Thanks to Free Tech 4 Teachers, I found a wonderful new tool called Glogster. This Web 2.0 tool allows students to make a “poster” with added information. A ‘glog’ is basically an online poster/web page. Students can combine text, pictures, graphics, video, and audio to create an interactive online poster. It has a very simple to use interface. The final glog can be hosted by Glogster or you can embed it into a wiki, blog, or class web site.
This sure would be a much more fun an exciting way of doing a report than simply typing and printing it. There are some great examples of posters on the site. Here are four of the highlighted projects.
I first mentioned Wordle on this blog back in June. Mrs. Nicholson wrote to me this week and told me about how she used it in her classroom. I think this is a wonderful project, especially if you have a class that needs some self esteem work. The students each created a wordle answering “What words do you use to describe yourself?” Mrs. Nicholson used the wordles and pictures of the students to create this video using photostory.
I could see this same activity working well for a biography unit. Have the students research a person and write a description in Wordle, then pair it with a photo. Thanks to Mrs. Nicholson for sharing her wonderful idea!!
SmartBoards are very big in our district as are many of the SMART Technologies. This week I took a class on the new Notebook 10 software. I thought I would take a minute to introduce you to some of SMART Technologies products.
I was pleasantly surprised at many of the changes. They have added the ability to animate items on pages, albeit not as well as powerpoint, but much improved. They have also added a desktop recorder. I have used Jing for this in the past and wasn’t thrilled with it. I then found some other shareware that was better, but still not ideal. I must say though, I really love the Smart Notebook’s Recorder. Some other new features include themes, page grouping, and new interactive items in the gallery. If you had tried their previous Teacher’s Toolkit, you will be delighted at some of the new additions.
This is a product that I had seen about a year ago on Smart’s website, but quickly forgot about. Then this week I saw it’s use in one of my professional development classes and am now determined to get it for my computer lab, even if I have to write a few grants to do it. It is a fabulous tool for lab use! It will allow you to monitor all of the lab computer’s from your own computer, will allow you to lock down computers, or take what one student has on their screen and show it to everyone in the class. It also will allow collaboration while keeping kids 1-1 on a computer. There is a chat feature monitored by the teacher that can be turned on and off. The teacher can also send a file or website to all computers at once. No more walking to 25 computers and opening starfall.com for my kindergarteners! I can see endless possibilities with this one!
I have not used these much, but have seen them in use and would love to have a set in my lab. The clickers allow you to not only set up SmartBoard lessons with quizzes embedded, but they allow you to ask a spur of the moment question with almost no prep. I hope to learn more about these in the future.
If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing SMART Technologies products, I would highly recommend you look into them. If you are an avid Smart user, I would like to recommend our district’s website. Our district has posted many SmartBoard lessons and activities that are downloadable at this site.
While looking at some of the teacher academy info at Google, I ran across some great free posters– the only catch is that you must print them. These are great resources to use with kids and teachers alike. Several may be printed on standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper. I have the one pictured here in my classroom above my smartboard. It has done a lot to teach my kids how to search the internet. There are at least two others on the site that I will likely use during instruction time this year.
I ran across a neat little site the other day called Kerpoof. It is very similar to Kidpix, only it is completely web-based (no downloads). It is free and has an option to subscribe, but it isn’t necessary for your class to be able to use it. I have played around with it a little and thought I would pass it along.
Some ideas on how to use it:
Recreate a scene from a book
Create a scene of summer vacation plans
Build a habitat
Do you have further ideas for its use? Do you already use it in your classroom? Comment and share your thoughts.
I went to a technology conference a couple of weeks ago and most of the presenters used Firefox as their web browser. Now this was not the first time I had heard of the application, but I had always been hesitant to try it out. At the conference, I downloaded Firefox and began to play around with it. I found that I loved it! It crashed far less often than IE and is a little easier to use.
Our district primarily uses IE, as far as I know anyway. I have been contemplating using Firefox in the computer lab. Any thoughts?