Archive | Gadgets RSS feed for this section

Flip Cameras

5 Jan

Flip Cameras are a new favorite tool of mine!  I have two flip cameras in my classroom and then our school has an additional 12.  I have had several teachers ask “how can we use these in class?”  Usually with comments of how difficult of a task this would be.  First, these cameras are INCREDIBLY easy to use!  It took all of 5 minutes to explain the basics of how to record.  I did spend some time talking about facing the camera, not shaking/moving it, and speaking clearly, but these are the same things we teach kids for a live presentation.   As for ideas on how to use it in a lesson…here are a couple straight from my classroom.

One area my students struggle with is understanding why text features are so important, and why they shouldn’t just skip over them as they read.  I broke my class of 20 into 5 groups.  Each group was handed a text feature (captions, glossary, charts/graphs, maps, index).  Each group had to create a short (about 30 second) video telling people what the text feature is and why it is so important.  I won’t bore you with all 5 videos, but here is one to give you an idea of the end product.

Other ideas:

Fluency Practice– My students LOVED reading and watching themselves read.  Especially when reading dialogue, students would try again and again to make things “sound right”.  I have never seen them want to read the same thing so many times.  I did this with a group of low readers and the results were astounding!

Brainstorming– I have a couple of students who have a very difficult time writing.  They can’t seem to get what is in their head down to the paper.  Allowing them to have a friend record their explanations and then play those back and write what they said helps tremendously.  Could they do this to a scribe?  Sure, but the addition of another student asking for clarification, or giving suggestions has helped the students go beyond what they thought they could do.

Commercials– A great way to make a commercial. We shoot, load, and project them onto the smartboard for INSTANT gratification.  By recording them, they can show these off later to parents.

How have you used flip cameras in your classroom?

Advertisements

GoogleGab- Search

8 Sep

Welcome to the first edition of Google Gab!  Today I am going to start with the basics of Google- Google Search.  There is so much more to Google search than most people realize.  Most people know how to type what they want information on and then they muddle through millions of listings trying to find “the right one.”  There are more ways to use Google search to speed up the process.  You can use it as a calculator, dictionary, thesaurus, unit converter, time converter, and more.  You can search for only books, powerpoints, .pdfs, images, documents, or excel spreadsheets.  Even with all of the things Google offers, it still claims web search as its “bread and butter”.  In fact, while a nearly unheard of word 10 years ago, Google is now a noun and a verb!  Have you Googled lately??

Let’s get started:

Google- the calculator.  Simply type your problem into the search bar, click search and Google will calculate the answer, using order of operations!

Google- the conversion expert.  Do you need to know how many milliliters are in a cup?  How many miles is a 5K run?  Let Google convert units of measure for you!  Type in the unit you know (inches) and what you want to know (millimeters)

Google knows time and weather!  Need to know what time it is in London?  Need to know about the weather in Cairo?  Google knows!  Type in either time or weather followed by the city.

Finally, have you ever wanted to find a powerpoint, word document, or .pdf document?  Google can help!  If I am looking for a powerpoint on adding fractions, I would type in the search box followed by filetype:ppt  This will search only for powerpoint files.

The filetype may be changed to any below so to fit your needs:

.ppt- powerpoint
.pdf- Adobe PDF file
.xls- Excel
.doc- Word
.swf- Shockwave Flash

There a few others that can be found by clicking on advanced search.

Now I realize that many of you may already know these tricks, but I wanted to make sure everyone reading did.  Next week, GoogleGab will continue with more tools and how to use them in the classroom.   If you have not already signed up for a Google Account, I would encourage you to do so.  As GoogleGab continues, we will be using tools that will require a google account.

Blackberry or iPhone

24 Jul

In the past few months, I have begun to see why it might be nice to have a blackberry or iPhone.  I have been a little behind the times in acquiring technology gadgets for myself.  I have an Mp3 player, but not an iPod.  I have an old school cell phone without texting or internet.  I have a list of gadgets I would like to have including: iPod, Kindle, and an iPhone or blackberry.

I am now in the phase of deciding which I want to get now and which to wait on.  Should I get an iPod knowing that I want to get a new phone fairly soon and instead just get the iPhone which has all the capabilities of an iPod (I think??) Should I try for a Blackberry and an iPod?  SHould I go for the Kindle now and put off the phone issue until my contract is up?

I have looked at several websites and blog posts comparing the iPhone and the Blackberry, yet I am still unsure of which I want.   I would love to get as many features/devices in a single device as possible.  I am not one who likes to carry a bunch of gadgets around all the time.  Any one out there have an opinion to offer?