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!!!