration of missing a semicolon.
I will be teaching upper school students, so I think that this might be too elementary for them. Not that they wouldn’t have fun playing with it. I will share this with some lower school teachers. My daughter watched the video on it and she is trying to figure out how to download it on the ipad as I write this.