Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thing # 11.5: Evaluation

Yea! Wow! Awesome! Congratulations to me! I have completed 11.5 More Things and am so proud of myself for sticking to it and learning more about the technological world we live in. Here are some of my thoughts on the way it went at the beach:

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

I loved the Animoto program and was so excited to discover that I can have a free account as an educator and thus make longer than 30 sec. videos. It was wonderful to continue this technological adventure and my attempt to remain in the know. I loved finally understanding what the "hype" on Skype was all about and be able to use it. I am also proud to admit that I am a Facebook junkie!

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals.

I am so thankful for the team of lifeguards that put this all together. There is so much out there in the cyber world and to have the chance to learn it in this way makes it so much easier and user-friendly. I am more willing to take risks in the world of technology and continue to grow as an educator. I am looking forward to incorporating my new-found knowledge into the classroom this year! My students will have a ball with Animoto and Wordle. I feel more confident about uploading videos to use in my flipcharts and so on and so on.....

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

This online class has further enriched my technology skills beyond which I ever expected. I have learned so many new techniques that are going to help me collaborate with my fellow teachers and my students this year. Digital Citizenship was a whole new concept that I am going to instill within my curriculum this year. I will definitely be changing up the way we talk with our students about computer usage in the classroom. Focus more on the behavior expectations in a digital world and the positive aspects of technology so we all can "play fair" and understand the boundaries. AUP's and ISTE Standards will now become the norm when I approach my students this year in our techie adventures.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program's format or concept?

Don't change a thing! I loved everything about it: the set up, step-by-step guide, the F2F Sun Burn Clinic, it was all great. I feel like I have walked away with so much! Thank you! Thank you! I am so proud of myself for finishing!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thing # 11: Digital Citizenship (11.5 Things)

After reading up on digital citizenship I realized how much is taken for granted when working with technology. I feel that most importantly, when working with students, we need to instill in them not to believe everything they see and read on the internet. They need to still be taught to use a variety of resources on a topic. We, as teachers, cannot rely on parents alone to do this. It needs to be coming from several avenues of people in the child's life. As teachers, it is an obligation we need to fulfill and teach to our students daily. Students need to understand the variety of issues related to technology and be sure they are practicing legal and ethical behavior from as early an age as possible. In order for this to be done, it is vital for teachers to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility continuously. Teachers need to invariably improve their professional practice in order to effectively support student learning and the ever changing realm of technology.
In order to encourage my students to be good digital citizens the five things I would want to instill in them would be:
1. Cyber Security
2. Personal Safety
3. Intellectual Property
4. Cyber Bullying
5. Surf Safe Webpages

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thing # 10 Virtual Worlds (11.5 Things)

OK....the virtual world thing is pretty foreign to me. I went ahead and joined SecondLife and named my person. It took a while to get used to the movement of her, but it was cool to be able to walk up to people and begin a conversation. I asked this girl who was standing reading some billboards where I could go to get some new clothes and she replied instantly that she was new and looking for that too. I can definately see kids getting into this. My daughter likes to play the Sims game - she has not in a while due to lack of time and it just does not interest her as much as when she first began and played. My sons sometimes will play games online where they chat with other players, most they know from school, and it is just amazing to me that this is the kind of games that are out there for kids these days. I would never have believed it back then if you had told me my children would be playing such interactive games communicating with other players halfway around the world at times. It is just amazing!

Although I teach 4th grade and in order to be a player you have to be 18 or older on a lot of these games, I could still go on and have my students watch as I enter many virtual realms that are educational. I learned that there are virtual campuses where students can meet, attend classes, and create content together. I read also that SecondLife has a professional development medium for educators so I went to check it out. Well, I did not get to far with my girl. I am still too new at moving her and getting her to go where I want her to. But, I read that there is shared learning among educators, networking, a place to run inworld seminars, conferences, and symposia on learning and creativity related to virtual worlds. I am very impressed with the possibilities SecondLife has to offer. I would think high school and college students with appropriate guidance would be able to utilize this program to their best advantage. Like I've said before...."Things...they are a changin' ".

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thing # 9: Slideshare (11.5 things)

I think students in today's classroom would find Slideshare a very useful and resourceful way for them to share what they know and also search for what they need to find out. As a teacher, I have gone online and come across other Power Points that have been created on topics that we teach. They can be very useful. We have even downloaded these Power Points, changed them up to fit our students' needs, and used them in our teaching.
I have not heard the term "Slideshare" before nor the lingo that defines it as a Power Point hosting service. Slideshare was developed to share PowerPoints; it is ideal for getting ideas for presentations (great research tool for both students and teachers); and you can include narration with your PowerPoint that you decide to Slideshare. I viewed an example of a Slideshare called "Top 10 Reasons Libraries are Still Important". The slides were funny, but there was no sound which was disappointing.
Digital Inspiration has a great article listing the most popular hosting services for getting your PowerPoint online and I found Splashcast to be the one I would go with. I like how it was described as a "one size fits all" web player. It sounds very convenient and easy to me (I like that!). Splashcast allows you to embed PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, MP3 songs, videos, and photographs right inside one player. It also brags that the effects between slides are very impressive. This would attract students to use it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thing # 8: Screencast (11.5 Things)

When I began Thing # 8 I did not have a clue as to what a screencast was, but as soon as I read up on it my brain did a big "AH HA, I have seen those before" reaction. When comparing ScreenCastle and ScreenToaster I think I am going to go with ScreenToaster. They are both free, but you have to register for the later (big deal?) The comments on ScreenCastle all seem to sum up that it gives the user the "bare bones" options. The software I am going to go with is Comtasia Studio. I like the tips that one particular blogger wrote: * use fixed recording region (640X480)

* set screen recording to autopan (this way the region you are recording moves as you move the mouse)

When I viewed her example of screencasting on what to save the movie as I noted that both versions were blurry, but it did say to save it as a .MOV file no matter so I will do that. Well, I am off to make a screencast and hopefully get it posted. What to do, what to do.........

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thing # 7: Video Resources (Thing # 11.5)

The video on fair use and what it entails answered a lot of questions about what a person can and cannot do when utilizing videos and video clips. The main points I got out of it only make sense and that is to not let your work become a substitute for the original and use the material long enough to make your point, but no further. Of course credit should
ALWAYS be given to the originator.
As I explored the various video sources for educationally useful videos I came across quite a few and had to finally stop and get to my blog. I embedded a cute video with the Smothers Brothers discussing the Wright Brothers flight career. It is an American History quiz video and it goes great with our unit on Flight. The link is down below for those interested in viewing it. I looked at US National Archives and this would be useful during our Rocketry unit. It had links to NASAexplorer and NASAtelevision (there were many other links at the bottom that bring you to pages on the website. Google Videos is another great source. I searched for videos that had to do with physics for kids and many videos came up. They were, however, very slow to download!! There was a link under the video to view it through yahoo and when I went there it was still very choppy! The source I really liked is called TOTLOL! This is a great site for parents and teachers of preschoolers/elementary age children. I found some great video clips for my daughter about the letters of the alphabet and counting. They were quick to view and were not choppy. This was a fun "Thing" to exlplore and I could spend a lot more time searching for videos to use in my class, but I must move on to Thing # 8!

Aftermath of Wright Brothers First Flight