Tag Archives: EdTech

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?

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Early Resolution

23 Dec

Let’s state something right up front:  I have neglected this blog.   This year brought a major change in my position at work and in struggling to get my feet back under me, I put the blog to the side.  I had already been struggling to balance time between my blog, social networking, my kids, my job, and all of my other responsibilities, and something had to give for a while.

I am continually amazed at several of the bloggers I follow.  Many post at least once a day, some up to 4-5 times a day.  Where do they find the time?  I know that time is relative and that you will make time for the things that you want to make time for, but still, I’m not sure I could compete.

As a new blogger, I thought I had to compete.  I exhausted myself and burned out, then neglected to update at all.  Vicki Davis recently posted Globally Connected…Personally Disconnected? When I read it, I was relieved that she was human too, lol.  I met Vicki briefly at the google Teacher Academy and have always admired her efforts in edtech, but she seemed a little more than human.  All of the wonderful activities she plans for students, writing a book, daily blogging, and all of the other things she does of which I am not aware;  I always wondered how she still had time to do all of the things she talked about doing with her family.  I admit, I was a bit jealous because I couldn’t find a balance.

I decided to make this post a sort of Professional New Year’s Resolution- a week or so early.

  • This year I will try to post at least weekly to my blog.  I would set a goal for more often, but I need to set it at something I can realistically do.
  • I will try to use at least one new tech tool each week.  I have been putting so many great sites on my delicious account and haven’t used many of them.
  • I will try to stay on top of my RSS feeds.  I get so many GREAT ideas from the blogs I follow and I need to read them more often.  At one point, I had over 1000 feeds I hadn’t read.  I recently deleted all and started fresh.  I am staying on top of it so far.
  • I will try to be more open minded in my teaching.  I notice that lately I have been letting the textbook lead the teaching, instead of letting the students lead it.  I know how to let the students lead, I used to do this, but lately I have been in a bad rut, and my resolution is to get out of that rut.
  • Continue to search out other professional development opportunities- the learning should never end.

Those are my professional goals for 2010, what are yours?

Technology Integration

20 May

I have heard countless times, expressions similar to the following: “I would teach my class technology, but there isn’t any time for it.” “The district says I have to do XYZ so there isn’t time for technology.” “My kids are too young, and it takes too long.”

Common theme? No Time!! I think that the real problem is the lack of ability to integrate. Technology in the elementary years, at least, isn’t- or shouldn’t- be taught as a subject matter, rather a tool to learn subject matter. Until this year, I taught 5th grade. I had to meet my standards, I had to keep pace with pacing guides, and yes, I even had to prepare students for testing, but I did it all with the use of technology. Now it helps that I know a lot about technology, and that I grew up with it, but others can do likewise.

Technology is NOT going away. In fact, it will only continue to infiltrate our lives in ways we can’t yet comprehend. 20 years ago, it was science fiction to think that a child too sick to be at school, could continue to learn right along with her friends through the use of such programs as Skype. Now, we have that capability.

So how do we integrate?? Here are a few points to ponder. Future posts will investigate more specific integration ideas.

  • If you can do it with a pencil, you can do it on the computer- typing papers, drawing, even completing a worksheet.
  • If you can make a 3D model, you can probably use Google Sketchup.
  • If it can be written on the chalkboard, it can go on the smartboard– not to mention that it then becomes interactive.
  • If you can find it on a globe, you can not only find it, but come close to experiencing it on Google Earth.
  • If you can read about it in the library, you can access more information on it that you can use on the internet.
  • Want to take your kids on a field trip, but don’t have the funds to go everywhere you want to go? Make it a virtual trip!

Integrating technology is not hard to do. Does it take a little more planning? Yes, at first, but like anything, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

21st Century Learning

22 Apr