Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And so...

It has been a great learning experience for me as a technology teacher.  I have been looking for web 2.0 tools to use with my students as I create lessons to supplement the eGuides the county provides.  I thank my fellow Loyolians, who have provided great ideas I can use with my classes. 

If I feel the need to share any of the results from the lessons I am planning using web 2.0 tools, I will post them here. 

Discovery Streaming Pt.2

 Discovery Education has been available to me as a teacher for at least three years now, but I only really starting using it this year.  Some of the eGuides that are available use 5-15 minute clips from Discovery Education.  I have used Discovery Education to go over...
                Wonders of the World
                Even and Odd Numbers
                Goods and Services
                and more

  I have used Discovery Education mainly as a collection of videos to draw from when necessary.  I recently read a classmate's blog post about how one could use DE with students.  I tried to create a class, but got stuck on the part where I was supposed to add students.  Here is a screen shot of my progress.

When I can get past this obstacle I am going to set up a third grade class and have them do a research project using video sources, among other sources too.  A big part of the lesson will be citing sources, websites and video.  NoodleBib,  here I come.  I can also use it to give assessments if we focus on a particular content area.

Lastly, I would like to add to my reasoning as to why I think DE is a web 2.0 tool.  Through much of my searching of blogs, wikis, and more I have come to notice the "feel" of these tools.  You typically log in, permit access to others, prepare lessons/content for students, and give assessments/surveys.  That is what Discovery Education is able to do, so I consider it web 2.0.

Podcasting Part Two

I recently conducted various searches related to student podcasts and discovered that it can be hard to find collections of podcasts, especially about a related topic of content focus.  Still, it is quite easy to find a class website that features about 8 podcasts, sometimes more.  Many times the audience is neglected, never really acknowledged.  It sometimes seems as if you need to know the actual students and what in the world they are learning about to understand.  I came across one class were discussing reactions to poetry, but it wasn't referenced.  These flaws and more have made me think.

It still might be a little while before I get the chance to record podcasts with my fourth graders, but I am learning some things I want them to do.  I already knew I wanted them to work on sentence fluency, and now I want to ensure they have a good intro.  I'm sure I will learn more about what I want as we create the podcasts.  My biggest concern as I move ahead is finding a quite place to record.  I am lucky because there are some "extra" rooms nearby, but sometimes there are people in them (music, band, and reading specialists).  I'll have to talk to the teachers to see what times I could potentially use their rooms for recording. 

Update on Mac App Store

It sounds like some people have checked out the Mac Apps Store.  If you haven't and would like to, you should click on the apple in the top left corner of computer screen and choose software update.  It will take a little while, about 15 minutes. 

I searched around a little bit, and I feel like there is some good stuff, but I think the app store will be better once it is past the launch phase.  At this time I have found something I could use with students.  I found a free app about the Constitution.  I downloaded it to my computer, and now can access the original text, comments on it, as well as notes about the signers and amendments.  If I can send this out to the student laptops (need to check on that), then it will be a great resource for fifth grade in fourth quarter.  That is still too far away for me to have any definite plans, but I may have students create web pages (using weebly.com) about the Constitution, the Amendments, or the signers.  I recommend you check out the apps at the Mac Store from time to time.

Collaborative Writing Tools (like Google Docs)

The one problem with Google Docs is that it does not allow users to get on without an email.  Since I want to use collaborative writing tools with my students in the telecollaborative project, I needed to find another resource.  I think I have found it in MixedInk.

So far this service seems pretty cool.  I highly recommend the tutorial video which features quite possibly the best politician EVER!  Anyway, after creating a class and a fake project, it was easy to see how this could be used.  It is not quite a Google Doc, and I am not sure if students can work on the same document at the same time (I haven't been able to test it).  You can set up deadlines and have students vote on segments and drafts so that all is decided democratically.  The major benefit is that you can give students the address and they can access it.  

My plan with this service is to link up with Megan's fourth grade class (connecting one of my fourth grade classes) to do some collaborative writing.  We are considering our options, and realize that the writing does not need to be synchronous, in fact that may be too difficult.  Therefore, MixedInk could work really well.  Still, I feel the need to find other sources that are free and allow for synchronous writing.

Don't forget writeboard.  Steve posted this good idea on his blog.  I like that it doesn't require a gmail account, although it seems to need an email. 

Online Surveys

Okay, I have to admit that my last choice of an online survey service, specifically polleverywhere.com, was a bit limited.  While I believe that it has a niche, students are not in it, due to school system rules.  Not to mention it would be wrong to expect all students to have a cell phone.  I would consider it akin to how Charlie's teacher assumed that he ate hundreds of candy bars in his search for the golden ticket  Still, I see possibilities, especially when using polleverywhere among adults/staff.

I didn't have to look far for something to replace polleverywhere.  Survey Monkey has more features, and does not require the use of a cell phone to respond.  I created a short survey about immigration to use with third graders since we just finished a project where we visited a Scholastic site and took a tour of Ellis Island, and listened to stories of immigrants.  I have included a pic (using Jing) that I took as I was developing the survey.

Another cool wiki

As I was searching for good blogs, I came across a good wiki.  PBWorks is a great resource.  It allows users to invite students without requiring email.  I signed up, but am still working out what I plan to do with it.  The possibilities are there though, since multimedia can be added to the wiki.  One way I intend to use this service is to put a few lessons on here, with links to pictures and such.  I like the idea that an entire lesson can be contained within the wiki, and hopefully streamline things for me.  In case I have not mentioned this, I would mainly give access to wikis and blogs to my students in grades 3, 4, and 5.  The other students may use wikis and blogs, but probably more of a resource for information/content.