Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tool #11

Tools #3, #4, and #5 were probably my favorite Tools.  I already knew how to do basic blogging, and I have used a blog in the past to get information to students.  However, learning how to embed videos, make videos, and really utilize Google Docs were interesting to me.  I could see how those items could be effectively utilized in my classroom.  As stated before, I would use Google Docs to create an interactive tandem writing exercise, possibly for NaNoWriMo.

I wouldn't say that my vision has changed.  All of this technology makes everything much more attainable, particularly the quality of projects as well as technology rich information the students can now consume. These outcomes are not necessarily surprising.  Instead, it is exciting to have so many resources available and accessible for my students to enhance their learning.

Tool #10

First, I would want my students to understand that the internet is "forever."  Things that are emailed, tweeted, and put on Facebook can have serious consequences that can be far-reaching into their futures.  Second, I would stress that they exercise common sense, and always think before they put something out into the world via the internet.  Finally, I would want them to make sure they understand how to control the information that they allow out in cyberspace.  All too often, students will place their phone numbers and addresses on readily accessible social networks that could very quickly make them a target.

I intend to use the "Common Sense" category of Tech Ed, specifically Why Parents and Educators Should Work Together to Teach Digital Citizenship. I think it is very important that this be done at the start of the school year, and reiterated as the year progresses.  There are plenty of opportunities to reaffirm the tenets of this article as the year progresses. I believe this is a way to get information to kids in the classroom, and talk about it at Open House and make sure parents are on board.

Tool #9

1. It's important to tie the technology to the objective so the student understands what the finished product or goal of the objective should be.  Rather than just mess around with the technology without a definitive purpose, the student will instead focus their efforts more productively.

2. Students need to be held accountable for stations and centers (particularly when utilizing technology) to ensure that are using the station to achieve the objective goal.  There has to be accountability or they might not get anything accomplished or take the station seriously.  Each station is set up for a specific purpose which enhances the investigation of the objective goal.  To not hold students accountable would undermine their learning and usage.

3. Thinkfinity was interesting because it provided interactive lessons for students.  I also liked Flashcards+ to help students master vocabulary.

4. I don't have iPads or iTouches in my classroom, so I wouldn't have found many of those apps particularly useful.

5. If I had them, I would probably use them in stations to further investigation and understanding of various topics.  As it is, I utilize my Mac books and Net Books for that exact same purpose.

Tool #8

Ah, technology. Sadly, I feel as though I am grasping most of it at a much slower pace than my students.  However, this doesn't mean I am unwilling or unable to learn--it just isn't always as intuitive for me.  Blogging was no issue, because I am a blogger.  But using Macs versus my usual trusty PCs? Preposterous!

Or is it?

I used an iMac eons ago when I did a brief stint in publishing, and had unfortunately forgotten every meaningful shortcut.  But now I am in a technology rich school, and I am fortunate enough to have 8 Mac Books, 8 Netbooks, a Prometheus board, and even a Flip camera.  Let's just say my life is forever changed.   During this semester so far, I have learned how to make iMovies using the Flip and the Macs, I have had to relearn familiarize myself with Apple (still a work in progress), and I have learned how to make presentations on the Active Board.

As far as managing the equipment, that has been a work in progress.  I have numbers on equipment and sign in/out sheets for the laptops, but I don't love that as a method.  Things get messed up (cords tangled, etc.) and I have trouble managing who had what equipment from class to class.

So I lurked around some of my fellow 11 Tools peoples' blogs.  And I hit the jackpot.  Ms. England at Cornerstone Academy had the ingenious idea to label each Mac with every students' names/team names who are authorized to use each computer.  I love that idea.  Then, I can easily identify who had which computer and may or may not have misused it or put it away in the wrong place.  She calls it "obsessive," but I call it fantastic.

So my plan is to label the computers and make sure each student is aware of the new expectations.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tool #6

I have used Twitter in my classroom before.  I found it helpful to have the students follow me, and then I would tweet reminder regarding homework, tests, changes in plans, or to give them links to articles they would need to read for class discussion.

I have also used a blogspot blogger in the past as a class blog.  I used it to promote class discussion and the students would have to comment as part of their grade for the assignment.

I don't know what it means to "embed" this, but the blog I'm utilizing right now will serve as my future classroom blog.  I had to delete my old one because it kept confusing the computer with this one and it was too much trouble.  My twitter handle was mrsqpc, but I haven't used it since last year.

Tool #7

a.  Content Objective:  The student will collaborate extensively to create a story with setting, plot, characterization, and theme, while practicing the use of technology with 100% accuracy.

b. Implementation: This would be implemented(hopefully) this year (possibly next) during the month of November.

c. Technology: I would use Google Docs to implement this activity.

d. Assignment: I think it would be really cool to pair students up from different classes and do tandem creative writing for NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--in November.  I have several students who are attempting to write novels by themselves or with friends already, and this opportunity would be not only high interest, but educational for them as well.  I would utilize Google Docs for this assignment, keep track of the assignment as it continued.

e. No other classroom needed!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tool #5

I chose Wordle as a word web tool for The Giver .  It was a bit simplistic, but cool looking in the end.  I'm not sure if I would utilize this for class because it just doesn't seem high level enough.

I then chose Animoto to make a video.  I didn't do the video for my content because I didn't have enough pictures together.  Instead, I did a wedding album just so I could learn the skill.  I think this tool would be great for kids to use to do book reviews, reports, or create short trailers about books.

Watch your video!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tool #4

Google Docs is pretty cool in a variety of ways.  As far as communicating with my team, or as we call them here at WAIS--"family", I created an ongoing document that helps us keep track of who is serving lunch homework hall/detention.  We can send it out and update it daily to determine whose kids should be where and whether they showed up.  Great!

As for in the classroom, I can use this for project work, tandem writing assignments, et cetera.  In Language Arts and Social studies the list literally could go on and on.

Tool #3

This video I found on Colonizing the 13 colonies is very well done and entertaining for the kids.  I found it a while ago and it is part of a three part series, covering the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies.  I'll include the next two below this one.  It was actually very easy to embed this in my text and I will totally use this function again.

The one over the Middle Colonies:

and the Southern Colonies:

As far as Fair Use laws go, I found it interesting that one can assume it is okay to use certain images and videos from certain sites because the owner of the material signs off when they upload it that it will be usable to all.  At least that was my understanding of it.

The dropbox could be very useful as a way to just keep everything organized and accessible from everywhere,  I would encourage my students to create their own dropboxes.  That would help them with projects, keeping organized, and not worrying all the time that they left their flashdrives at home or that an email didn't go through.

Tool #2

I am already pretty familiar with navigating blogs and commenting on them.  I am very comfortable commenting on posts, so I decided to go ahead and get this one done.  I visited a few of the blogs listed under the Tool #2 instructions, and decided to comment on a post made at www.learningismessy.com.  The blogger of this site was talking about creating chuck wagons out of pvc pipe in his wife's 4th grade classrooms so her students could read about the Donner party underneath it at their tables.  It looked pretty cool.  I felt that not only could the kids enjoy reading under there, but they could "travel" from wagon to wagon "on the trail" and do learning centers.  Even though her kids are much younger than mine--I teach eighth grade--I felt it was pretty cool over all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tool #1

Well, I began 11 Tools today.  While I absolutely love blogging for the classroom, I was struck by a couple of things that I'm not quite sure I can reconcile.  The first is that I already had a blog through blogspot that I used for my classroom prior to joining Spring Branch ISD.  My intention was to continue using it because I liked the domain name, I had everything organized the way I liked (and was comfortable), and as the old adage goes, If it ain't broke, why fix it?

I was excited at the prospect of learning to tweak and improve upon my rudimentary knowledge of html to improve customizing my blog.  While I still feel that's possible, it seems that going through the spring branch website pretty much forced me to abandon my former blog and open up a new one.  Boo.  Anxious to get to it, I did so.  I then went to Voki per the instructions where I spent hours (no exaggeration) figuring it out and creating an image.  Then when I tried to publish it, it refused to allow me to see the html to transfer to my blog as a gadget.  I tried to open an account with a dummy email address as a last resort.  Then I had to re-create what I had already done (annoying), and it still did not allow me to publish.

I am still looking forward to doing more with this new site.  However, I am clearly going to need serious help (or therapy--not sure which one) to complete the task of adding my avatar as a gadget.