Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thing #11.5 of 11.5

This too was a wonderful learning experience and adventure. I guess I'm a little old fashion, but along with my Blog, I kept a learning journal, so along the way I accumulated additional sites, comments, and ideas. As I plan for the next school year, I find myself going back and looking at the things I learned and trying to incorporate these activities into my plans. Even though my new students will have very limited English language ability, I've think I have found new ways to expand their learning experiences using the technology, so as to not limit their learning until their language has developed more. I challenge myself to do and learn more, more, more.
To answer the questions:

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

  • I really liked several activities. Wordle will be very useful in exciting the students about vocabulary. This summer I saw a Word Cloud used as an advertisement for Texas State University on a bus at the MELL Conference in San Marcos. Cool!
  • Of course- YouTube, TeacherTube, SchoolTube and CitizenTube and video hosting. This has great potential to use with the Activboard
  • Hulu and Blinkx- wonderful resource for finding video clips and full length video to use with the Activboard, as well.
  • Screencasts- especially Goview. I can create instructional videos for my students to use at home on their iPods, (I think). I need to make one and try converting the file to mp4.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? It has encouraged me to continue to learn and be adventurous.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I had never used Hulu or Blinkx and was always limited to the United Streaming videos. This is a tremendous help. I'm still not convinced to incorporate MUVEs, such as Second Life in to my teaching, but who knows, maybe once I'm more comfortable with it.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I would like to see this and additional opportunities offered the entire school year. I know once school starts our time is extremely limited, but we could actually develop, use, critique and share lessons with others. Time consuming-- but fun and educational.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thing #11 of 11.5

Above are 2 wonderful links on teaching digital citizenship. The first is a ning for teenagers where they can get involved in discussions and ask questions and the second is more for elementary or ESL students.

  • After reading information found on many of the sites, I realize that I'm not as informed as I thought I was about digital citizenship. The resonsibility rests not only in parents hands, but in all educators' as well. I found a quote from the digiteen site that said, "We need to teach behavior that allows us to use the best filtering tool that the world has ever seen: the human brain."
  • I have seen my students search the Internet quickly for information and then just look at the very first few sites given. They then either give up or take the information as "gospel" without going any further. Most believe everything that is posted without questioning the validity of the source. We must teach our students how to evaluate sites and URL's for validity. That means I must learn as much as possible about rankings and validity on the Internet.
    Stephen Downes says, "Indeed, a person who reads a website and concludes that it's true, no matter what it says, is dangerously illiterate."
  • Safety of my students is also a major concern. I must teach them personal safety and standards of conduct. I think for my ESL students they would learn this best through scenarios and discussions.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thing #10 of 11.5

Well this one is a real challenge for me. I have played around with SecondLife for a couple of hours now. I even left it for a while, thought about it and then returned again. I am totally intimidated by this. It took me forever to figure out my avatar's clothing. I thought I had an outfit I wanted and then the system crashed-- several times--- I even had problems with login and received a message to wait. I finally did manage to get back on and transported my half dressed avatar to a nice peaceful garden, but everything costs $. Then I found myself listening to some inappropriate conversations, so I decided to fly away to be lost another time! Needless to say---frustration set in again.
I know my students would absolutely love this and according to other posts and some blogs I have read, it can be educational. Maybe I would feel more comfortable with the TeenSecond Life. I'm not sure I could use this with my students until I got the hang of it myself, so I will continue to play with it and withhold judgement at this time.

Thing #8 of 11.5

Screencasts can be very useful and easy to use. I often wondered how someone did that when I saw it being used and now I know. I tried using screencast but couldn't figure how for the site not to show while I was demonstrating a lesson, so I downloaded Goview. This was very simple and the icon stays in my tray at the bottom of the computer. I have a simple flipchart to demonstrate the use of Goview.

I know that there is video record tool on the activboard that probably does the same thing, but I haven't tried this tool out yet. I think it would be wonderful to record each of my flipcharts and then sync them to my students' iPods, so they could use them as a review or if they were absent and missed the lesson. This really is a great tool.
Whoops! After viewing this video on my Blog, the right side is clipped. I'm not sure how to change the size. Sorry!

US Constitution

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Thing # 9 of 11.5

I played around with SlideShare and uploaded an old PP I had created. This site is fairly easy to use. I did have problems with the SlideCast to include music. I think it would have worked if I had waited long enough. Students would be able to collaborate on PP projects from home especially if they didn't have PowerPoint loaded on their computer. I think Google Docs does the same. I believe it would be a matter of which site was the easiest to use.

(I found out that when I posted the PP to Blogger and tried to edit, the PP changed completely to another presentation that was not mine.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thing #7 of 11.5

I had heard about Hulu but never went to the site. What a wonderful collections of videos! I also liked Blinkx, especially U-Zoo The Cutest Pets Ever. Because these sites are free and easy to embed in presentations, I think I will be visiting them regularly and use them in my Flipcharts and podcast. I have used PBS and National Geographic videos before and they were extremely effective. Some of the short clips could be used for discussions or story starters.

Thing #6 of 11.5

So much to see! So many things to play with! So much to learn. When I first got my iTouch and I went to apps store I felt like a child in a candy store. I had to limit my "intake" ($0.99 can add up)and try to stick to the free stuff. I found a nice site that reviews educational apps.
There are many apps that would be useful to students in all the content areas. To name a few: WeDict, Word of the Day, Google Map/Earth, Brainteaser, 6500+Cool Facts, inFactUSA, 3DPanet and the list goes on and on.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thing #5 of 11.5

I had created a Facebook account several months ago, but had no friends added because I really wasn't in to commenting. When I started 23 Things I decided to go back on and add some friends. I was amazed at how quickly my wall grew.
I had some concerns when I had added a political group from Iran that protested the election and heard that the Iranian government had begun monitoring Facebook and Twitter. I was afraid that my husband's nieces and nephews who live there could have problems, so I removed the group. I think I just got paranoid-- but better safe than sorry. I still monitor Twitter for news being sent out of Iran.
As for using this in the classroom, I'm not sure yet how I could use it. Most students are MySpace users and they would have no problems using Facebook. One thought would be to post homework help,reminders,etc, but this could also be done on a classroom blog. The jury is still out on its classroom use. Maybe others will have better suggestions.

Thing #4 of 11.5

I absolutely love YouTube and TeacherTube. I have used both on several occasions. I signed up for SchoolTube and I like the security that this site offers. The uploading process was really simple, especially for YouTube. There was an error message when I uploaded the same video in TeacherTube. Not sure why--
Advantages: Teaching and learning videos could be embedded in lessons using the Activboard to enhance learning. The same videos could be added to students' iPods to view at home. Student created videos would really energize learning and once uploaded, they could be shared with other students to learn, comment on and reflect.(I need to remember to keep updated parental consent forms on file)
Note: YouTube videos were instrumental in getting information out about the Iranian protests. I was amazed at the quantity of videos available coming out of Iran when I used GoogleEarth.

Thing #3 of 11.5

Using my personl laptop, I have used Skpe to talk with relatives, but just now downloaded it to the school computer. I never thought of using Skype with the students, but after viewing the video I can see its potential. It would be neat to set it up with other ESL classrooms and have the students interact with each other. The problem would be to find another teacher who uses Skype. We could maybe start small, within the district, and then grow from there-- a possibility.

Thing #2 of 11.5

Loads of fun here. I spent about 2 hours just playing. I like both Wordle and Wordshift. They both would be excellent tools for vocabulary and writing. I did discover that Wordsift needed to be use with Foxfire in order to view the visual thesaurus, which is an excellent tool I have used in the past. I signed up for Glogster and created a poster, but somehow lost it. Voicethread would be a great tool to discuss historical pictures(History Alive strategy). The draw back is there is a $60 fee for a classroom subscription. Bummer! I have used Animoto with my students before as an introduction to landforms. Voki is fun, but a I'm not sure what more I could do with it. The talking avatar is a little weird.
Wordle: Scientific Tools

Thing #1 of 11.5

Wow! How exciting it would be if my students could learn like this. My role as the teacher would need to change along with my limited "tech toolbox" The burning question is can I rise to the occasion and guide my students in that direction. I definitely will try.
Student's role: To build their own personal "tech toolbox" and communicate effectively with others - Students would be in charge of their own learning, by gathering resources needed to understand the topic and reflecting about what they learned.
Teacher's role: Guidance, communication, encouragement- more like a "trail guide"
This is a daunting task. As a teacher, I would need to know the "trail" extremely well- what an exciting challenge!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thing #23

I did it! Last year I only got to Thing #3 and stopped mainly because I was shaky on what I was doing and uncomfortable about putting myself out there. What a lame excuse, since I always push my students to just try and see what can happen. I still think I'm more of a "lurker", but maybe less now. To answer the questions, here goes:

  • My favorite discovery or exercise was trying out the wonderful and creative tools out there. I can spend hours on the computer just trying stuff out. Of course my all time favorite is Google Tools and Mashups. Loads of things to play with.

  • This experience has broadened my arena and playground. It also tested my perseverance and determination. Even though my early computer classes used the punch cards and room sized computer--

Age should never be a factor in learning!

  • I was surprised about how much people really had to say about almost every topic in the world. While searching for twitters and ESL nings, I found many posts about the unrest in Iran due to the election, coming in live. The television was on and I was listening to the so called "breaking news", while reading about it from people in Iran and around the world. Cool!

  • I'm not sure what could be done differently, because the process was very easy and informative. I couldn't stop, once I got started.

  • I would definitely do this again and wish I had completed it last summer or in the spring, so I could participate with the second discovery program offered now.

  • INSPIRING : "Education means inspiring someone’s mind, not just filling their head. " - Katie Lusk

Thing #22

I believe I'm hooked on nings. I like the simplicity of the layouts and different pages. I have a blog just for my students, but now I think I will set up a ning. It is a great way to create a network of students around academic topics. I searched for nings for ESL students and found a couple from around the world. Wouldn't it be great to learn with students from Australia or the Middle East! I signed up for a couple just to see what develops. There were not many just geared for ESL students. One summer goal is to set up a ning! ,
This link explains how educators can remove the ads from their ning-

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thing #21

In April, I was a lucky recipient of a Region IV grant and received iPod nanos for each of my ESL students. As part of the grant, I had to create podcasts and videocasts to fulfill the requirement. I went to iTunes and downloaded several podcasts for language learners, numerous videos from Animal Planet, National Geographic, etc, and made several podcasts for my students. The students listened to their iPods before school, after school, and during any free downtime they had. It was a hit with them and a great learning tool. My goal this summer is to create more learning podcasts for next year students in all the contents I teach (ESL, Science, Social Studies). I also want my students to creat their own podcasts. They did one this year on The Great Kapok Tree and it was wonderful to watch them practice English over and over to get it just right.

Thing #20

I use TeacherTube and YouTube along with Zamzar frequently. Below is a video from TeacherTube I used in my ESL Science class to teacher about states of matter. The video is in Spanish and illustrates Oobleck. The students loved it. After watching, we made Oobleck in the classroom and then they took some home in a plastic bag to show their parents. There were some messy accidents in their notebook, but loads of fun and they remembered. I included in a prior post a video of an interactive children's library. I really wish that YouTube could be used at school, it would save us a lot of time. The students watch the videos at home anyway. I had the students at the end of the create a video on irregular verbs using the Flip video cameras, but ran out of time to post it on TeacherTube- needed parent releases,etc. --Next year.


Thing #19

I didn't explore a couple-- I explored over 15 and decided to stop. This is a great source with many tools all in one place. My favorites were Google Maps- great classroom tool, Wetpaint- nice social networking site, Lulu- great place for students to create and publish books, Biblio-great for finding books for research and libraries, Fluxiam- a place to share,organize digital files for both Mac and PC, and MyHeritage-family trees.

Thing #18

I wasn't aware that OpenOffice was already on our laptop. I wonder if it is on the students' computers/labs? Two main advantages to both OpenOffice and Google Doc. are it is free and accessible to anywhere, as long as there is Internet--- a disadvantage. I can see how it would be useful in the classroom where students need to collaborate on a project. I looked over the Native Language Confederation of OpenOffice and that was interesting. I have relatives in Iran who are learning English and I could help them edit their English projects using this tool, so students actually could work collaboratively around the world- cool!

Children's Interactive Library

Thing #17

Rollyo seems to be a useful place to organize all of your sites/bookmarks. This could be useful when having students conduct research on given topics. Important classroom time could be used on the actual information itself instead of searching for the info. I had a little trouble exporting my bookmarks to a searchroll, so I did them individually. This worked better for me.For some reason I was unable to view the video created by another player. I will try to view it later, because there were great comments about it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thing #16

Wikis look like a very useful and easy tool for the classroom. The process seems very simple. I can see it used for student electronic portfolios, book chats. topic discussions and explorations. I would also like to try setting up one for teacher collaboration where teachers within and out of the district share and create lessons, ideas, resources, and projects.

The link below is an example of a middle school esl wiki.

Thing #15

Wow! I can remember a time when I felt intimidated by the card catalog, not to say-- my school librarian. Library 2.0 will be a huge paradigm switch for an "old school" teacher/learner like me. I liked the statement, " Libraries are not merely in the communities, they are communities..." It will be exciting to see all the possibilities,tools and resources available. I think I will need work harder to stay a few steps ahead of my students, so that I can assist them in their journey into the 2.0 world and beyond. I just don't want to enter a library, though, without any books to actually hold, run my finger across the cover, peruse the wonderful pictures and smell the leather and worn pages. Just a little nostalgic!

Thing #14

Add to Technorati Favorites
Well! There sure are an infinite number of people who have something to say. I was amazed at the number of followers of some blogs. I had trouble claiming my blog, because there was some problem with the site. I returned about an hour later and completed the task successfully.I found the videos and Blogger Central interesting, but I'm not sure how I would use this with my students. Maybe I missed something, so I'm interested in seeing what others found and their suggestions for the classroom.

Thing #13

I had a little problem with this activity mainly because I got lost. I wasn't able to view the video by Common Craft Guy, but did listen to the podcast. I knew about Delicious, but the tech person at the school just asked for our favorite sites and she did the work. I tried the Tag Bundles and that helped some.I also made the title Thing#13 a link to my Delicious bookmark. I'm not sure if this is the correct thing to do. I can see where this might be useful in the classroom for research, once I got the hang of it.

Thing #12

I thought I wasn't much of a blogger, but lost track of time while reading and posting comments to our little Library2Play community. I definitely am a "lurker", but want to move away from that label, so I will come back to this activity as I move along.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thing #11

I registered with Library Thing and made a list of books. It was a very easy site to use. I was amazed at the number of people who were members. I'm not sure how my students would use this except to do book chats with other students.

Thing #10

Loads of fun!
I have used several tools before. I took pictures of objects, distorted them, and then had the students guess the picture. This reinforced the new vocabulary learned. I also used bumper stickers, buttons,and trading cards to review the main idea or concept. Toondo is another cool site for the students to use.

Thing #9

  • I liked Bloglines. It was simple and easy to follow.
  • I got a little lost with Topx. I think it was just the layout
  • I found a feed called ESL Free Press. I wanted a classroom subscription to this newspaper for my students, but now they can just read the articles from the site. I also like the National Geographic feed.

Thing #8

  • The RSS reader could be a helpful tool if used for a specific purpose. My problem was I added too many to Feeds at one time which lead to an organizational problem. I needed to go back and categorize in certain folders correctly.
  • I think schools/libraries could use this to keep relevant information for staff development, and/ or educational issues available for the teachers and community if the reader list was public on the school website.
  • As a classroom teacher, this could be used to guide students to articles/information on content studied without the need for them to search the Internet and lose valuable classroom time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thing #7

I use Google Tools almost daily when I am on the computer. I have an igoogle homepage which has many gadgets such as weather, news, translations, pictures, etc. I have used Google Earth with my students to explore locations throughout the world at just in Spring Branch. The 3D Tours and historical imagery helps the visit places without leaving the classroom. In Science, you can view the terrain of the ocean floor and surfaces. I would like to explore further the use of Google Doc. which allows students to create and share documents online. As more and more of my students use the computer for projects, research, and learning, there is a greater need to share and edit this information. I would like to tyr this next year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thing #6

I really liked playing around with the different things you could do here. I have tried the magazine cover and trading cards with my students before. I had them to create a magazine cover as a project on Westward Expansion and they also did trading cards for the Loyalists and Patriots before the American Revoultion. I would like to use mappr next year when we start geography and flickr color picker for vocabulary and emotions.

Thing #5

I have used Flickr before with my students. What I like is that by using the groups you can find many photos about the same subject. The photos are also interesting, sharp and have vivid colors.

Thing #4

I completed my Blog and sent an email to have the site registered. I found that the first post doesn't always appear when I enter the site. I tried doing the post again, but it seems to still have a problem. Any suggestions?

Thing #3

There were just too many choices to create an Avitar! The process was easy but making up my mind was difficult.

Thing #2

I really do feel that we should be lifelong learners. Sometimes the learning will take us out of our comfort zone and cause a lttle anxiety, but it is worth it. The easiest habit I feel for me is Habit #6- use technology to my advantage. I can remember when I was younger, paging through the encyclopedias over and over. Today information on any subject is within our reach with just a stroke of the keyboard. The hardest habit is probably #4- to have the confidence in myself that I can achieve my goals.

Thing #1

I started experimenting with Blogs in my ESL classroom and the students really enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, have problems doing written reflections, so this part will be a challenge for me. What do they say--- it's never too late!!!