Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thing Twelve - Online Tools

While checking out the online tools, I really liked Blabberize. This site allows you to take a photo and add a mouth and voice. Below is one I did of my dog. This would be a great teaching tool for younger students who do research on animals. They would write the important information down then turn it into a speaking part for the animal to instruct others about it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

WebPage Design

I really enjoyed class this past Thursday when we learned about HTML code.  I do want to learn more about web page design and some of the finer intricacies found on them. However, I am glad that someone created templates. I can only imagine designing a page from scratch and trying to put in many of the features we find on web pages today. That task would be overwhelming. Just having some knowledge of the behind the scenes stuff can help one appreciate what you see when you open a page. Also knowing some of the "jargon" in code, so that if you found a certain feature you liked on a page, you could take a peek at the code to duplicate the feature on your own page. I am looking forward to being able to update our school web page and feel like this past weeks class has given me the courage to take on that endeavor. I did find through my RSS feed a great blog article that gives 10 free ways fro teachers and students to make web pages. Here is the link. Free Tech for Teachers - 10 Ways for Teachers & Students to Build Websites .

More Than Anything Else

Ok so after we learned how to embed something, I wanted to see if I could embed my class Voicethread. They loved this assignment and I am hoping to do more like this. After I embedded it, I did get a comment that some people may not be able to see it. If you happen to check this out and you can't view it, please let me know. Thanks.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thing Eleven - Slideshow

So I went to Flickr and found some pictures of plants in different stages and decided to feature tomatoes. I followed the growth of tomato from planting the seeds to a plant with fruit. Three of the pictures are from the same person and show the growth over time but I also added some other pictures to help show more growth. The pictures came from the following people.

Tim Patterson 1
Tim Patterson 2
TimPatterson 3
Deb Roby

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reflections on Finding a Wimba/ Elluminate Class

 I went exploring through one of our links in class or a reading not sure which, but found a website, Learn Central, and perused through some of the information on their page. I found they were going to have a Wimba on Flickr so I joined the site and registered for the class. I sure am glad we had our Wimba class because it made it easier for me to understand the screen when I got in. It was only 30 minutes, and I missed the first 10 as I was having trouble getting logged on but did like that I was able to get in and learn some new things about Flickr. I also joined a Wiki that was the "host" of the class. that Wiki is 1 Tool at a Time. They say they do at least one of these classes a month and to check the Wiki for the upcoming topic.

I also found another great teacher resource when learning about Creative Commons, OER Commons, an open educational resources site that has lesson plans as well as some other cool teacher tools all under Creative Common license. Hope you will check these out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thing Nine - Creative Commons

I can say that I have never noticed the Creative Commons logo before doing this assignment. I am glad that we were given the task of exploring more about Creative Commons. Last semester we did have to learn about copyright and making sure to cite sources. But we also learned how to find photos marked for reuse. I did not think there were different levels of reuse until doing this assignment.
I think it is important that we instruct students not only on copyright but also on Creative Commons. Since there are so many photos, videos and soundbites that can be used, students need to understand how to find those things that they don't have to always seek permission from the owner of the copyright. If students understand these uses, they may be more careful with what they post to the web, both through school assignments and also in personal use on social network sites and blog pages. I have used images in my teaching, but to be honest, am not sure if I may have violated any copyright or Creative Commons licenses. I certainly hope not.
Some potential negatives to using CC in postings may be the understanding of the minor details for reuse. For example, a teacher creates a presentation for a class using photos in that presentation that are marked for attribution, share alike and non-commercial use. A colleague sees the presentation and suggests that the teacher seek to present at a local conference where she will receive payment for presenting. Would this then violate non-commercial use? There could be other possible violations without people even being aware of it. Overall though, I believe that CC provides an easier avenue for teachers and students to build products for presentations in class.

Thing Ten - Photosharing

I really enjoyed exploring Flickr. I love travel and enjoy seeing pictures of places I would like to go, but as far as teaching purposes, I had to back out of scenic shots and think, how can I use this to teach.

We are working with plants in 1st grade science so I did a search for plants and found several pictures that could be used to show the growth of plants or even plant parts. One of these was this one by Sound Native Plants which can be found at Photo by Sound Native Plants at Flickr. I am going to try to create a slideshow that can be used in my class and possibly even move it to VoiceThread to allow students to record observations about the pictures. When we grow our own, I will post those pictures in VoiceThread for commenting as well.

I look forward to hearing other ideas for use in the classroom and finding ways to ignite students desire to learn through alternate methods (outside of paper and pencil).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thing Seven - Wikis

I am not sure if I see a wiki in my class this year but I do want to explore the options for future years. I read Vicki Davis' blog (Wiki-wiki Teaching) about her first experience with using a Wiki in her classroom. This was amazing and I loved how the students had a vested interest and started the "buzz" in the school. other classes and students wanted in on the idea. However, I do believe this was in a high school. Working in an elementary school provides a few more challenges for using a wiki.I am thinking that VoiceThread may be a better way to start with younger children so they can record and then transition into typing.
I looked through quite a few Wikis with 1st grade in mind. There was one actually listed as a 1st grade wiki called Schools in the Past. I did enjoy reading this but feel it would have to be read by the teacher to the children. I do like how it is broken up in sections that students would find interesting. I wonder if there is a way to make the font size bigger for younger kids and possibly add pictures or drawings that help explain the differences.

Another Wiki that I looked over was Primary Math. I thought this site came a little closer to meeting the needs of younger students. Most of the pages had pictures which I think appeals to younger students, plus it provides a visual representation which is very beneficial. I did notice that all the "Teacher Tube' videos that were embedded did not work. It would just take you tho the Teacher Tube page, not to the specific video that the creators wanted you to see.

The Let's Go West Wiki was one of my favorites! There is a lot of information on this site, including time lines and pictures that help the lesson come alive.I also like how they had their first name included under the headings of the sections they worked on. I Think this might be a good Wiki to use as a teaching wiki on how to post and also how even young children can learn to cite sources. With elementary students, it might be good to create a new wiki with each year, but show previous wikis to help them get started.

As far as professional learning goes, I enjoyed looking at Grazing for Digital Natives. I think this wiki is close to what we will probably create as our class wiki. I am not sure I have seen everything on her wiki as of yet but am finding some of it hard to maneuver. I think I tried to click on her embedded blog about United Streaming and ended up finding a wiki (and PBL) about plants. I am teaching about plants right now and this looked similar to a web quest. I feel there is so much to learn and not enough time. I am also having trouble remembering some of the sites I have happened upon but did not bookmark or feed to while browsing. I hope I can become more comfortable with use of these tools so I can share with others.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thing Five - RSS

While working on this assignment, I have increased feeds to my reader, but I think I will enjoy those feeds. I also went and deleted one and am considering deleting a couple more. I just need to set a specific time to look through my reader on a daily basis. I hope I can turn that into a habit. One of the neat things I found that was part of our assignment was from the blog, Instructify, the specific page I read was Create 3-D pop up books with ZooBurst. Since I teach 1st grade, I just had to check out this site!I looked through a couple of books and think this could have great potential. I have not joined yet but will look through this more. From the same blog was another post, Check sites for viruses and malware with URLVoid. This might be a good source to teach students about, especially when they start exploring the web more and more. I think of the times I see posted on Facebook a link that someone says we should check out.

Another blog that I really enjoyed reading and happen to agree with is TeachPaperless: Philosophy of Learning by Mike Kaechele.

I could find myself addicted to my reader and that may not be a bad thing.