Last month a coworker asked if I would be a guest presenter at her daughter’s school. Each child in this 3rd grade classroom had the opportunity to invite a guest. I accepted the invitation, met with her daughter and we planned a presentation of animoto and wordle. Two of my favorite tools.
We started with animoto. Due to CIPA I couldn’t allow this group of students to create their own animoto videos, so we decided to do a class video. I allowed my coworker’s daughter to choose the topic. She chose rain forests. I pulled up my schools.clipart.com account and typed rain forest into the search engine. The students then took turns selecting images from the hundreds available. I saved those images and we imported them into Animoto. The video was created while the students worked on their next project- Wordle.
Our next project was wordle. I have posted on wordle more than once. It is one of my favorite tools to use with students. They love using it, it is very simple and quick to explain, and they can customize to their hearts content. Since they were down to their last few days of school, I gave them the topic of summer. They creations they made were wonderful. For 30 minutes, you could have heard a pin drop.
This is the one thing I love about technology. Once the kids get into it, they become completely engaged. I would love to hear how you have used either (or both) of these tools in your classroom.
This week I have taken a class on blogs and a class on wikis. I have wanted to use one or both in a classroom setting for the past year, but due to the change of my position last year, I didn’t get the opportunity. I will be using one or both in my classroom this year.
During one of these classes, a colleague asked which is better, a blog or a wiki. Wow! What a tough question. I guess the answer lies in how you want to use the tool in your classroom.
Both Blogs and Wikis have advantages and disadvantages. There are thousands of great examples of teachers using each tool (and thousands of not so good examples). As with anything, these are tools. The content of the lessons in which the blog or wiki are used are truly what makes it a great tool or just something else to do. I am including some links below to a few of the better sites I explored this week.
Blogs tend to be more of a conversational tool. The teacher or students post information and others comment. The blog may also have links, widgets, and other tools for the students to use. Blogs are a more universal format and teachers and students are probably somewhat familiar with their layout and how they work.
Mrs. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog
Tamiki Primary School Blog
Mrs. Trefz’s 5th Grade Class
Wikis tend to be more of a collaborative tool. Students can more readily create content and add their own flare to the project. Many teachers are using these as a classroom website.
Mrs. Abernathy’s Global Gorillas– Love this one!
Arbor Heights Elementary
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!!
I found a new site today that I wanted to share. Web 2.0 Wednesday Challenge introduces a new web 2.0 tool each week and then offers a challenge for using it in the classroom. You can join in where they are to become eligible for “wordwide fame”, or just make it a personal challenge and start at the beginning challenging yourself along the way.
When our year first began nearly a month ago, I asked teachers at my school to complete a survey about their technology knowledge. One of the questions asked about Web 2.0 tools. I dare say out of a staff of over 60, only 3 seemed to have heard the term. Today was our first inservice since our initial week of inservices, and I did a short presentation on Delicious. It was our staff’s introduction to Web 2.0. I heard mixed reviews of the session, as I knew I would. Some were very excited about being able to share websites so easily, some were still intimidated by the fact we were using computers, but that’s ok, everyone has to start somewhere.
We are going to try to link up everyone in our building who has created an account. It should make sharing resources much easier. While I am excited about the fact that so many want to use Delicious, I am more excited that even people who are intimidated about jumping into using technology in education are willing to try it.
I posted last week about my world being turned upside down at school. I went from being the computer lab teacher to a true technology resource teacher with the addition of a new teacher and the change of space required to accommodate a new classroom. This change was met (like most changes) with some resistance. Teachers gave up a 45 minute lab time, which means a 45 minute plan time each week. I hope that teachers soon see that this means that I can spend more time helping the teachers become more familiar and comfortable with using technology in the classroom.
So while, we didn’t land on the moon, I think Delicious became “one small step for teachers, one giant leap for our school community.”
If you are not on Delicious, I would encourage you to sign up. If you are, add me to your network! My name on Delicious is 259lcox.