Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thing #11.5 Evaluation

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I loved the online poster-makers, the screencast, and slideshare. I know I could use those directly i my class this year. I do want to try out creating and having my students create teaching videos that can be uploaded to TeacherTube & YouTube.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I love how it keeps me informed of the latest tech tools. I even created a page on my website that list all the links to these tools for future reference. I don't want to ever be so far behind tech-wise that my students don't view me as a valuable role in their education.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Not really. I enjoyed the whole process.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
Ummm.... I love the online, in-your-own-time format. I'm not sure I'd change it. I might add different curriculums to this idea. Math, science, LA/SS related stuff not just tech.

Thing #11 Digital Citizenship

This is something close to my heart. When I was young, the authority was my dad, encyclopedias, or another library resource. Now, students just "google it" when they need info. Alas, I do this too.

One difference I have noticed between my students and myself is that I tend to search many sites, consult colleagues, etc. before making a determination that the information I sought out is indeed valid. Our students need to be reminded that sometimes not all resources are reliable. Our students need to be coached and encouraged to seek out multiple resources, check for validity, and confer with colleagues and teachers. It would be great if we could find professionals "on call" that would be willing to verify the findings via a conference call, email or chat. Talk about connected learning!

Our students need to also remember internet safety and responsibility. It is our job as parents and educators to coach and monitor positive internet experiences.

Thing #10 Virtual Worlds

YIKES! While I thought this was "cool" (I managed to find out how to sit and walk around). I had trouble w/ maneuvering around and doing stuff. I'm really not sure how this benefits our students. Perhaps I'm "old" or just not creative enough.

The only real benefit I could currently see would be using it as a preferred activity reward for students who complete all work and have "free time". Our students love online gaming so I can see how this would be a nice incentive for them. Perhaps they could even create their world to match activities they are doing in school.

I guess I will really have to play around with this one more, but I feel like it's more of a video game type activity. I not sure I have the amount of time it looks like it could require.

Thing #9 Slideshare

Wow, I wish I had known about this last year. I did a menu-style unit and power points were one of the choices. You guessed it... they were not that great. Power points are not all they are cracked up to be. It'd be awesome to find some and use them in class to show students what a snazzy slide show can be with the right perspective.

I think our students could really get into this. The ability to add voice, music, photos, etc. as well as upload them and share them with the world is right up their ally. It's almost like YouTube for PowerPoints.

I'd like to have student groups try this function out this year. I know they'd get a real kick out of it.
Perhaps my teaching partners and I can make one for back-to-school. Our students and parents would surely appreciate something "cool" rather than the same old "same old".

Thing #8 Screencast

Many of our students are ultra tech-savvy. I feel it would be a great benefit for educators to have current students create screencasts on how to navigate the student servers, create and upload videos, podcasts, etc. and use online tutorials. Students have a different perspective than educators. They can address questions that we would not necessarily think about as an adult. An added bonus would be that educators would learn tech skills from students. We need to remember that we are not always the experts on everything. Sometimes are students and their experiences are the best educators.

I tried to use several of the online screencasts tools, but had a little difficulty figuring them out. I could get them started, but couldn't finalize the video. I guess I will need to try again at home. Perhaps that is the issue.

I would like my first screen cast to be one that walks students through my personal math website. It would be great to have a permanent "tutorial" on all the parts of my website and what they do. I also want to make one that showcases the online text that I provide as a resources for my students. Many don't use it as much as they should b/c they have difficulty navigating and understanding all the parts of this valuable resource.

Okay.. I tried it at home and it worked GREAT! I don't have audio b/c I didn't have the microphone headset w/ me, but I can always add that later.

Thing #7 Video Resources

I found the Fair Use info dry, but helpful. As teachers, we love to use and borrow and we need to be diligent that we are not breaking any copyright laws. We also need to help our students understand these laws. I included a link to FAIR USE on my website for my students and myself to refer to throughout the year.

Depending on what you are searching for full episodes or just clips can be very useful in the classroom. I like PBSVideo b/c I know I don't have to "filter" as much or worry about stumbling across inappropriate content. The videos under Be Green and the Economy would be great for a math/science class. We could explore and discuss how science impacts our world and the math behind that science.

Another sources I've found for video resources is The Futures Channel. This site ties closely to content and has 3-6min videos for a variety of curriculum units. TFC also has teacher resources for each video and student activities. You can access many of the items for free but a teacher subscription is only $35/year. Their videos are also on DVD. I really like this resource. I don't always "like" their activities, but they are a great jumping off point for tailoring things to the needs of the individual classroom.

Thing #6 iTouch

Last year my teaching team and I wrote a grant request for the iTouch - Power to Learn grant. While we were not the winning team, we did learn a lot about iTouch's.

Several of our students had iTouch's. We decided to start posting items on our website and asking them to download them on their iTouch's to use. The downloading worked okay. The students did complain about the sizing and orientation of the documents and how they displayed on the iTouch. In the end they asked us for the paper version.

However, I think the iTouch still has merit in the classroom. They can use it to access the internet at school and at home. They can tweet, FB, and create/upload photos, videos, etc. We all know the iTouch's have more apps than we can keep up with. Posting a running list of apps in the classroom (and our website) that benefit our students educationally would be a great idea. Teachers could list general apps, fun apps, and apps that directly relate to their content. Students can also text and microblog to submit answers, etc. to teachers. We can turn the 730-3pm learning in to 24/7 learning. Most teachers are life-long learners. We need to inspire and instill that in our students.

A few apps I've investigated for use in the math & science classrooms are:

facebook, google earth, weather channel, brainteaser, skype,, sudoku, twitter, popmath, ACT math foundation, math tutor, flash cards, math drills, math formulas, math references, hubble pictures, science facts, science hangman, science trivia, science news... just name a few.

Students can download these in iTunes and load them onto the iTouch.